Keira Knightley says she won't film nude scenes with male directors
Being an actor is a tricky profession. There's tons of competition, the odds are against you, and sometimes the job asks for embarrassing or potentially dangerous feats. Take nude and sex scenes for instance; while they might move a story forward they're usually pretty awful for those on set. Sex scenes and nudity have been present in many iconic films, to varying degrees of success.
But whether or not the nudity was tasteful, it's almost always an uncomfortable situation for the actors involved. What's more, women are often expected to show their bare breasts, while male nudity typically allows the men to hide their more private body parts. Amid other revelations surrounding disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein, for instance, actress Salma Hayek shared that she was pressured into doing a nude scene when working with him on “Frida.”
“He had been constantly asking for more skin, for more sex,” wrote Hayek, in an opinion piece for the New York Times in 2017. At one point, he threatened to abandon the film, unless Hayek “agreed to do a sex scene with another woman. And he demanded full-frontal nudity.” “As the actor, you don’t have the power,” said Knightley on the “Chanel Connects” podcast. “If you’re lucky, you’re working with collaborative people who want to have the discussion, and that’s why they’ve brought you into the piece.
But, ultimately, the buck doesn’t stop with you. It’s the director, then, really, the producers, the executive producers, who really have the final say.” Though Hollywood still has a long way to go in terms of gender and racial equality, many changes have been made for the better in recent years. The impact of the #MeToo movement has been especially vital for turning attention to how women are treated both on and off film productions, and this, in turn, has helped to ensure that sensitivity and respect are essential components within the entertainment industry.
There’s no doubt that Hollywood is changing, and while some might feel that things aren’t happening fast enough, the differences between how things currently are and how they were even five years ago are substantial. The conviction and imprisonment of film mogul Harvey Weinstein was a warning call for all who might thrive on abusing positions of power, and life post-Weinstein offers much room for change. Multi-Oscar nominee Keira Knightley has had a long and successful career, and recently opened up about why she's inclined not to do nude scenes anymore... as well as what might make her change her mind.
Keira Knightley has been on the big screen for decades, and obviously has a ton of experience being on film sets. There were some reports that Knightley put a no-nudity clause in her contracts after becoming a mother, and in the wake on the #MeToo movement. The 35 year-old actress was recently asked about this, and explained her feelings about nude scenes with: "I don't have an absolute ban [on filming nude scenes], but I kind of do with men. I don’t want it to be one those horrible scenes where you’re all greased up and grunting."
The British actress opened up about her view of nudity in film during a recent episode on CHANEL Connects with filmmaker Lulu Wang and journalist Diane Solway. In the interview, the actress said that she has a near-total ban on nude or sex scenes — specifically with male directors. Knightley, who came of age in front of the camera in films such as “Love Actually” and “Pride & Prejudice,” recalled that when she was younger, she simply did as she was told. Now that she’s 35, with a trail of blockbusters behind her, she’s more vocal.
She’s also in the position to be more selective about the characters she portrays, making it a point to choose multidimensional, working women like Sally Alexander, a single mother in “Misbehaviour,” a 2020 comedy-drama about protests against the 1970 Miss World competition in London. Describing the stipulation as partly vanity and partly a discomfort with the male gaze, Knightley expanded on her feelings on the subject, saying: 'Yeah, I completely see where this sex would be really good in this film and you basically just need somebody to look hot', so therefore you can use somebody else.
Because I'm too vain, and the body has had two children now, and I'd just rather not stand in front of a group of men naked." For her part, Knightley also acknowledges that she could rethink her point of view were the director a woman and the scene or film dealt with motherhood and its transformative effects on the female body. In the podcast, the star also recalled a harrowing incident involving paparazzi during the earlier days of her filming career. Knightley revealed that she has been verbally harassed by tabloid photographers over the years and their intense focus on her has almost resulted in car accidents.
'It is brutal for young women within this industry,' she said.'Being followed around 24/7 by packs up to 30 men with their lenses, through my windows and being called a whore every time I left the house in order to invoke a reaction because the pictures were worth more if I was crying. Or being forced off the road, because they suddenly found that, there was a lot of money to be made out of car crashes. So you'd have guys with cameras trying to force your car off the road.'
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Erotic films are suggestive of sexuality, and usually contain nudity, though that is not a prerequisite. Unlike actual porn, mainstream movies are saddled with things like "plot" and "coherent storylines," but that doesn't mean that those plots and coherent storylines can't be served by lots (and lots and lots) of nudity... →