Sex scenes have undergone a major overhaul in Hollywood as a direct result of the #MeToo movement. Steamy series like Normal People and Bridgerton now employ intimacy coordinators to ensure actors feel comfortable shooting risqué scenes. In a similar spirit of mitigating the male gaze, actress Keira Knightley revealed she’s done filming nude scenes — for dude directors, at least.
Appearing on a recent episode of the Chanel Connects podcast with filmmaker Lulu Wang and writer Diane Solway, Knightley said she doesn't “want to be in those horrible sex scenes where you’re all greased up and everybody is grunting. I'm not interested in that.”
The Pirates of the Caribbean and Pride and Prejudice star divulged that she added a “no nudity clause” to her film contracts after becoming a mother in 2015. “I don’t have an absolute ban [on filming nude scenes], but I kind of do with men,” Knightley confided. “It’s partly vanity and also it’s the male gaze.”
The actress, whose fame-making turn in 2002's Bend It Like Beckham came she was just 17, acknowledged that sex can play an important role in storytelling but said that when directors “just need somebody to look hot,” they can count her out.
Knightley, who published a deeply vulnerable essay in 2018 about her visceral experience giving birth — "My vagina split,” is the first line — noted the exception would be if she were shooting a project related to motherhood or femininity with a woman director.
“If it was about motherhood, about how extraordinary that body is — about how suddenly you’re looking at this body that you’ve got to know and is your own and it’s seen in a completely different way and it’s changed in ways which are unfathomable to you before you become a mother — then yeah, I would totally be up for exploring that with a woman who would understand that,” Knightley said.
But she’s done bringing men’s fantasies to the screen. “I feel very uncomfortable now trying to portray the male gaze," she added.