Kiera Knightley will no longer film sex scenes for films with male directors. Speaking with filmmaker Lulu Wang and producer and journalist Diane Solway on a recent episode of the Chanel Connects podcast, the Oscar-nominated actress credited the "male gaze" for her decision to add a no-nudity clause in her contract since becoming a mother.
Knightley, who shares two daughters with husband James Righton, told Wang and Solway, "it's partly vanity and also it's the male gaze," according to The Hollywood Reporter. Although she said she doesn't "have an absolute ban" on shooting nude scenes, she said she doesn'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." She also opened up about her discomfort in filming such scenes.
"I feel very uncomfortable now trying to portray the male gaze," she said. "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.' 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."
During the interview, Knightley said if she "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." The actress said she would "totally be up for" a film that 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," though she would only "be up for exploring that with a woman who would understand that." She said she feels "very uncomfortable now trying to portray the male gaze."
Knightley welcomed daughter Edie in 2015 and daughter Delilah in 2019 with her husband. Her most recent role was in Philippa Lowthorpe's Misbehaviour, which was about the women's liberation movement of the 1970s. She is next set to appear in the Christmas comedy Silent Night alongside Matthew Goode and Annabelle Wallis. According to Variety, the actress was going to appear in the Apple TV+ series The Essex Serpent. However, she backed out of the project due to family reasons during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.