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The Real Reason These Celebs Refused To Do Nude Scenes

Half a century ago, taking off your clothes for a role probably meant you were in a genre piece that had to something to do with a mummy's tomb, some werewolves, or Roger Corman. Today, all one has to do is turn on HBO. Over the years, the prevalence of onscreen nudity has increased as the stigma against it has decreased. After all, if an Academy Award winner like Kate Winslet can bare all for the camera, it isn't as though getting naked is going to tarnish an actor's reputation.

While Winslet has said that her reason for doing nudity — aside from it being right for the character — is that she hopes her self-professed average appearance will be "something that makes women feel empowered," other actors are less inclined to be so free. Natalie Portman told MTV in 2007 that while she has no regrets about appearing nude for a film, what bothers her is when those scenes wind up on porn sites. "It's meant to be a dramatic scene and part of a story," she said. "That really makes me angry." Still others refuse to do it altogether. Here's why some stars have flat out said no to nudity.

Anna Kendrick's body parts are the private property of Anna Kendrick

In just over a decade as a major movie star, Anna Kendrick has done just about everything: teen romances (Twilight), Oscar-nominated dramas (Up in the Air), musicals (Pitch Perfect), animation (Trolls), hip comedy (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World), and broad, raunchy comedy (Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates). But one thing she's never done — and will likely never do — is take her clothes off on camera. The reason? Nudity is not her cup of tea. "I will not do that," she told The Telegraph in 2010. "I am not criticizing people who do that, but I plan to keep doing what I am doing and hope it keeps going good." Kendrick further discussed the matter in her 2017 memoir Scrappy Little Nobody. "I don't mind a sex scene. A character can be having a sex scene, but my physical parts always feel like mine. 'Cause... they are." So then when Kendrick's bare rear end made an appearance in Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates? That wasn't hers — she used a "butt double."

Mandy Moore doesn't want to know strangers have seen her naked

In 2007, Mandy Moore was coming off a string of acting roles that would prove to be the beginning of her Hollywood career as a leading lady. Between 2006 and 2007 alone, Moore had ten credits to her name, but, according to an interview with USA Today at the time, that number could have been higher, if only she'd agreed to appear nude.

"I've turned down several roles where the producers or directors or writers wouldn't budge on that point," she said. But for Moore, the thought of knowing people on the street have seen her fully undressed was enough of a deterrent. "It would be completely uncomfortable to walk down the street and know that the person passing by had seen me without my clothes on."

That no nudity clause also extends to men's magazines. While Moore doesn't consider herself a prude, taking off her clothing is just a thing she's never wanted to do. She told USA Today, "I'm not saying that it's wrong for someone else to do them, but I think there's a way to be feminine and sexy without posing half-naked."

Sarah Jessica Parker took her agent's advice

Sarah Jessica Parker has a career spanning four decades, but the actress has famously refused to appear nude for any one of her projects. In 2018, Parker spoke with People about her early experience as an actress, saying, "There was so much pressure for me to take my clothes off." Recalling one of her early film experiences, Parker said she was lucky enough to have her agent in her corner when the subject of nudity came up on set.

"My agent [CAA's Kevin Huvane] sent a car and a plane ticket [to the film set] and he said, 'If anybody makes you do anything that you're not comfortable doing, you don't,'" she told People, adding "Given what's happening now and the stories told from that particular period, I know how lucky I am that there was someone — in this case, a man — who stepped in."

Parker did assert that her opinion on appearing nude only extends as far as herself. "It's not a value thing, or like I'm judging anyone else... I think it's great when women feel comfortable doing it, and that's their choice."

Jamie Dornan isn't into that

When it came time to start filming the finale to the Fifty Shades trilogy, Fifty Shades Freed, there was a lot of talk regarding whether or not audiences would see all of actor Jamie Dornan in the film. Co-star Dakota Johnson joked in 2016 about starting "The Dornan D" campaign on an episode of Watch What Happens Live, and there were rumors that Dornan had been offered $1.5 million to bare it all for the final film.

He didn't — not exactly. He wore what's called a modesty pouch instead, and he told Elle that those rumors were just that. "It was $30 million—to show one testicle." he joked. "No, that whole thing with offering more money to go nude? That didn't happen." For Dornan, the movie wouldn't have been improved by it. "I just thought," he told Elle, "we don't need to be flashing the rest if it's not essential to the story. We're not making porn as much as people think we are."

Rebel Wilson might be persuaded for a more serious role

Rebel Wilson had several credits to her name by the time she appeared in 2011's Bridesmaids, but it was her performance as obnoxious roommate Brynn that really put her on the map. In 2016, Wilson told Marie Claire that acting came about as a way for her to deal with her "crippling" shyness as a child, admitting, "I was so unusually shy, bordering on a social disorder."

While she's definitely grown out of her awkward shy phase, nudity is one thing Wilson still isn't especially open about, at least not when it comes to the kind of films she's known for. While she was filming 2016's The Brothers Grimsby, Wilson said she had been approached for a nude scene but refused. "They wanted full-frontal nudity. We write in the contract, specifically, 'No nudity,'" she told Marie Claire. She went on to say, however, that she might consider it for a more serious film. "You want to know that the people [behind the camera] have a certain sensibility and decency. And a lot of times in comedy they're not those people."

Ashley Benson has a hard line

Between 2010 and 2017, Ashley Benson played popular girl Hanna Marin on the teen soap drama Pretty Little Liars. In 2012, Benson shed her good girl image to play Brit in Harmony Korine's Spring Breakers. The film featured a group of college girls who spent most of their time wearing little more than bikinis, but for Benson, that's as far as it was ever going to go.

In a 2014 interview with Cosmopolitan, Benson said she isn't afraid to walk away when she's pushed to do something she doesn't want to. "I make it clear that I have a line," she said. "I'll just walk off-set: 'If that's the way it's going to be, then you can do it without me.'" For her, nudity in film should never be done gratuitously. "Girls look so much better in lingerie or a tee shirt and leave the rest up to the imagination." She then added, regarding extras who were willing to strip down for nothing, "Why would you want to go topless for a film that you may not even be paid for?"

Samuel L. Jackson is insecure about size

Samuel L. Jackson has been a working actor in Hollywood since 1973. He has nearly 200 credits to his name. And he has never once appeared fully nude on camera. When the actor appeared on The Howard Stern Show in 2016, he was asked about going full monty. "I've only done, I think, two nude scenes," he told Stern, while also admitting that he had never done a full-frontal scene. 

Turns out, the reason for Jackson's modesty has to do with a certain lack of self-confidence. "Uh, I don't know if it's... yeah," he told Stern. "I don't know if it's formidable enough to, you know." The actor's unwillingness to do nudity might also have something to do with the negative audience reaction toward others who have gone through with it. As he put it, "That's what you don't want."

Allison Williams knew what it was like growing up in the public eye

Over the course of its six-season run on HBO, Girls saw a lot of nudity from its stars. But Allison Williams, who played Marnie Michaels, refused to do it, even before the series began shooting. In a 2017 interview with ABC's Popcorn with Peter Travers, Williams said there was only so much she was willing to give to her character. "I just wanted to give Marnie almost all of myself," she said. "But there were things that felt like they should be mine and felt like they should always be mine."

Williams' refusal to sign the network's nudity waiver was met with some surprise. She said that her agents just figured she would "get swept up in the vibe of the show" and change her mind eventually, but she never did. "Maybe part of it, too, was growing up with a parent in the public eye and being aware of the fact that... I didn't want to give my future hypothetical children another avenue by which to be made fun of," she added. "People showing up to school with old Google images of their naked mom. It just didn't feel like me."

Megan Fox believes it's inappropriate for her kids to see

Megan Fox has never been shy when it comes to showing her body on camera. For her breakout role in 2007's Transformers, she was generally seen wearing as little clothing as possible without actually appearing nude, and that's the way Fox prefers it. She told the Mirror in 2016 that she didn't want her sons to ever have to see her without clothes on, arguing, "There are just certain things boys should never see their mothers do."

Fox's no nudity clause is so firm, in fact, that she's admitted to walking away from roles because of it. "There are some good projects I've read that are with talented people, talented directors, but the things the women are required to do in the movie are things I can't have my sons ever know or see," she said. Fox added that she'd turned down a project on HBO on account of its graphic sex scenes, which she said "you would see in a pornographic film."

Ricky Gervais is sure the world isn't interested

When Ricky Gervais and Jennifer Garner were doing press for their 2009 film The Invention of Lying, an MTV News reporter made the mistake of comparing Gervais' shirtless body to that of one of Garner's previous co-stars, Matthew McConaughey. Gervais took the comment in stride (by which we mean he turned it into a feud larger than Tupac and Biggie), but it did raise the question as to whether or not he'd be willing to take it all off for a future role.

"There's no chance of me doing it," he said. When Garner chimed in to say that she wouldn't do nudity either, he continued, "Okay, well then it's equal. It's joint equal at 'No way.' Absolutely no way." When pushed, however, Gervais did quietly hint at the prospect of faking a future nude scene, so long as he "had a stunt one."

Sarah Michelle Gellar says it's never been her thing

During the late '90s and early '00s, Sarah Michelle Gellar was the epitome of onscreen female badassery, playing the title role in Joss Whedon's beloved Buffy the Vampire Slayer. In 1999's Cruel Intentions, Gellar did a 180 and took on the role of Kathryn Merteuil, an over-sexed manipulator who played men like it was her actual job. While her character lived and breathed seduction, she did it all without ever actually removing her clothing.

According to the New York Post (via Gawker), Gellar won't even go topless, regardless of how big the paycheck would be: "We hear that Gellar... has been offered roles for 'major money' but turned them down because the part would require her doffing her top." But Gellar's reason isn't quite as dramatic as the New York Post might make it seem. Turns out, she's just not that into it. Her rep told the publication at the time, "Sarah doesn't do nudity, period. It has never been her thing."

Christina Hendricks isn't comfortable being naked

Christina Hendricks worked as a model for years during her 20s before she gained notoriety as the strong-willed Joan Holloway on AMC's Mad Men in 2007. Hendricks' character was known for her form-fitting attire, and so Hendricks herself became something of a modern bombshell. The actress told BlackBook in 2012, "She was very openly saying, I have sex, and I don't care if you judge me. I'm not going to apologize for who I am. Those qualities resonated with people, and have given me confidence."

For as much sex as Hendricks oozes onscreen, however, you won't be seeing her completely nude anytime soon, and the reason why might surprise you. While she's comfortable in the privacy of her own bedroom, Hendricks isn't so much that way outside of it. She told BlackBook, "I'm a very comfortable naked person. Not in front of other people, but at home and in front of my husband, I feel good not wearing clothes."

Jessica Alba doesn't want her grandparents to see her chest

These days, Jessica Alba might be better known for her natural baby and beauty company, The Honest Co., than for her acting career, which started when she was 12 years old with 1994's Camp Nowhere. Since the '90s, Alba has been in countless films and has usually played the attractive love interest. For a number of those, her wardrobe has been... limited (see Honey, Sin City, or Into the Blue), but Alba has never gone fully nude for a role, and it's because of family.

"I don't want my grandparents to see my boobs," she told Glamour in 2014. "That's it. It would be weird at Christmas." The actress also touched on the idea of doing nudity for a particular role or storyline that could be bettered by it, while also taking a lighthearted jab at her own filmography. "I mean, really, if you look at the movies I have done, getting naked would never 'elevate' the picture,'" she said.

Mila Kunis says you get one or the other

Mila Kunis got her first major acting gig when she was only 14, on That '70s Show. She's had steady roles ever since, including one that landed her a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in 2011. For Black Swan, Kunis said her appearance — she dropped 20 pounds to "look like a ballerina" — brought about a good amount of media scrutiny. When she did Friends with Benefits the following year, Kunis told Allure her body once again became a subject of interest.

For the film, Kunis had to do a love scene with co-star Justin Timberlake. Timberlake was a friend at the time, so she said the scene wound up being more "funny and mechanical" than sexy. But the issue of nudity still happened to come up. "I showed side boob. I don't need to show ass," Kunis told Allure. "You get one or the other. You don't need both."

Emma Watson wants to keep Hermione alive

Emma Watson will probably always be best known for portraying brilliant young witch Hermione Granger in eight blockbuster Harry Potter films between 2001 and 2011. While other former child stars have tried to shed their squeaky-clean image and leave behind kid-size parts by taking on body-baring roles in grown-up movies — Lindsay Lohan in The Canyons and Kristen Stewart in On the Road, for example — Watson has no interest in that approach. In fact, she may not really want to totally move on from Hermione. "I'm not going to get my kit off or snort cocaine in a film, just to leave Hermione behind," she told the Sunday Times (via the New York Daily News). "I don't want everyone to forget me as Hermione. I'm really proud of her." 

But that doesn't mean she'll absolutely never remove her clothes on film. Watson told Hello! (via ScreenCrush) that an onscreen nude scene could happen... if it's artistically significant. "If it's the right role and important for character development and the story, then of course I'll do it."