Keira Knightley talks 'male gaze,' why she won't film nude scenes with male directors

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Charles Trepany, USA TODAY
·3 min read
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Keira Knightley is getting candid about her boundaries when it comes to performing in scenes with nudity.

During an interview for the Chanel Connects podcast, the "Pirates of the Caribbean" star, 35, opened up about portraying women's experiences in film, revealing that she's uninterested in doing scenes with nudity unless they're directed by a female filmmaker.

"It's partly vanity," Knightley said of her reasoning. "Also, it's the male gaze... I don't have an absolute ban, but I kind of do with men."

According to the actress, she would be open to shooting scenes with nudity if they were for a story about motherhood or body acceptance that was being made by a female filmmaker. Knightley is mom to 5-year-old Edie and 1-year-old Delilah, both of whom she shares with musician husband James Righton.

During an interview for the Chanel Connects podcast, Keira Knightley opened up about portraying women's experiences in film, revealing that she's uninterested in doing scenes with nudity unless they're made by a female filmmaker.
During an interview for the Chanel Connects podcast, Keira Knightley opened up about portraying women's experiences in film, revealing that she's uninterested in doing scenes with nudity unless they're made by a female filmmaker.

"If it was about motherhood and literally about how extraordinary that body is, but how suddenly you're looking at this body that you've got to know and is your own and it's seen in this completely different way... then yeah, I would totally be up for kind of exploring that with a woman who would understand that," she said. "But I feel very uncomfortable now trying to portray the male gaze."

Though Knightley noted there is a place for nudity in some films, she said she doesn't want to participate in "those horrible sex scenes where you're all greased up and everybody's grunting. I'm not interested in doing that."

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"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, and so, therefore, you can use somebody else,'" she added. "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."

In a 2018 interview with USA TODAY, the actress opened up about motherhood and raising her then-3-year-old daughter Edie.

"I’m being very careful about fairy tales with my kid because I don’t like the message that a lot of them have," she said, adding that she banned Edie from watching Disney classics like "Cinderella" and "The Little Mermaid."

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In a March 2020 interview with Porter, however, Knightley admitted things haven't stayed off the screen. “She’s watched them all now,” the actress said, before adding that she hasn't hesitated to turn it into a teachable moment.

“When we watched 'Sleeping Beauty,' she said, ‘It’s not OK that man kissed her without her permission!’ I can’t tell you how pleased I was," she said. "If I don’t do anything else, I’ve managed to drum that in!"

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Contributing: Andrea Mandell, Sara M Moniuszko

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Keira Knightley explains why she won't film nude scenes with male directors