Naked ambition in Hollywood
More movie stars baring it all
January 23, 1997
Web posted at: 12:04 p.m. EST (1704 GMT)
From Correspondent Jill Brooke
NEW YORK (CNN) -- American movie audiences have always been a
little squeamish about nudity on screen. So have film
directors, worried that an R or NC-17 could put a dent in box
Nudity is making a play for mainstream acceptance in a spate
of recent Hollywood films, and there are signs Americans are
becoming more comfortable with naked bodies on the silver
The body in all of its natural splendor may be considered art
in painting and sculpture, but it has long been saddled by a
roguish profile in American cinema.
Actress Demi Moore could never make sense of Hollywood's
aversion to the natural body, an attitude fully fleshed out
with her appearance in "Striptease."
"It is very natural for me to be naked," said the actress
famous for her nude Vanity Fair magazine covers. She says
that she and husband Bruce Willis encourage their children to
view the body as "beautiful and natural."
But many people who have seen Hollywood's take on nudity
might not agree that the body is always beautiful. The
prominent placement of Michael Douglas' free-breathing
derriere in "Basic Instinct" is an example many audiences
could have done without.
Mel Gibson's on-screen revelations, however, have been
considered a triumph of the human form by many, mostly
Many actors say they do nude scenes for art. "The English
Patient" was one recent film not shy about nudity and its
place in the story. While nudity can make a good film great,
it rarely manages to salvage a bad film; witness the
box-office bust of Pamela Anderson's "Barb Wire."
There was a time that barely any actor wanted to be nude. But
an infusion of critically acclaimed films have loosened
up some long-held views on nudity. "The Piano" won an Oscar,
as did "The Crying Game."
Now there's Oscar buzz for Kristen Scott Thomas of "The
English Patient" and Courtney Love in "The People vs. Larry
But the jaded in Hollywood say that actors who once shunned
appearing in the buff now lust for a nude scene merely to
show off bodies honed by personal trainers.
Still, some actors, protest that there is little passion for
filming nude scenes.
"It's a lot more uncomfortable than I thought," remarked
"Flynt's" Courtney Love. "When there's a bunch of people in
the room, it's kind of weird.
That is, unless they're giving you an award for your body of
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