We tend to villainize filmmakers, producers and studio heads when we think about scenes in the buff. We like to imagine that most of it is gratuitous or unnecessary, that including these shots in a film or on a TV show is only pandering to sick and twisted audiences. But, then again, we love them. We’re a confused bunch. There’s a weird divide here in how we feel about actors in these situations as well. For many of the lesser-known actors in these scenes, being comfortable with baring it all is probably the only reason they got hired in the first place. For big-time stars, however, we relate to them a little. We imagine that they’ve been forced to accept a fate that’s been handed down to them by the powers that be. Sure, it no doubt happens like this some of the time but not all. In some situations, it is the actor who decides that a little more skin is necessary to play the part properly.
Acknowledging this, we’ve gone out and found all the actors who felt that more skin would be a good thing. In each of these scenarios, it wasn’t a big, lecherous old director telling some young, impressionable actress to take her clothes off; it was the actor themselves who thought it would be a good idea. Whether it was for the good of the shot or to make the scene more believable, these actors showed more skin than they were asked to. On set, actors usually have options to do these scenes in a more family-friendly manner, but the actors on this list decided to do it the old-fashioned way, ‘au naturel’ as our French friends like to say. Here are 15 A-Listers who asked if their characters could show more skin.
15. Halle Berry and Billy Bob Thornton – Monster’s Ball
The script of Monster’s Ball had called for an “intimate” scene, but it wasn’t set in stone how it was to play out on camera. The scene in question was held off until the end of filming, giving both actors and the director time to figure out how it would go. Halle Berry and Billy Bob Thornton had discussed it together and wanted to give a performance that was as raw as it was believable, which worked, especially considering all the silly rumors about whether the deed was simulated or real. As Berry recalls it, Thornton agreed to be as free as she was to help put her more at ease. “It was four days before the end of shooting, so we knew who these people were, and we just went for it,” she said. “We both agreed to be uninhibited with our bodies, so it wasn’t just the woman who was being exposed, and we just said, ‘Let’s service these characters.’ We only had to do it one time, which is good, because you don’t really want to have to go there that many times…”
14. Lara Pulver – Sherlock
While Lara Pulver may not be an A-list actor just yet, her portrayal of Irene Adler in BBC’s Sherlock is known by almost everyone who has a soul and loves compelling TV. In one episode, “A Scandal in Belgravia,” Adler was required to look as if she was naked. In these types of situations, actors are often given a bra or flesh-colored padding to cover the particularly private areas. For Pulver, this would have taken too long to prepare, as she recalls her conversation with the episode’s director. “Paul McGuigan [the director] very sweetly said to me, ‘OK, the choice is we spend hours shooting it to avoid seeing straps or we take all that off and shoot it quickly.'” Pulver, not one to be shy, went with the shorter route. “I thought I couldn’t put myself through being there all day, practically naked anyway, so I might as well get completely naked and get it done in a few hours.”
13. Hugh Jackman – X-Men: Days of Future Past
In a scene in X-Men: Days of Future Past, Wolverine—played by Hugh Jackman as always—is sent back to the past. When he wakes up, he discovers that he’s in bed with a random woman. He slowly gets out of bed and it’s revealed that he’s nude. We know this because we see his buttocks. This gratuitous shot isn’t all that revealing, unless you consider a hairless butt gratuitous, but it’s one that we didn’t necessarily need. Yet, when asked about it, Jackman said that it was necessary to do the scene nude because Wolverine wouldn’t have it any other way. “It was my idea,” Jackman said. “Bryan came up to me and said what do you think, boxers or briefs? I was like, Wolverine’s in bed with a woman. He’s not wearing boxers or briefs – [he’s] commando.” He is an animal, after all.
12. Lena Dunham – Girls
Lena Dunham, creator and star of Girls, bares it all every so often on the show. When it first began, Dunham would use a patch to cover her private in these scenes, like almost all actresses do, but she decided it wasn’t worth the trouble after a while. “I stopped wearing the nude patch after the first season of Girls,” Dunham said. “There’s not one guy who works on that show who hasn’t seen the inside of my v*gina… This patch – you glue it over your v*gina. It gets sweaty and always falls off. My male co-stars, at the end of the day, don’t care.” Well then. As you can see, Dunham is such a talented writer. She clearly has a way with words.
11. Robert Pattinson – Little Ashes
You may think that Robert Pattinson‘s most embarrassing moment in film was when he played a pale-skinned vampire in Twilight, but sparkly-faced vampires were nothing compared to the time that Pattinson played Salvador Dali in Little Ashes. To be fair, Pattinson can blame only himself for his embarrassment in that role. While the script called for his character to m*sturbate in one particularly awkward scene, Pattinson felt that faking it “Just doesn’t work.” This put Pattinson in a difficult position. His options were to either act the scene out, which he already said was too hard for him, or live the scene. “So I pleasured myself in front of the camera,” he said. It’s kind of sad that Pattinson had all these high standards as an actor at this point when his very next movie was Twilight. You gotta feel for the guy.
10. Julianne Moore – Pretty Much Every Film
Julianne Moore is a nudity veteran. She’s bared it all in many films and she’s never held back when asked about it. She says she’s not shy with her body and is often eager to show it off, as long as it’s important for the film. For Moore, a role that includes intimacy needs skin. It just so happens that most of her movies include intimacy of some sort. When asked about her children and if they’re ever bothered by seeing mommy’s privates so frequently, Moore stated, “My children don’t watch my movies. First of all, they’re not interested and, secondly, my movies are not for children. As an actor, you’re trying to portray the human condition and sometimes we don’t wear clothes.”
9. Shia LaBeouf – Nymphomaniac
In an interview for another film, Shia LaBeouf got to talking about his method acting strategies, specifically as they related to Lars von Trier’s film Nymphomaniac. LaBeouf addressed some of the rumors about the filming, the ones that said LaBeouf wasn’t interested in simulating s*x for the camera, saying, “I know I’m the only actor who doesn’t have a stunt double, and I know it’s something that I needed. It’s part of my character. S*x is a character in the movie and we all talked about it. Everybody did what they were comfortable with.” Now, afterward, some of LaBeouf’s co-stars suggested that he was stretching the truth and that none of the “intimate” scenes were real and were done with CGI, prosthetics and stunt-doubles. While Shia maintains that he didn’t partake in these “tricks”, the jury is still out.
8. Mindy Kaling – The Mindy Project
Mindy Kaling, writer and creator of The Mindy Project, argues that actors who say that simulated “intimate” scenes on set aren’t enjoyable are outright lying. She believes this is all a cover-up to make actor’s spouses and film outsiders to feel that it’s all professional. It’s only business, as they say. Kaling went on to say, “Obviously onscreen s*x is not actual penetrative s*x, but, as any religious high schooler will tell you, simulating s*x can be pretty damn enjoyable as well.” So, keeping that in mind, we can use our powers of deduction to know that, whenever Mindy gets a steamy scene on The Mindy Project, it’s almost certainly because Kaling wanted to have some fun on set. Naughty girl.
7. Alexander Skarsgard – True Blood
Almost all of the stars of True Blood had multiple “buff” shots during the show’s run, but, when it came to the male stars, it was Alexander Skarsgard who got the most attention from fans praying to see more skin. That’s why, at the end of season six, when Skarsgard’s character, Eric Northman, was seen tanning nude on a mountaintop, fans had found their place in heaven. When asked about filming this scene, Skarsgard revealed that he decided not to wear a flesh-colored sock to cover his manhood, an on-set trick that is half-expected these days. In fact, Skarsgard revealed that he chooses not to wear the sock as often as he can. “I wear it sometimes,” the modern Viking said, “Obviously, if it’s a love scene with an actress, I’ll wear it, absolutely. But that scene was just me on a rooftop in Hollywood — that’s where we shot it, with a green screen. And it was a very hot day, so I didn’t need the sock. It was supposed to be there, when the scene was written.”
6. Jennifer Aniston – Wanderlust
This one is a little unfair. When Jennifer Aniston and friends were filming Wanderlust, there was plenty of talk about skin, full frontals, busts, butts, whole entire naked bodies. Whenever Aniston’s name and any of those words are combined, people are bound to get excited. Aniston wasn’t shy about the role. In fact, she looked forward to it, calling the entire experience a freeing one. “Liberating is a good word to use,” the star said, referring to her on-screen nudity. We were excited for it and she was going to give us what we all wanted. Then things changed. She hooked up with Justin Theroux and decided that she no longer wanted the world to see her ta-tas. She asked that they cut the scenes in question from the final edit. Too bad so sad.
5. Jason Segel – Forgetting Sarah Marshall
When Jason Segel sat down to write the film Forgetting Sarah Marshall, he knew that he was going to be playing the starring role, so it was easy for him to decide what he could and couldn’t do. Apparently, one of the things he could do was an awkward full-frontal scene in the buff. When asked what the purpose of this scene is, Segel said, “One of the pitfalls of a romantic comedy is that you know how it’s going to end. The guy and the girl on the poster are going to end up together. I felt like if the main guy showed his (pen*s), you’re forced to sit back and say, I have no idea what’s going to happen in this movie.” You know. He’s got a point.
4. Helen Mirren – Caligula
There was a time when Helen Mirren took on roles that showed her baring it all like Johnny Depp takes on Pirates of the Caribbean sequels. It seemed that every other role, viewers got reintroduced to Mirren’s breasts. We were old pals, but no one was complaining. One day, Mirren decided that times had changed. While still beautiful, she had gotten older and so had her “ladies”. She said she’d no longer go for that type of thing. Still, when asked if there was one part in which she didn’t mind or even wanted to go in the buff amongst all the roles, Mirren suggested that Caligula was that film. “Everyone was naked in that. It was like showing up for a nudist camp every day. You felt embarrassed if you had your clothes on in that movie.”
3. Amanda Seyfried – Lovelace
Amanda Seyfried admits that she had some reservations when she was first cast as Linda Lovelace in Lovelace. The actress said, “The first thing you think about is that it could ruin my career.” But it didn’t take long for her to forget about that and embrace the role fully, suggesting some additional topless promotional stills for the film, a choice that ruffled some feathers around the industry. “It’s funny, because I felt liberated when I was doing it,” Seyfried argued. “I’m sure people that are very protective of me wouldn’t feel very comfortable with that, but it’s like, what’s the big deal?” Seyfried has been one actress who isn’t shy about loving simulated “intimate” scenes as well, suggesting that they’re both fun and sexy.
2. Chris Hemsworth – Thor
Kenneth Branagh, the director of Thor, recalls his discussion with actor Chris Hemsworth about the need for shirtless scenes as something quite awkward for him. “I was a bit embarrassed when we came to do the scene in the movie when he takes his shirt off,” Branagh told Graham Norton. “I felt uncomfortable talking about how we would do it and how he might feel he shouldn’t. I even rang my wife to ask her, and she said rather over-enthusiastically, ‘Get him to take his shirt off!’” But all Branagh’s worries were put aside when he approached the actor, since Hemsworth was more than willing to do as many shirtless scenes as possible. Hell, he looked forward to them. “Of course I’m going to get my bloody shirt off, mate,” Hemsworth said. “I’ve been training for nine months for this thing!’”
1. Emilia Clarke – Game of Thrones
A lot has been made about Emilia Clarke‘s thoughts on nudity in Game of Thrones. From one comment that Clarke made about only wanting necessary nude scenes and more male nudity, the actress was made out to seem like she would refuse to do all scenes that entailed her baring it all thereafter. Well, that wasn’t true. In fact, Clarke doesn’t mind doing these types of scenes. For many of her scenes, especially those from season six, Clarke feels they were necessary for the character and the plot. Some Game of Thrones fans criticized Lena Headey‘s choice to use a body double in her “intimate” scenes, an option given to Clarke as well. Yet, when asked about it, Clarke was adamant that it was her nude body on screen: “this is all me, all proud, all strong. I’m just feeling genuinely happy I said ‘Yes.’ There ain’t no body double!”