Keira Knightley is setting boundaries for herself at work, and we love the intentional steps she’s taking to keep herself safe and comfortable in the industry. “I don’t have an absolute ban [on filming nude scenes], but I kind of do with men,” the actor told the Chanel Connects podcast, per the BBC.
“It’s partly vanity and also it’s the male gaze,” said Knightley, who’s had a “no nudity” clause in her contracts since giving birth to her first child in 2015.
“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,” she admitted, adding that if a sexual scene is needed for a movie, there are always body doubles. “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.” But as for un-artful sex montages, that’s a no. “I don’t want it to be those horrible sex scenes where you’re all greased up and everybody is grunting. I’m not interested in doing that,” said Knightley.
As for the role that gender dynamics play on set and in art, Keira Knightley told Chanel Connects, “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 filmmaker…. 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.
“I feel very uncomfortable now trying to portray the male gaze,” the actor said, and we can’t applaud her enough for creating a boundary for her emotional and mental safety. Contract stipulations and choosing the right collaborators are important and empowering tools for an actor. Just as when she started wearing wigs to combat her hair loss, Knightley is making the industry work for her.