There are three awesome reasons why an actress would choose to play a role as an adult film star. First of all, actresses always want to be challenged and “take risks.” Any role is a lot of work, but the one that offers a visceral journey, or a meaningful transformation, are the roles actresses yearn for. Usually films about p*rn stars include mental torture, domestic violence, and a considerable amount of exploitation. The actress must overcome many obstacles at once, while simultaneously justifying the reasons to keep committing such explicit acts. We are talking academy award level emotions here, folks.
The second reason actresses may take on an adult industry role is because they want to show off their hot bodies. There’s nothing wrong with that. An adult role is a great opportunity to shake what momma gave you. It’s also a reward for all those hours in the gym, or all the donuts that the poor woman had to deny. Adult roles are an opportunity for young actresses who want to get noticed, and know their acting skills aren’t quite there yet. They can rely on their bodies to speak for them, and most dudes love listening to that.
And here’s the third and final reason mainstream actresses want to play an adult industry role. Want to guess? It’s the most obvious one of all-- they love the deed. They don’t enjoy it THAT much, or else they’d be REAL adult stars. But they do love it quite a bit, so why not indulge respectably? These actresses read through the script, saw the words, ‘character disrobes, and pleasures her partner, while being filmed,’ and she said, “Sure, let’s do it!” Power to you! Risqué roles build careers. Forty years ago Helen Mirren played a courtesan in Caligula, and everything turned out just fine, right?
15 Elisha Cuthbert as Danielle Clark, The Girl Next Door
Let’s begin with an actress that everybody loves, and a film with tons of gratuitous nudity. The Girl Next Door was more of a comedy than an exploitative role, but either way it did bring attention to Elisha. She went from being a typically whiny, yet hot, daughter on 24, to a without-a-doubt beauty on The Girl Next Door (2004). Cuthbert brought a confidence to the role, that many fans didn’t realize she had, as well as a body that was in peak condition. Most of her scenes were a huge tease and the skin we saw was a body double. Still hot though. Cuthbert went on to star in Happy Endings and One Big Happy. Both shows had a slightly sexy edge to them, but were overall, very safe, very average sitcoms. She also starred in Ashton Kutcher’s latest series, The Ranch, which was a Netflix exclusive that was not well received.
14 Elizabeth Banks as Miri, Zack and Miri Make a P*rno
Here’s another well-known actress in a mainstream film that wasn’t anywhere close to simulation, like other exploitation films on the list below. Elizabeth Banks is a beautiful actress and may be way too classy to reveal too much. She has great comedic timing, though, and used it well in this comedy starring Seth Rogen, which was written and directed by Kevin Smith. The movie is about a man and woman, who are friends and insist there’s no attraction. How many times has this plot been done? Didn’t When Harry Met Sally cover this back in 1989. A guy and a girl can’t be best friends. It’s impossible. If they’re both straight, there are going to be some hormones that eventually collide. It’s basic biology, people. Maybe that’s why Zack and Miri Make a P*rno (2008) didn’t do so well with the critics or the fans. The film was fun to watch but perhaps too predictable.
13 Kelly Brook as Danni, Piranha 3D
Now we’re getting into some sexy territory, with the hottest film on the list so far. This 2010 movie, Piranha 3D is a remake based on the 1978 film Piranha. Kelly Brook acts as a young, beautiful star who films some racy scenes on a yacht. And this film also contains one of the best nude underwater scenes ever filmed in cinematic history. Kelly’s swimming partner is Riley Steele, who has no qualms at all about getting undressed, because she’s actually a real adult industry professional. Piranha 3D is the only mainstream film that Steele has ever done, the rest are in the other realm. So you have to be questioning Kelly Brooks' motives now. Here she is playing an adult star, and actually co-starring with the real deal. She must have considered the industry at one point or another. Jerry O’Connell also stars, and he looks happy as hell to take tequila shots off of the women.
12 Dree Hemingway as Jane, Starlet
If you don’t know who Ernest Hemingway is, then chances are you may not be very intelligent. And that’s okay, you live and learn, we’ll let you know right now. Dude is a literary legend. He’s an American writer, who’s right up there with Twain, Steinbeck and Poe. He wrote masterpieces like The Sun Also Rises, A Farewell To Arms, and The Old Man and the Sea. The guy changed the game. His stories were all about drinking, women, war and adventure. But what does it all mean? Fast forward a few decades or so, and his beautiful granddaughter, Dree, is having un-simulated sex onscreen in the 2012 movie, Starlet. Yes, that’s what happens when you have kids, who then make kids of their own, and you can’t control what any of them do. You can build an amazing legacy, and then the kids come along and get really explicit in front of tens of thousands of people in an awful movie.
11 Ashley Grace as Angelina, About Cherry
If you don’t recognize this actress, maybe you know her by her maiden name, Ashley Hinshaw. If that doesn’t ring a bell, then you certainly know her husband, Eric from That '70s Show, Topher Grace. That good old Topher, even though he hasn’t had the best career since That '70s Show, he still managed to snag one of the most beautiful women on the planet. They just got married last year, and hopefully it’ll last forever. If you want to watch and see what happened on their honeymoon, then About Cherry (2012) will give you a pretty good idea. Ashley is very naked in the film. Her character moves to San Francisco, ends up getting into the p*rn business, and the cocaine world as well. Can you really separate the two? Not Topher and Ashley, p*rn and coke. They’re always together, like peas and carrots.
10 Heather Graham as Rollergirl, Boogie Nights
When you are making a list about actresses acting like p*rn stars, Boogie Nights (1997) must be mentioned. This was the film of all films for the adult industry. It detailed the rise and fall (pun intended) of one of their biggest (fictional) stars. There was the moment of his discovery, to the high-life, to the drugs, violence and eventual downfall. This film was also the unofficial launch of Mark Wahlberg’s acting career. Heather Graham was brilliant in this flick. If Wahlberg’s character wasn’t sure about joining the industry, then Heather’s favors made him pretty damn certain. What is it about the roller skates that makes a beautiful blonde even sexier? A film major might say that the wheels underfoot represented the slippery and dangerous world of sexual exploitation. But we think it’s just plain old kinky.
9 Carla Gugino as Elektra Luxx, Elektra Luxx
Carla Gugino is one of the most underrated actresses in Hollywood. The woman is gorgeous. You surely recognize her as the milf of the Spy Kids movies. Carla actually plays the p*rn star Elektra Luxx in two different films. There’s Elektra Luxx in 2010, and the same character was played in Women In Trouble in 2009. If you had to watch one, I’d say go with Elektra Luxx. There are way funnier sexually awkward scenes in this film. The problem with both films is the tease factor. You hear them talking a ton about sex, and you hear some moaning from off screen, but you never really see anything exposed. That’s really classy, right? Some guys may think so, while others will just get frustrated and have to resort to something more substantial.
8 Gretchen Mol as Bettie, The Notorious Bettie Page
Gretchen Mol usually presents herself as a beautiful blonde, but in this flick she looks spot-on as the infamous Bettie Page. The Notorious Bettie Page (2005) details the life and times of the mother of p*rn. Most dudes think of the adult business as a motion picture industry, but without girls like Bettie, it never would have gotten that far. Even mags like Playboy may not have thrived, had it not been for Bettie’s trailblazing efforts. The film doesn’t hold back either. There is plenty of full nudity, as well as tons of topless stuff. But watch out, there is domestic violence, which always seems to be a bummer is these kinds of flicks. Can’t women exploit themselves without some jerky dude getting all violent all the time? Man. Dudes can be such jerks, right?
7 Julianne Moore as Amber Waves, Boogie Nights
Now we return to Boogie Nights, because we cannot leave out one of the hottest actresses in cinematic history, Julianne Moore. What? You don’t think she’s hot? This woman is fearless. She gets naked in movies like it’s no big deal. Her nudity frequency is rivaled only by Kate Winslet. Remember when Moore flew down that zip-line nude in Big Lebowski? Or when she and Amanda Seyfried went to town on each other in Chloe? Now that is a crazy flick. In Boogie, Julianne Moore played the established p*rn star who coached Dirk Diggler through his first unforgettable love scene. Moore was amazed at the size of the dude and the look on her face was so genuine. If that’s not great acting, I don’t know what is.
6 Denise Richards as Bliss, Finding Bliss
Okay, here’s another example of a p*rn star character, but the role itself isn’t really that hot. If you want to see Denise Richards in a hot scene, everybody knows that you should watch Wild Things. That’s the flick when Denise and Neve Campbell get naked and do it by the pool. Finding Bliss is way corny and lame. It’s trying to be funny and romantic, but it’s the adult industry, so that innocent angle just doesn’t work. Denise has some funny parts and there’s lots of moaning and innuendo, but the film is pretty poorly done overall. Funny how a movie about the adult industry can somehow manage to fall so flat.
5 Tracy Hutson as Marilyn Chambers, Rated X
This is a funny one, not because of the film, but because of the actress involved. Have you ever watched Extreme Makeover: Home Edition? You know the one. There’s that annoying, skinny blonde dude with the whiny voice, and he’s always running around, half-drunk, making jokes. Then there’s the construction workers who were tricked into volunteering their time and efforts for one lousy minute-long plug at the end of the show. The house gets thrown together in a week and has so many intricate personalizations that it’s nearly impossible to sell later. Then there’s the sappy story about family drama, and a kid cries in every episode. Well, there’s also a super hot blond who paints stuff. That’s Tracy Hutson, and she got naked as can be three years before her Home Edition gig. She starred in Rated X, in 2000, the much forgotten explicit film about the adult biz, starring the Sheen Brothers, Charlie and Emilio Estevez.
4 Juliette Marquis as Moon, This Girl's Life
Please, whatever you do, don't be misled by the title of This Girl’s Life. Do not watch this film with your daughter, niece, or younger cousin. The title is vague and seemingly innocent, but there is a ton of sex in this flick. Juliette Marquis plays the sizzling adult star who does films in order to support her family. Her dad has some awful disease. This is a true heroine tale, you guys. It’s written and directed by Sasha Baron Cohen’s cousin Ash Baron Cohen. It seems like this family has some issues about body image, nudity and exploiting women, right? I mean Borat was hilarious, but some of the things he said and did crossed the line with many viewers. Juliette is way easier on the eyes than Borat, obviously. She looks like an image mashup of Angelina Jolie and Megan Fox, with the hot body to match.
3 Sung Hi Lee as Ferrari, The Girl Next Door
We mentioned Elisha Cuthbert earlier, but her lead role was more of a tease than anything. It was a great tease, one of the best, but the film could not have succeeded on teasing alone. There had to be some real substance here. So, this entry is dedicated to all those other actresses, the no-names, the hired hands, or in this case the hired breasts. You see them in the p*rn scenes on TV, in the studio, and at the strip club. Their boobs are the ones that carry the narrative. Sung Hi Lee (far left) is one such actress. She was in some soap operas back in the day. She did some sitcoms here and there too, and made a living. This brave woman did the brunt of the work, and delivered the stuff that most dudes really wanted to see. Props to Amanda Swisten as well (far right).
2 Adrianne Palicki as Holly Rocket, Women in Trouble
You may recognize this woman from the hit TV show Friday Night Lights. The show was pretty good and launched the career of the coach, Kyle Chandler. It also rejuvenated the career of Connie Britton, introduced Taylor Kitsch, Minka Kelly and Adrianne Palicki. Palicki was the hot blonde who was kind of rough around the edges compared to the goody-goody character of Minka. Palicki has stayed very busy, in a number of projects since Friday Night Lights ended, but non have really taken her to the next level. She starred as Holly Rocket in the 2009 film Women in Trouble. As mentioned before, in the Elektra Luxx entry, Women in Trouble is fun to watch, but it deals with sex orally instead of visually. Um, what I’m trying to say is that the film is a bunch of talk, and you don’t see much. Sorry, poor choice of words.
1 Amanda Seyfried as Linda, Lovelace
We must crown Amanda Seyfried as the queen of p*rn roles in mainstream cinema. Not only is she beautiful, but she’s a great actress as well, and she was brave as hell to take on the role of Linda Lovelace, the most famous adult star in industry history. Amanda took on the role head-on and bared all without any hesitation. Lovelace has its depressing parts, but that’s how it goes in the exploitation biz. The history of the adult business is so intriguing, but what about its future? Will this stuff always be around? Will it always be taboo? Will the online oversaturation of nudity ever end? The p*rn bubble has to burst eventually, and you can count on its virtual twin, mainstream film, to retell every tale. It's a fine line that divides the two industries, and that line gets thinner everyday.
Sources: IMDb, Wikipedia, Complex