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Actors Who Fought Against Unnecessary Nude Scenes

Nudity has been a part of feature films for nearly as long as they've existed. Depending on a film's rating, a certain amount of nudity is allowed, and thanks to the advent of cable television, TV shows also depict nudity with varying levels of exposure.

While nudity isn't unusual, it's not always necessary to tell a story. Sometimes, nudity is thrown into a project for the sake of having it, which doesn't serve the audience or the actors well. Nudity for the sake of nudity has nothing to do with a story, and in many cases, actors asked to do nude scenes fight against their directors if the scene is too gratuitous or unnecessary. Many actors have been pressured into shooting nude scenes anyway, but thankfully in recent years, Hollywood actors and entertainment journalists have led a reevaluation of how sexual scenes are filmed on set. Intimacy coordinators began being introduced to film and TV sets in 2017, and actors have been more vocal about refusing to shoot nude scenes.

When actors refuse to film unnecessary nude scenes, it often makes headlines about as much as it would have had they filmed the scenes as written. Each of these actors spoke out against filming unnecessary nude scenes, and some might surprise you.

Several Euphoria actors fought against doing nude scenes

"Euphoria" is full of sex, drugs, and drama, and it should come as no surprise that the show has never shied away from depicting nudity, either. While numerous actors stripped down throughout the series' run, not everyone felt the level of gratuitous nudity was entirely necessary, and many who did take their clothes off in front of the camera spoke out against doing so.

Minka Kelly's character would have appeared nude in the show, but the actress fought against it, asking creator Sam Levinson to alter the scene. Kelly told Vanity Fair, "I'd love to do the scene, but I think we can keep my dress on," and she said Levinson agreed. Sydney Sweeney, who's gone nude multiple times in the first season, said she fought against several shirtless scenes because she felt that they were unnecessary and that viewers didn't judge her performance based on her skills while she exposed herself.

Chloe Cherry said that her violent introduction in the series initially had the actor appear fully nude but that she fought against it. In the final cut, she's covered in fake blood while clothed in the scene. Alexa Demie told Vogue her discomfort with the show's penchant for nudity made her uncomfortable, as it pulled her out of her comfort zone, but she went through with it and said she felt it wasn't as serious as she feared.

Rosie Perez's nude scene in Do the Right Thing crossed numerous lines

Rosie Perez got her start playing Tina in Spike Lee's "Do the Right Thing," which opened many doors for the actor. Lee discovered Perez, and while she was excited about the opportunity, one scene caused all sorts of problems for her. In the film, Perez appears topless, with the camera focusing primarily on her exposed breasts. You don't see her face in the shot because Perez couldn't stop crying.

Perez told The New York Times Magazine that she felt violated: "I had a big problem with it, mainly because I was afraid of what my family would think — that's what was really bothering me. It wasn't really about taking off my clothes," she said. She also explained that the atmosphere didn't feel right to her and that when Lee put ice cubes on her nipples, the tears flowed.

Perez ultimately shot the scene, but she is vocal about her discomfort in doing so. It remains one of her worst filmmaking experiences, which is unfortunate as it was also her first. Fortunately, she continued working in Hollywood and went on to receive numerous awards and nominations, including an Academy Award nomination for best supporting actress in "Fearless."

Henry Cavill had a problem with the nudity in The Witcher

Henry Cavill gets passionate about his projects, which is why he ultimately walked away from Netflix's adaptation of "The Witcher." Cavill allegedly didn't like the direction the series was taking, as in his opinion, it strayed too far from Andrzej Sapkowski's beloved and critically acclaimed fantasy novels the series is based on. The allegations surfaced in a leaked episode of a gossip podcast, based on interviews with an anonymous source. According to the source, one aspect of the series that caused him consternation was the depiction of nudity, which Cavill felt was used far too much for his taste.

According to the anonymous source, Cavill's desire to remain faithful to the source material ensured he wasn't comfortable with any romantic scenes of any kind. This created problems on set, and despite calls for him to go shirtless for several scenes, he set his foot down and kept his shirt on. Cavill allegedly made changes to the script without consulting anyone and removed himself from any depictions of kissing or romance because it didn't align with the source material.

Cavill isn't entirely opposed to nudity, telling The Hollywood Reporter, "It would have to be a particular, it would have to be specific to the storytelling. I would say there's not the space for it," referring specifically to "The Witcher." Cavill shows his rear in a scene in "The Tudors," so he's willing to disrobe should the situation call for it.

Harvey Weinstein forced Salma Hayek to do a nude scene in Frida

Harvey Weinstein is a disgraced convict whose actions sparked the #MeToo movement. Before that, Weinstein was a successful producer, and his work helped shine a light on the talents of Quintin Tarantino and many others in Hollywood. He became involved with "Frida" after production fell through at Trimark. "Frida" was a big project for Salma Hayek, who walked away with an Academy Award nomination for best actress.

The movie went through various stages of development hell, and in 2017, Hayek made it clear why, publishing a letter via The New York Times titled "Harvey Weinstein Is My Monster Too." In the letter, Hayek explained how Weinstein came on board "Frida" and made numerous outrageous demands. These included attempting to force Hayek into unwanted sexual situations and the performance of a nude scene in the film.

Hayek said Weinstein forced her to perform a sex scene with another woman, demanding full-frontal nudity. She opposed doing so, but Weinstein had the film's rights. Had she declined, she said, she would have lost "Frida," making the scene something she didn't want to do, resulting in a nervous breakdown and requiring a tranquilizer. This was a forced act Hayek opposed but was obligated to perform to get her passion project made.

Mary-Louise Parker opposed a nude scene in Weeds

Mary-Louise Parker wowed audiences on Showtime's "Weeds" throughout its run, and at various times, her character, Nancy Botwin, appeared in varying degrees of nudity. While she didn't oppose most of these scenes, one featuring Nancy lying naked in a bathtub as she speaks to another character caused some problems for the actor.

Parker wasn't interested in shooting the scene as written and expressed this vocally. Parker told More Magazine (via People), "I didn't think I needed to be naked." She continued: "I fought with the director about it, and now I am bitter. I knew it was going to be on the Internet: 'Mary-Louise shows off her big nipples.' I wish I hadn't done that. I was goaded into it."

Parker's opposition to shooting the scene in the nude wasn't shared by the show's co-executive producer, Roberto Benabib, who said he felt it showed Nancy's vulnerability at that moment. Parker never shied away from nudity in her work and later clarified her opposition to the scene, telling TVGuide, "I was talking about that scene as an example of something I didn't love as much when I saw it because they kept cutting back and I was naked, but they liked the position of it."

Sex scenes in You put off Penn Badgley

Sex scenes are, by their very nature, uncomfortable. Actors must disrobe and become intimate with their co-workers in front of numerous people. Intimacy coordinators are on hand for most modern productions, and sex scenes are normally done as tastefully as possible, but it's nonetheless uncomfortable. Penn Badgley made a name for himself playing Joe Goldberg in "You," a show with plenty of sex scenes and depictions of nudity spread throughout, but ironically, the actor isn't a fan of shooting either.

Badgley explained his aversion to nudity on his podcast "Podcrushed." He followed this discussion with a Variety cover story, which expanded on the topic. He explained that the sex scenes initially turned him off from playing the character, but he ultimately took the part. "You" features many sex scenes, but this changed slightly as the series entered its fourth season.

Badgley reached a breaking point regarding the number of scenes he had to shoot, so he brought it up with showrunner Sera Gamble. She listened to his concerns, and Badgley explained that she had a "really positive response and they came back with a phenomenal reduction" of sex scenes for the fourth season.

Sharon Stone never agreed to flash it all in Basic Instinct

Sharon Stone was already a strong female lead when she took the role of Catherine Tramell in "Basic Instinct." The film was a massive success, and it pushed Stone's career into the stratosphere. One of the reasons this happened was due to a single scene in the movie, and if you've seen it, you know it's the interrogation room scene.

Tramell sits for her interrogation before a room of sweaty men, and as she explains herself to them without giving them a thing, she uncrosses her legs, briefly exposing her vagina. This was a big deal when it happened because big-time Hollywood stars rarely show their intimate areas, and as Stone later clarified, she never intended to do so in the first place.

According to Stone, director Paul Verhoeven asked her to remove her white panties, as they reflected too much light. She acquiesced and was promised her missing underwear would be alluded to and not shown. The director chose the alternate option, and upon seeing the screening, Stone walked up to him and slapped him in the face. She had said she didn't want to do a nude scene and was promised it wouldn't happen, so the director's betrayal was a significant breach of trust and consent.

Ben Stiller wasn't happy about his nude scene in Along Came Polly

Ben Stiller appears naked in a scene in "Along Came Polly," though, according to Stiller, he wasn't too happy about it. Stiller agreed to take the role, which included a nude scene, but he approached director John Hamburg about it to express his discomfort.

The scene in question comes at the film's end when Reuben Feffer (Stiller) and Polly Prince (Jennifer Aniston) walk hand-in-hand toward the ocean. While Polly is fully clothed in a bikini top and shorts, Reuben is not, exposing his rear for all the world to see. Stiller was uncomfortable shooting the scene, and he spoke with the director, who assured him that if it didn't elicit the desired laughter, he'd cut it from the film.

Ultimately, the scene remained in the movie despite Stiller's misgivings, which he clarified to Glamour. "Director John Hamburg said he'd cut the scene if it didn't get a laugh," he said. "Later, I discovered I could have had a bottom double — but no one had bothered to tell me."

Sam Heughan felt the rape scene in Outlander was unnecessary

Sam Heughan played Jamie in "Outlander," and in his 2022 memoir, "Waypoints: My Scottish Journey," he detailed a nude scene he regrets filming. In the show's first season, Jamie is tortured and sexually assaulted by Black Jack Randall (Tobias Menzies). The scene is violent and brutal to watch, and when it ends, Heughan appears in full-frontal nudity.

In his memoir, Heughan explained that he initially agreed to shoot the scene but felt the level of nudity wasn't appropriate. "I pushed back, reasoning that nudity sexualized a horrific experience for my character, and it sparked quite a debate," he wrote (via Deadline). Showrunner Ron D. Moore told Vulture that the story demanded it, as they followed the book, and the scene was necessary for his character, but that wasn't the worst part. After finishing the scene, which was difficult for Heughan, he told Vulture he felt duped because they demanded he shoot it again to capture a wider angle. They told him he'd only have to do it to a certain point, and they'd cut, but the cameras continued to roll when that point came. Heughan told Vulture, "I remember feeling so scared, and actually feeling slightly like my trust had been broken a bit, because it was horrific. Great to play, but horrific."

Emilia Clarke was pressured into appearing nude in Game of Thrones

Many fans met Emilia Clarke through "Game of Thrones," in which she plays Daenerys Targaryen, the Mother of Dragons. Of course, it took her quite some time to get to that point, and in the first season, Daenerys is a victim. She's mistreated and beaten by her brother (Harry Lloyd), who sells her off to Khal Drogo (Jason Momoa).

Initially, Drogo rapes his new bride, and there's plenty of nudity during these scenes. Clarke agreed to film the nude scenes, but she quickly concluded they weren't necessary moving forward. Clarke revealed on Dax Shepard's podcast, "Armchair Expert," that she had "imposter syndrome times a million" throughout that first season and didn't know the extent to which she could dictate her willingness to appear nude (via The Guardian).

Eventually, Clarke ended her on-screen nudity between Seasons 3 and 6, finally disrobing a final time under her total control. After "Game of Thrones," she told Vanity Fair, "I've had fights on set before, where I'm like, 'No, the sheet stays up,' and they're like, 'You don't wanna disappoint your "Game of Thrones fans,' and I'm like, 'F*** you." It's clear Clarke is entirely in control of what she's willing to do on camera.

Benita Robledo's nude scene in Dependent's Day caused problems

Benita Robledo knew what she was getting into on the set of "Dependent's Day" in 2016. An independent film with a great deal of improvisation, the film required her to have an ongoing dialogue with her director, Michael David Lynch. She felt comfortable speaking with him, but when Lynch proposed she do a scene with full frontal nudity, she balked.

Robledo said she told Lynch she wouldn't shoot the scene, so they came to a compromise. They'd film the scene twice: once where she's exposed and another time where she isn't. Robledo said the filmmaker told her she could have the last say on whether the nude version appears in the final cut. Upon seeing the screening months later, though, Robledo watched the fully nude scene play out. She tried to block the film's release and get the scene reshot. To compromise, they shot a 30-second version of the scene with the actress in a T-shirt. In 2022, after telling her story to various outlets, she posted a video statement on YouTube explaining she doesn't forgive Lynch.

Thandie Newton had serious misgivings about filming a scene in Crash

Thandie Newton is no stranger to shooting nude scenes, having done so in numerous projects. While many likely know her as Maeve Millay in "Westworld," she played Christine Thayer in "Crash" 15 years earlier, and the film features a sexual assault scene involving Christine and Sgt. John Ryan (Matt Dillon). They'd shot a subsequent argument scene earlier, which set up the nature in which the police officer sexually assaulted Christine.

Before filming the scene, director Paul Haggis pulled them aside and asked about Newton's underwear, specifically, if she was wearing "protective underwear." The actor told Vulture that Haggis wanted the scene to be as realistic as possible. Essentially, Haggis told Newton and Dillon that he wanted the latter to come as close to penetrating her with his fingers as possible. Before they showed up on set to shoot that assault scene, Newton said, she hadn't realized she would have to perform anything like that.

"I went into the makeup trailer and burst into tears," she said in the Vulture interview. "I was really worried, and I was upset. Not that I had to do the scene, but I was upset that I had no idea that that's what we were going to be conveying in the movie." Newton pushed back against shooting the scene — less, she later said, for the nudity and sexual content and more because of the scene's implications for her character's mental state. "I thought she was being ironic," she said."Because frankly, if I'd been finger-f****d by a cop, I wouldn't even be able to talk." Haggis has since had multiple allegations of sexual assault levied against him.

Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos were mistreated while filming Blue Is the Warmest Color

"Blue Is the Warmest Colour" tells the story of Adèle (Adèle Exarchopoulos), who falls for Emma (Léa Seydoux), and the film follows their relationship from Adèle's time in high school into adulthood. The film blew away the competition at the Cannes Film Festival, winning the coveted Palme d'Or. One of the film's most important scenes depicts the couple having sex, and it's 10 minutes long.

That's a long sex scene for a movie, and when Seydoux and Exarchopoulos sat down with Marlow Stern at the Telluride Film Festival, they talked about how embarrassing it was to shoot. They spent 10 days filming the scene, which appears to show unsimulated sex — it was simulated, but it's nonetheless realistic. One of the reasons is the demands director Abdellatif Kechiche placed on his actors. The actors said that their lack of experience in cinema, combined with the power that directors have in France, led to a very uncomfortable shoot.

Both actors said they'd never work with Kechiche again, which was entirely due to the horrible time they had making the movie. Seydoux described filming the sex scene as humiliating, and Exarchopoulos said, "Most people don't even dare to ask the things that he did, and they're more respectful — you get reassured during sex scenes, and they're choreographed, which desexualizes the act" (via The Daily Beast).

Rebel Wilson outright refused to film a nude scene in Grimsby

While some actors are okay with filming scenes in the nude, not all are, which is why they often have no-nudity clauses in their contracts. Rebel Wilson is one such actor, and throughout her career, she's steadfastly refused to film nude scenes. This was well known before the cameras rolled, but when it came to filming a nude scene in "Grimsby," she ran into some complications with the filmmaker and her co-star.

Wilson said that the film's writer and co-star, Sacha Baron Cohen, gave Wilson some flack for refusing to disrobe for the film. She said there's a nude scene involving her character, Dawn Grobham, but that she actually isn't the one who's naked on screen. The actor said she discussed filming the scene and her opposition to it in an interview with Marie Claire: "They wanted full-frontal nudity. We write in the contract, specifically, 'No nudity.' They got in another girl — this larger burlesque dancer from South Africa — to be a nude double. And they got her to do all this stuff." She said Cohen confronted Wilson, arguing that the double looked good, but Wilson stood her ground, saying, "I'm not doing it. I don't care what you say." She said that she doesn't trust comedy directors to shoot nude scenes in a respectful way.