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Things We Saw Today: Keira Knightley Explains Why She’s Done Filming Sex Scenes Directed by Men


Keira Knightley wears an elaborate white dress on a red carpet.

In an episode of the new podcast Chanel Connects, Keira Knightley explained that she’s mostly done filming sex scenes in movies, and definitely done with sex scenes directed by men.

“I don’t have an absolute ban [on filming nude scenes], but I kind of do with men,” Knightley said. “It’s partly vanity and also it’s the male gaze.”

“Saying that,” she continued, “there’s times where I go, ‘Yeah, I completely see where this sex would be really good in this film and you basically just need somebody to look hot,’ so therefore you can use somebody else. Because I’m too vain, and the body has had two children now, and I’d just rather not stand in front of a group of men naked.”

Knightley added a no-nudity clause to her contracts a few years ago after giving birth, and it sounds like she’s saying the only way that would change is if the film were specifically about the emotional and physical journey of a person who has gone through the things she and her body have.

“If I was making a story that was about that journey of motherhood and body [acceptance], I feel like, I’m sorry, but that would have to be with a female film-maker,” she said.

“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. But I feel very uncomfortable now trying to portray the male gaze.”

Knightley has previously spoken about the challenges of filming sex scenes, especially with male directors. She’s also praised some of those directors, specifically Joe Wright’s approach to her iconic Atonement bookshelf scene. Back in 2019, she told Vulture how meticulously choreographed the scene was and how that level of technicality took the awkwardness out of it. Unfortunately, that sort of approach was an anomaly among directors who often just leave actors to improvise sexy-looking things in a room full of mostly men being paid to watch.

So by this point in her career and in her life, she says she has no interest in doing “those horrible sex scenes where you’re all greased up and everybody is grunting.” Completely understandable, really. (via THR)

  • I miss watching DVD commentaries so I am thrilled that Hulu has released a full-length commentary for Palm Springs. (via Variety)
  • An incredible interview with Cicely Tyson on her long career as an artist. (via NPR)
  • UCLA gymnast Nia Dennis is back with another incredible routine!

  • These pictures are stunning!

  • This is an interesting take on horny (both sexually and emotionally speaking) political tweets and the comparisons to fandoms and fanfic. (via HuffPost)
  • Major brands including Budweiser, Coke, and Pepsi are choosing not to run Super Bowl ads this year and are instead donating the money they would have spent on ads on COVID-19 vaccine awareness efforts. It will be the first time in nearly 40 years that there won’t be a Budweiser ad during the game. (via AP)
  • We are huge fans of the ultra-niche film-loving online store Super Yaki around here! (via Chron)

What did you all see out there on this incredibly Mondayish day?

(image: Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)
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Vivian Kane (she/her) has a lot of opinions about a lot of things. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri with her husband Brock Wilbur and too many cats.