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Most producers seem to think that nudity (the actor wears boxer shorts while the actress, terrified of such words as 'prude' and 'easily replaced', shows her breasts) lends sex scenes credibility.The reality is that most actors either perpetuate sexual cliches by doing what they have seen in other movies, or make the whole thing look silly by attempting staggeringly inventive choreography which has nothing to with experience. If the sex is convincing, as in L'Amant, it provokes cries of 'shame]'; if unconvincing, as in Damage, it also provokes cries of 'shame]' God forbid that I should sound priggish.By now, it was clear that my character had been developed to blend into the carpet and to function solely as a bimbo. What I had been assured would be 'nothing granny can't watch' became a 'closed set' with the director whispering encouraging things like 'we're going to make 9 1/2 Weeks look like Mary Poppins' and 'come on, kids, just take the ball and run with it]' My co-star and I got drunk, wept nostalgically about our past Shakespearian roles and phoned our agents.I discovered that my contract, if it did not specify 'no nudity', at least said 'no pinky bits'.
Rather, for actresses with fabulous bodies, nudity is perceived as anything from a seedy career move to prostitution; for those with 'bad' bodies, nudity becomes 'artistic'; for those with very bad bodies, it is 'brave' and may even have Oscar potential.
I WAS once cast in a Hollywood 'art' film and assumed I had been chosen for my passion, wit and daring as an actress. I was immediately put on a starvation diet and chaperoned by a personal exercise trainer.
The film company called in a hairdresser to dye and straighten my hair, pluck my eyebrows and wax away every other hair on my body, including my 'moustache'.
It can create a sense of inferiority not only in many women in the audience but in the actresses themselves.
If we must have explicit sex scenes, the actors should be physically unimpressive and hopeless at love- making.
I have recently seen Jane Horrocks and Harriet Walter (in the play Three Birds Alighting on a Field) transcend this problem.