J.J. Abrams said on "Conan" that he didn't intend to be sexist with a scene in "Star Trek: Into Darkness" in which Alice Eve appears in her underwear -- then showed a deleted shower scene of Benedict Cumberbatch to illustrate that he's equal opportunity when it comes to showing off his actors.
One of the film's writers, Damon Lindelof, said on Twitter this week that we "should have done a better job of not being gratuitous in our representation of a barely clothed actress" in the scene with Eve. But he noted that the "Star Trek" films have also shown Capt. Kirk (Chris Pine) shirtless.
Talking to Conan O'Brien on Wednesday, Abrams also noted Pine's shirtlessness. He said the point of the Eve scene was that Kirk, a serial womanizer, was checking out his colleague, and that perhaps he should have edited the scene differently.
"The intent was, it's Kirk. Who was always a sort of womanizing character," he said. "The idea was, have a beat like that in the midst of all this action and adventure. ... I don't think I quite edited the scene in the right way. To me it was a sort of balance. There's a scene earlier where he's not dressed, either. So it felt like it was a sort of tradeoff. Some people did feel like it was exploiting her, and while she is lovely, I can also see their point of view."
Then he showed the shot of a glowering Cumberbatch in the shower.
"He's not enjoying that shower very much," O'Brien noted.
"No, that was a shower of evil," said Abrams.
At that point, O'Brien added some new music to the scene, and things started to feel blatantly exploitive.
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