The sacrifice of Billy Elliot to attack the normalization of the extreme right

by Kelvin

British actor Jamie Bell plays former neonazi Bryon Widner in the controversial movie Skin

Little Billy Elliot has left the pot. That child of the lumpenproletariat who faced everything and everyone for engaging in ballet in the midst of the coal strikes of the United Kingdom of the eighties, has moved to the dark side. Two decades after starring in one of the most touching movies of 2000, actor Jamie Bell has been transformed into an 80-kilogram neo-Nazi muscle full of tattoos and, worse, Nazi-inspired. As the American Edward Norton did before American History X, the 33-year-old Briton gets into the skin of an American neo-Nazi for his new movie, Skin.


Bryon "Pitbull" Widner, the dark character that inspires the film, member of one of the main white supremacy movements of the United States until he met the love of his life, he married and decided to leave his hate ideology. His story, which had already inspired the renowned documentary Erasing Hate, is that of a man who desperately tries to get rid of his past as he removes his annoying and offensive skin tattoos. A slow and painful catharsis that Widner started in 2011 and that occupied him for several years. To embody this redemption story, Bell had to push his body to the limit. Based on peanut butter, ice cream and endless hours in the gym, the actor managed to increase his muscle mass by 20 kilos which, together with three-hour make-up sessions to recreate his intimidating tattoos, turned him into an uncle who took credit just to see him.

But it didn't end there. In order to better understand the life of a guy who stood at the antipodes of his thought, Bell decided to spend whole days at the home of Bryon Widner himself where he studied his daily habits and was able to talk with him long and hard about that stage of his life. Next to them was the director of the film: the Israeli Guy Nattiv. However, the actor's opinion about Widner did not change excessively judging by the statements offered to the Variety magazine: "This character is far from what I am, his detachment from compassion, empathy, goodness, humanity."

It was precisely this rejection of Widner's ideology and the rise of the extreme right in Europe and the United States that prompted Bell to agree to study the controversial role. “We were very afraid to make the movie and I was really worried. These people are someone with whom you really don't want to have problems, really. They are organized and armed. They have shown that they do not mind showing themselves as they are in their day to day. They don't care that their faces are visible while carrying their torches (in reference to the Ku Klux Klan), they don't mind saying the things they say or the slogans they use. So from the point of view of my own safety, I was very scared, ”he confessed.

Even Widner came to threaten him with death while recording: “60 cigarettes could be smoked in an hour. One day I asked if I could open the garage door because I was really dying with smoke. He looked at me and told me podrías you could also die if you open that door. ” Despite the unpleasant experience, knowing the ex-neo-Nazi and his tiredness with the speeches of President Donald Trump that these types of people applaud without dissimulation, was the last push that Bell, who lives in Nuva York with his wife and two children, I needed to perform the role: “I really had to do something … I don't want another four years like that. It is too depressing. ” Hopefully your sacrifice will serve something.

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