Thursday, September 20, 2012

Birthday Suits

Showing himself or herself in the nude is not really what an actor will do so easily.
Of all the big Hollywood stars, think of those who actually disclosed their integral nudity in film: extremely few! And, if you examine the context, they only did so when their once bright career was at a desperate stall.

I can think of Sylvester Stallone in Demolition Man, Maria Bello in A History of Violence, Jamie Lee Curtis in Trading Places, Kate Winslet in Titanic, Halle Barry in Swordfish, Eva Green in The Dreamers, do I need to mention Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct? The most daring scene of integral nudity and sex together, however, was to me Charlotte Gainsbourg's in The Antichrist, where one of her nude scenes reached pornographic heights.

There are, I think, two main reasons why actors might decide to do nude scenes: they either need to boost their career or they need to climb out of a ditch of oblivion. In my opinion, the latter is a dirty trick but it sometimes works.
The former is absolute insanity.

Yet, actors actually do give the impression they are totally undressed during sex scenes. Are they?
Most of the time, no.
Keep in mind that actors can be shy too. If they felt so comfortable being in genital contact with each other on camera, they would probably do porn.
What they do is they might ask the make-up artist to help them protect certain areas of the body with skin-like and similar types of protective layers.
Remember, they're just acting! For very revealing and hard-core scenes, instead, they are usually replaced by actual porn actors.

They might not show themselves naked in film, but are they really naked on the film set?
Keep in mind that, nowadays, everybody has a cell phone, with the added possibility of taking digital pictures very quickly and at anytime, film crew members included. No serious actor would want to expose themselves that way, especially in the intimacy of about 70-80 people moving like ants around them during filming.

I hope to have briefly satisfied someone's curiosity over such delicate and highly choreographed scenes.



  1. I usually go out the room and make a cup of tea

  2. I knew a lot of them wore flesh colored covers. No way I could ever do it. I feel naked just in swim trunks.

  3. Interesting post.

    I have seen so much nudity in my career as a model, that it doesn't freak me like others. You do get very used to it. BUT in the case of acting, I can definitely see why it's an issue. You made a very VALID point about cell phones on the set. It would make anyone uncomfortable.

  4. Well, Mike,
    Nudity is not as bad as it looks. Sex too...

    Yea, that's what they usually do.
    Maybe they get over it by thinking it's professional, it's work, and it's art, when it's art.

    I think it's about getting used to it, yea, but cell phones everywhere people whip out of their pockets like Jogn Wayne his rifle, no no, me no like.

  5. I figured that much. As you said, respectable actors will think twice about performing in nude scenes. Some young actors do it to launch their careers. I know Julia Roberts has never gone nude. She has always requested doubles (Pretty Woman is one example). I know Meryl Streep hasn't done it either. In fact, I can't picture her doing it (even her sexy scene in the Bridges of Madison County was tastefully done and hardly showed anything). Yes, nudity shouldn't be used as a crutch in your acting career.

  6. Inspired by events in England, perchance?! Indeed which of us does choose to be naked and defenseless before those who do not have our best interests at heart?

  7. What a fascinating post! I think you brought up such a great point about cell phones and not wanting to get unwanted exposure by being nude in scenes. I think the scenes must be even trickier to do nowadays- although I am sure there are lot of inventions that help (like the nude colored pieces you mentioned). There is no way I would be able to do it! :)

  8. I agree, Claudia.
    Michael Caine used to say that nudity shifts the viewers' focus away from acting. We can well imagine how. Personally, I don't need to see an actor's butt to appreciate their acting.

    Events in England, no, not really. I wanted to write about a technical aspect in writing. So I thought nudity, given the nature of the topic, might also attract more readers...

    Thank you very much!
    If I had to film a nude-in-bed scene, I would get under the blankets and sheets dressed, and I would undress myself there to make sure no one can see me (or snapshoot me).

  9. I just saw Stephen Fry in the new Sherlock Holmes flick. What was that about?! I guess it was funny, but it was a far cry from Jeeves. I make him look like Michael Phelps.

  10. Dan,
    I saw that too. I didn't really think of Michael Phelps though...
    Thanks for the comment! I especially appreciate the direct connection with my post!
    See you soon!