Story at a glance

  • Keira Knightley has a no-nudity clause in her contract.
  • Writer Diane Solway asked Knightley about her stance in an interview for the podcast "CHANEL Connects.”
  • The mother of two said she would no longer do sex scenes directed by men.

It may be a man’s world in Hollywood, but Keira Knightley will no longer perform sex scenes under a male director. 

While the actor has done nude and sex scenes in the past, she now has a no-nudity clause in her contract that only somewhat has to do with how her body has changed after having two children.


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"It's partly vanity and also it's the male gaze,” Knightley told Diane Solway in a recent interview. “If I was making a story that that’s what it’s about, it was about that journey of motherhood and body acceptance - and I feel like, I'm sorry, but that would have to be with a female filmmaker - I don’t have an absolute ban. But I kind of do with men," she said. "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."

That doesn’t mean she’ll never do a nude or sex scene again, Knightley clarified, just that she won’t do one with a male director or in scenes where she would be the subject of the “male gaze.” The feminist term describes depictions of women and the broader world from a masculine, heterosexual perspective, often as sexual objects for the pleasure of a cisgender, straight man watching.


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“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,” she said.

Knightley has two daughters with musician James Righton, Edie and Delilah, and has been outspoken about paternity leave and child care. Discussing the “Me Too” movement with Solway and filmmaker Lulu Wang, Knightley said actors have a limited amount of power in Hollywood, making the case for more representation behind the scenes as well as on-screen. 

"Saying that, 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,'" Knightley said — she’d just rather you use another actor in her place. 


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Published on Jan 25, 2021