In a recent podcast interview, Keira Knightley opened up about her discomfort in shooting nude scenes with male filmmakers. "I don't have an absolute ban," she said of on-screen nudity, "but I kind of do with men." The actress admitted one reason is "vanity," but also said that another is "the male gaze."
Speaking on Chanel Connects, Knightley continued, "I don't want it to be those horrible sex scenes where you're all greased up and everybody's grunting. I'm not interested in doing that."
Knightley, 35 and a mother of two, said it would be different if she were working on a project that celebrated motherhood and the journey of bodily acceptance, "and I feel like, I'm sorry, but that would have to be with a female filmmaker."
"If it was about motherhood, literally about how extraordinary that body is, about how suddenly you're looking at this body that you've got to know that is your own and is seen in this completely different way, and it's changed in ways that are unfathomable to you before you become a mother, then, yeah, I'd totally be up for kind of exploring that with a woman who would understand that. But I feel very uncomfortable now trying to portray the male gaze.
"Saying that, there's times where I go, 'Yeah, I completely see where this sex scene 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 opened up last year about adding a no-nudity clause to her contract after becoming a mother, so she could have "total control" over which sex scenes she appears in. "I have been comfortable earlier with more nudity than I am now," she previously told Financial Times. "I have had a kid, I am in my thirties, I am very happy with my body."
Listen to her full podcast episode below, featuring director Lulu Wang and writer/producer Diane Solway.