Stars who have absolutely no problem doing nude scenes

Cinema has been intrinsically linked to sex scenes ever since the Motion Picture Association of America's ratings board allowed nudity in R-rated movies. But even some PG movies have allowed breasts and butts to appear on screen, like Airplane! or Splash (the rules were more relaxed about non-sexually-oriented nudity back in the '80s). While nudity can sometimes be classy and used for artistic purposes, it's also occasionally used for pure exploitation — even when it's all in good fun. What would campy horror movies be, for example, without naked campers getting their comeuppance?

Often it's the up-and-comers who bare it all — in movies and sometimes even TV — in order to break into Hollywood, and once they're established actors, they usually never have to go nude again. But even some A-listers have continued to agree to filming on-screen nudity, even after they've won Oscars or Emmys or headlined blockbuster franchises. 

Here are some of Tinseltown's biggest stars — both women and men — who have had no problem doing nude scenes for the sake of their jobs in film and TV.

Charlize Theron just doesn't think about on-screen nudity

Charlize Theron made her movie debut in 1996's 2 Days in the Valley. As Hollywood's go-to femme fatale actress, her very first major role involved some seductive scenes with co-star James Spader. While she went on to land parts in big movies like That Thing You Do, Trial & Error, and Mighty Joe Young, edgier films like Devil's AdvocateThe Cider House Rules, and others still called for nude scenes. 

"I don't think about it as nudity," Theron told The Daily Telegraph in 2009 in regards to her film, The Burning Plain. "I read the scene and if it makes sense, I do it. I treat it the same way as I would any other scene." She later expressed her preference for side nudity, quipping to MTV in 2012, "I need an angle. I like angular nudity." That same year, the Oscar winner told W magazine (via Extra), "I don't have issues being naked." 

At the time, Theron was promoting Prometheus with co-star Michael Fassbender (who's also on this list), and while she's fully clothed in a space suit in this Alien prequel, she hadn't ruled out future on-screen appearances in the buff.

Emilia Clarke never wanted to go nude again, then changed her mind

When Emilia Clarke landed the role of Daenerys Targaryen on HBO's Game of Thrones, she became forever linked to that role. She's parlayed it into a movie career with parts in Terminator Genisys, Solo: A Star Wars Story, and Last Christmas, but she'll always be Daenerys to fans of GoT — which famously saw the actress completely exposed in the show's earlier graphic sex scenes. However, rumor had it that Clarke later insisted on a no nudity clause in her contract after Season 3. As she explained to The Hollywood Reporter in May 2019, she turned down the first Fifty Shades of Grey movie because she worried about being "pigeonholed" after being consistently asked about doing nude scenes in the press simply "because [she is] a woman."

By the time Season 6 of Game of Thrones rolled around, however, she'd reconsidered — although it wasn't for a sex scene. Rather, after persevering in battle, Daenarys' clothes are burned off as she emerges from flames. "I just wanted to come out and do an empowered scene that wasn't sexual," Clarke told The Sun in March 2019. "It was naked, but it was strong." Not that she's opposed to acting out the former: "You had to see those sex scenes, as they just couldn't be explained. I get a lot of crap for having done nude scenes and sex scenes. That, in itself, is so anti-feminist."

Michael Fassbender trusted his director

In 2008, a then-unknown Michael Fassbender starred in Steve McQueen's first film, Hunger. When the British director asked Fassbender to be in his next movie, the 2011 erotic drama Shame, he was told that the role would require full frontal nudity. By this time, Fassbender had already starred in major films like Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds and X-Men: First Class, but he allowed McQueen to film him exposed from any angle he wished. "I trust him implicitly," Fassbender told BBC America that December. "It's like put the camera wherever you want. I don't care."

It's not that the actor didn't have any inhibitions about playing a sex addict in Shame. However, he later told The Guardian, "I was self-conscious, for sure, but it was something I had to get over very quickly ... I had to be on the ball and not thinking about those things." It's also worth noting that he did tell Backstage around that time that the press shouldn't make such a big deal about it. "I have a penis, and so do half the people out there," Fassbender explained. "And a lot of the other half have seen them."

Anne Hathaway found baring it all easier than baring her soul

Anne Hathaway first became famous as a family-friendly on-screen princess, whether in Disney's The Princess Diaries or Ella Enchanted. When she started taking on edgier roles in the likes of Havoc and Brokeback Mountain, these films called for scenes of more of an adult nature. The 2010 romantic comedy, Love and Other Drugs, for example, shows every aspect of an adult relationship. So, when Hathaway had to film sex scenes with co-star Jake Gyllenhaal, she didn't consider it a big deal, telling MTV News, "It's really such a small part of the film."

While Hathaway would later win an Oscar for her heartbreaking performance and rendition of "I Dreamed a Dream" in 2012's Les Misérables, she previously told Vogue (via People) of her and Gyllenhaal's characters, "These are people who have no trouble taking their clothes off ... But they're terrified of exposing their vulnerability — of becoming emotionally naked." Of course, that was the ultimate goal and challenge for the actors in question. Telling Reuters (via The Hollywood Reporter) that playing a sexually fearless character that was "way out of [her] comfort zone," the actress explained of the sex scenes, "All that overt sexuality is just not me ... It's less of nudity and more of intimacy."

Lena Dunham does nudity to show the world all bodies are beautiful

Lena Dunham wrote, directed, and starred in her first film, Tiny Furniture, which won the narrative jury prize at the 2010 SXSW Film Festival. After this, the multi-talent met with Hollywood producers like Judd Apatow, who helped her launch her own show on HBO. Girls starred Dunham, Zosia Mamet, Jemima Kirke, and Allison Williams as Millennials dealing with postgrad life, work, and romance. For Dunham's character, Hannah, those relationships involve love scenes that leave nothing to the imagination. 

In 2013, Dunham told Marie Claire that she wanted to show different body types on screen, saying, "I have known — and still know — that my body wasn't fitting into a traditional Hollywood idea of the female body." She went on to explain (via the Daily Mail) that she considered her nude scenes somewhat of a public service: "I don't think I'd be able to do that if I didn't think it was essentially important in my contribution to the world." By the following year, Dunham defended her frequent nudity on Girls to The Wrap. "It's because it's a realistic expression of what it's like to be alive, I think," she said. "I totally get it. If you are not into me, that's your problem."

Chris Pine filmed a nude scene because fair is fair

Chris Pine has commanded the Starship Enterprise in the future and helped Wonder Woman save the world in the past — but he had his first nude scene in the Netflix original film Outlaw King. The 2018 movie, which tells the story of Scottish warrior Robert the Bruce, required on-screen nudity from both Pine and co-star Florence Pugh, which made the actor feel it was rather unfair that so much attention was paid to his scene.

"Florence shows her entire body in this film and no one is talking about that," Pine told the Mirror, adding, "Is Florence expected to do that because she is a woman and I'm not expected to do that because I'm a man?" He took this notion even further when he spoke to E! News in 2018, asking, "Why aren't men expected to do it? Why haven't men done it before? Does it show vulnerability? Does it exhibit this vestigial, puritanical shame over the human body and human intimacy?"

The nude scene was relevant to the character, Pine went on to tell the Mirror. "I thought it was important to see the king and the animal," the actor said, explaining, "That he is both violent and primitive and bestial, but also something else. So I thought to see the human de-clothed and as his animal self is really important."

Angelina Jolie does nudity now to celebrate her scars

Angelina Jolie has always been a fearless actor. The fearlessness that won her an Oscar for Girl, Interrupted also allowed her to tackle nude scenes in films like Foxfire, Gia, and Original Sin. By the time she directed herself in 2015's By the Sea, however, nudity was a different issue. The actress-director had famously undergone a double mastectomy two years prior by choice to reduce her risk of breast cancer, which sadly claimed the life of her mother, Marcheline Bertrand.

While discussing the film with The New York Times, Jolie admitted that she was tempted to scrap her nude scenes, but had to be brave. "You can't change or cut this scene because you've had a mastectomy," she said. "That would be cheating." The film, which centers on a couple (played by Jolie and then-husband Brad Pitt) trying to repair their marriage, shows the actress sitting in a bathtub.

Having posed nude for the November 2019 issue of Harper's Bazaar, Jolie opened up about how challenging it was to display her new body: "My body has been through a lot over the past decade, particularly the past four years, and I have both the visible and invisible scars to show for it." 

Halle Berry filmed a nude scene to prove to herself she could

Halle Berry became a star in the '90s with hits like Boomerang, Executive DecisionBulworth. However, she did her first topless scene in 2001, playing a femme fatale in the action movie, Swordfish, in which she seduces hacker (and fellow X-Men star) Hugh Jackman into a criminal scheme. Although there were rumors she received a $500,000 bonus for this particular scene, Berry told Entertainment Weekly that this wasn't true, noting that her motivation had nothing to do with money.

"So much of my life I was afraid to [do a nude scene]," the actress said. "With the success of my [Introducing Dorothy Dandridge] project [on HBO] and the critical acclaim that brought me, I finally felt that I didn't have to prove myself anymore."

Later that year, Berry starred in Monster's Ball, for which she would win an Oscar. The film includes a harrowing sex scene between Berry and Billy Bob Thornton, of which she told The Guardian, "We both agreed to be uninhibited with our bodies ... We just said, 'Let's service these characters.' We only had to do it one time, which is good, because you don't really want to have to go there that many times."

Ben Affleck always wanted to do a nude scene

Ben Affleck became a teen heartthrob along with his writing partner and co-star Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting. Leading man roles in blockbusters like Armageddon, Pearl Harbor, Daredevil, and Changing Lanes followed, but Affleck's fans didn't get a full peek until he was older. That came in the 2014 thriller Gone Girl.

Joking with MTV News at the time, the actor said, "I try to get it in every movie ... The penis is in there!" He went on to quip, "It's IMAX penis! You've gotta pay fifteen bucks to see it in 3D ... it's better in 3D." Getting serious, Affleck explained the reason he did the nude scene was because it was necessary to the project itself and his character. "[Director] David [Fincher] said to me from the beginning, this is a warts and all movie," he said. "It can have no vanity. You have to see the naked underbelly of this character."

Kate Winslet did nude scenes to empower other women

Before Lena Dunham, Kate Winslet was baring it all in the '90s, both in indie films like Jude and Holy Smoke and PG-13 Hollywood blockbusters like Titanic. Her reasoning was similar to Dunham's, however, in that she wasn't necessarily the typical thin Hollywood type and felt other women out there should get to see themselves on screen, too. "I don't have perfect boobs. I don't have zero cellulite — of course I don't — and I'm curvy," Winslet told The Sun (via Entertainment Weekly) in 2012. "If that is something that makes women feel empowered in any way, that's great."

The actress continued to choose films that required explicit scenes, including Little Children and The Reader. However, by 2015, Winslet told WSJ Magazine that she felt she was "probably done" with on-screen nudity after having three children. "I don't think I can get away with it now," Winslet said, adding, "I get really big when I am pregnant. There are things that will never go back."

Nicole Kidman shuts out her insecurities to perform naked

Some of Nicole Kidman's early movies, like Dead Calm and Billy Bathgate, required on-screen nudity. Meanwhile, Stanley Kubrick's final film, 1999's Eyes Wide Shut, required extreme intimacy between Kidman and her then-husband, Tom Cruise. While discussing this trend with W magazine in 2012, Kidman revealed that she enjoys the challenge of focusing on a character over herself: "I don't mind being naked ... I enjoy not letting my issues get in the way of a performance. Once I start putting all my little insecurities in my mind, I'm not actually acting."

However, it was a nude scene filmed for the HBO drama, Big Little Lies, that left Kidman feeling shaken. Season 1 sees Kidman play a woman in an abusive marriage, and, as she told Elle in 2017, nudity was a component of this abusive sexual relationship. "It wasn't about exploitation," Kidman said. "It really feeds into their relationship. You really get their sexuality through that." Once she finished filming a particular scene though, Kidman still "felt completely humiliated and devastated," she told The Hollywood Reporter. "And angry inside," the actress added. "I went home and I threw a rock through a glass door ... I was obviously holding all that rage and what had been done."

Ken Jeong went nude to make people laugh

Since on-screen male nudity is more rare in Hollywood than female nudity — just ask Chris Pine — Ken Jeong decided the famous trunk scene in The Hangover would be funnier if he was naked in it. "I pitched [it] to [director] Todd Phillips," Jeong told AOL's Build Series in 2017. "And I said, you know, 'What do you think? Would it be cool if I did a take where I jumped out naked?' He was like, 'You don't have to tell me twice.'" 

It's worth noting that Jeong is a doctor who'd dabbled in acting since 1997. When Judd Apatow cast him as a doctor in 2007's Knocked Up, he decided to pursue acting full time, and thought his follow-up effort should be drastic. "Also knowing just the few films I'd done prior ... what if that doctor from Knocked Up jumped out naked?" Jeong explained. "No one would see that coming."

Jeong bore it all again in the sequel, The Hangover II, and explained to Kathie Lee Gifford on Today how he thought size would also be good for laughs, particularly in the first movie. "Full disclosure, I don't think it would really matter either way ... but it was cold," Jeong said, adding, "I had permission from my wife to do this. And she said, 'It will be the feel good movie of the summer because every guy will go home feeling good about themselves.'"