The 2004 prequel to the 1987 Jennifer Grey/Patrick Swayze hit starred Garai as Katey Miller, an American teen who finds love and some killer dance moves in Cuba during the revolution. The film, which costarred Diego Luna and a pre-Mad Men January Jones, was critically panned, and Garai has now called it a "cesspit of horrific misogyny."
In a new interview with The Observer, the British actress recalled being body-shamed by producers on set. One female producer told the then-17-year-old that her thighs weren't "good enough," and Garai claimed she was weighed daily and made to work with a dietician who ensured her weight stayed down.
“It screwed me up for years," she told the British newspaper. "Not only did it completely change how I felt about my body, but I felt like I’d failed because I hadn’t fought back. I felt complicit, because I didn’t say no. I signed off on Photoshopped images and felt terrible for perpetrating this… lie.
"Someone said the only thing that was convincing in the whole film was the look of pure misery in my eyes," she added.
The experience sparked a "feminist epiphany," she said. After filming, she returned to university and has since opted for projects that are further from Hollywood's grasp, including Vanity Fair, Atonement, Suffragette, The Hour, and the new British drama Born to Kill.
“I did a bit of modeling when I was a teenager and, even then, nobody asked me to lose weight," she explained. "It’s different with film, because it’s not about weight, it’s about control. It’s an industry with a clear agenda of ensuring women’s relationships with their reflection on screen make them feel inadequate. I never went back to Hollywood again.”
It's not the first time Garai, is now a 34-year-old mother of two, has criticized her experience on the film. In 2004 she told The Independent that producers "were obsessed with having someone skinny."
"I just thought, why didn't they get someone like Kate Bosworth, if that's what they wanted?" she pointed out to the paper.