There’s a back-street film school course that says that the quickest way to making a buck in film-making these days is to have a star actor shed all their clothes in return for an exorbitant fee, or because they deemed the scene worth of artistic merit. Chances are the people I’m about to talk about in the list below will fall under the first category – they might suggest otherwise, but most of them would be better off writing their nude scenes as paycheck earners, because there was very little in terms of art about what they ended up creating.
Don’t get me wrong: nudity has its place, and can have artistic and entertainment value – I wept romantic tears at that scene in Titanic where Jack draws her wearing “only this”, and I’m fully aware that that sounds a lot like a salty euphemism. And so did that. And nudity can indeed be a wonderful thing, to be celebrated whenever possible – like during Frank The Tank’s streaking scene in Old School – or used for effect – like in the wonderfully jarring naked old lady scene in The Shining. But then equally, it can also be a gut-wrenching, all too colourful thing.
Because sometimes, no matter what the actor in question might look like, nude shots and sex scenes can have the opposite effect to what is intended, or sometimes the director fully intends their audience to be disgusted, or outraged by the bare flesh on screen. The result in both cases is a grotesque thing indeed, and that’s when we start to wish we could unsee things.
But before the accusations start flying… we’re not just talking here about ugly people, or old people, or even unconventional sexual activity, I’m just not that prejudiced – what matters here is something more visceral.
So, here we go – don’t say I didn’t warn you…