Lena Dunham Bows Out of Acting in New Netflix Series Amid Concerns Over Body Shaming

Dunham steps back from acting in Netflix’s Too Much due to past body shaming experiences

Lena Dunham, December 2023. (PHOTO: VIA PEOPLE, KARWAI TANG/WIREIMAGE)
Lena Dunham, December 2023. (PHOTO: VIA PEOPLE, KARWAI TANG/WIREIMAGE)

Lena Dunham has decided to step back from acting in her upcoming Netflix series, Too Much, citing concerns about body shaming.

The Girls creator, 38, explained in a recent interview with The New Yorker why she won’t be starring in front of the camera in her latest projects, including the semi-autobiographical comedy series.

Set for a 2025 release, Too Much tells the story of a thirty-something American woman, played by Megan Stalter, who relocates to London and falls in love with a British musician, portrayed by Will Sharpe.

The series draws from Dunham’s own life experiences, as she currently resides in London with her husband, British Peruvian musician Luis Felber, whom she married in 2021.

Initially, Dunham planned to play the lead role herself but decided to cast Stalter instead.

In her interview, she revealed that the decision was driven by a desire to avoid the intense scrutiny and body shaming she faced during her time on Girls. “Physically, I was just not up for having my body dissected again,” she said.

Lena Dunham. (PHOTO: VIA PEOPLE, STEPHANE CARDINALE/CORBIS VIA GETTY)
Lena Dunham. (PHOTO: VIA PEOPLE, STEPHANE CARDINALE/CORBIS VIA GETTY)

Dunham praised Stalter’s talent, likening working with her to working with “a little Meryl Streep.” She expressed confidence that audiences will be impressed by Stalter’s performance.

“I was very inspired by her. She’s unbelievable; I think people are going to be so blown away,” Dunham said.

Reflecting on her decision, Dunham acknowledged the difficulty of stepping back from acting but emphasized the importance of protecting her mental health.

“I also think that I was not willing to have another experience like what I’d experienced around Girls at this point in my life. Physically, I was just not up for having my body dissected again.

It was a hard choice, not to cast Meg — because I knew I wanted Meg — but to admit that to myself,” she explained.

Over the years, Dunham’s perspective on success and happiness has shifted. “I used to think that winning meant you just keep doing it and you don’t care what anybody thinks,” she said.

Lena Dunham, 2022 Gotham Awards. (PHOTO: VIA PEOPLE, NOAM GALAI/GETTY)
Lena Dunham, 2022 Gotham Awards. (PHOTO: VIA PEOPLE, NOAM GALAI/GETTY)

“I forgot that winning is actually just protecting yourself and doing what you need to do to keep making work.”

Dunham, who has stayed off social media for six years, credits this decision with helping her maintain peace and focus.

“I haven’t had to log in to my Twitter or my Instagram for six years,” she said, adding that social media platforms don’t adequately protect women and minorities.

“I just realized that there was no way that I was going to move toward the ways I wanted to feel in my personal life if I still had access to those things.”

In addition to stepping back from acting, Dunham has also decided not to direct the Polly Pocket film with Lily Collins, despite working on the script for three years.

She admired Greta Gerwig’s successful adaptation of Barbie but felt she couldn’t bring the same level of innovation to Polly Pocket. “I felt like, unless I can do it that way, I’m not going to do it.

I don’t think I have that in me,” she said. “I feel like the next movie I make needs to feel like a movie that I absolutely have to make. No one but me could make it. And I did think other people could make Polly Pocket.”

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