When it comes to getting naked in front of a camera, Hollywood stars have all kinds of stories. Whether they’re working through a choreographed sex scene or just hanging out in the nude, most of your favorite actors have bared it all at one point or another and created some of the most iconic moments in film history. To be clear, we are never, ever advocating for stars to be pressured into nudity they’re uncomfortable with, or for movies to rely on objectifying women’s bodies in lieu of, say, giving them lines. But as long as everyone involved is on the same page and excited about what they’re doing, nudity can do so much for a movie and we love hearing what the stars who have gotten totally naked for their roles have to say about the process.
While many actors share the experience of getting naked on camera, their memories and feelings about the scene totally differ. After all, Jason Segel’s hilarious full-frontal nudity in Forgetting Sarah Marshall was a very different challenge from Michael Fassbender’s intense role in Shame as struggling sex addict Brandon.
And female nudity on camera has changed even more drastically, with many women now reclaiming their right to show their bodies from a long tradition of being objectified and exploited by men. Jennifer Lawrence recently spoke out about the decision to go fully naked in 2018’s Red Sparrow after her personal nude photos were leaked four years prior, saying she cherished the opportunity to present her naked body on her own terms.
“I feel like something that was taken from me, I got back,” Lawrence said on 60 Minutes. “It’s my body, it’s my art, and it’s my choice. And if you don’t like boobs, you should not go see ‘Red Sparrow.'”
Consider yourselves warned. And if you do like boobs, read on for a list of every star who got totally naked on camera.
Eva Green Eva Green’s nudity in Sin City: A Dame to Kill For may have caused the biggest stir, but an early Bertolucci film The Dreamers was her first introduction to the art of baring it all for the camera. “I am a very shy person in life, very reserved, but you know, it’s Bernardo Bertolucci. I’ve seen [Last Tango in Paris] and it’s not pornographic, it’s not vulgar, it’s not sick, so I trusted him,” she said in 2004. “He’s a master of love and eroticism, but it’s good because I stopped being self-conscious. I felt like I was on drugs or anesthetized because you have to be. You have to let yourself slip away and forget everything, forget the sound guy and all that.”
Penélope Cruz With the 1992 film Jamón, Jamón, Penélope Cruz both met future husband Javier Bardem and burst onto the scene as a movie star — and it involved stripping down for some key scenes. “I thought, ‘There is a character there, there is a style, the material is really good.’ Of course, I was not looking forward to those scenes but I did it,” she told Esquire of the film’s more graphic scenes. “Everyone was really respectful, aware of the fact that I was 18. I remember the last day of filming, I was crying, saying, ‘What if I never shoot a movie again?’ The feeling was devastating. ‘Who knows when I will see these people again?’ Including Javier.” Afterward, she explains that she “went away for a while from anything that had to do with nudity or sex scenes” for a while” “I felt that I needed at that point to stay away from that. Not as a calculated plan. Personally, I needed that.”
Scarlett Johansson When Scarlett Johansson went naked for, Under The Skin, it was important for her to feel like the script required it: “The nudity is written into the script and I hope the audience agrees that it’s, you know, it’s not really indulging,” she said. “It’s almost like biological in a weird way, I think, and there is a lot of intention behind it.”
Halle Berry Halle Berry’s full-frontal nudity came in the form of a 2001 Monster Ball sex scene with Billy Bob Thornton. “We both agreed to be uninhibited with our bodies, so it wasn’t just the woman who was being exposed, and we just said, ‘Let’s service these characters,’” she told the Guardian. “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.”
Jennifer Lawrence Jennifer Lawrence has publicly reflected on why it felt empowering to go nude in Red Sparrow after swearing she never would but she also told pal Ellen DeGeneres that she had specific concerns about the on-set temperature. “What are you doing with this heat!” She told the crew. “My nipples are going to be huge!”
Angelina Jolie While Angelina Jolie’s most famous naked scenes come from the 1998 biopic Gia, she’s spoken most openly about the topless sex scene she shot with then-husband Brad Pitt for By The Sea. “Love scenes are strange anyway, but when you’re doing a love scene with a person that you really have sex with? The only way to get through it was for us to all talk about the absurdity of it and make sure no one was feeling awkward,” she told Entertainment Tonight.
Nicole Kidman Nicole Kidman and then-husband Tom Cruise took part in some of the most famous sex scenes of all time in Eyes Wide Shut but Kidman says their on-screen drama had almost nothing to do with their real relationship. “Onscreen, the husband and wife are at odds, and [director Stanley Kubrick] wanted to use our marriage as a supposed reality. That was Stanley: He used the movie as provocation, pretending it was our sex life,” Kidman told The Hollywood Reporter. “But obviously it wasn’t us.”
Margot Robbie “Tons of people are watching you,” Margot Robbie told Vanity Fair. “There isn’t an option. It’s just like, ‘This is what you need to do — get on with it.’ The sooner you do it, the sooner you can stop doing it.”
Anne Hathaway Anne Hathaway bared it all in Brokeback Mountain and shot her fair share of nude scenes in Love and Other Drugs too. “There is that revoltingly embarrassing moment when you have to take your clothes off in front of strangers,” she told Cosmopolitan. “So I thought, ‘OK, I’m going to be in control. I’m going to do everything properly, disrobe at the last minute, and in between shots get the clothes back on.’ But then I found that every time I put my robe back on, it rubbed all the body makeup off, and that added 20 minutes to filming. As with all things in life, the second you stop making it about you and you make it about everyone else, it just got, dare I say, fun.”
Cameron Diaz Speaking of Sex Tape, Cameron Diaz had a nonchalant attitude toward her own nudity in the role: “It’s just a part of the role. So I did it. I mean, you see everything.”
Dakota Johnson Of course, the Fifty Shades of Grey heroine has her own stories about stripping down on set and while she knew what she was in for, some scenes weren’t exactly a piece of cake. “Ana’s chained to a drop-down gate that is in the red room and blindfolded, and she’s handcuffed by her wrists and feet,” she told Elle. “That was difficult because no matter how much you know that the environment is not real and how much you are protected and safe and can work at your own speed, your senses are deprived.”
Kate Winslet Kate Winslet bared it all in 2001’s Iris, but she makes it clear that she approaches it like any other job. “I just go in and say ‘Oh f*ck let’s do it and boom. If you complain about it or procrastinate it’s not going to go away. It's a profoundly bizarre thing to do. As actors, you talk about it all the time. You can literally be tangled in sheets, and you turn to the other actor and say ‘What the f*ck are we doing?’ Dear Mum, at work today I had so-and-so’s left nut sack pressed against my cheek. It’s sort of unethical if you think about it in those terms.”
Emilia Clarke Emilia Clarke was devastatingly honest about how frightening her early naked Game of Thrones scenes were on Dax Shepard’s podcast earlier this year. “I’ve never been to a set like this, I’ve only been on a set twice before, and now I was completely naked on set, with all these people, and I did not know what to do,” she recounted. “I did not know what was expected of me, I did not know what you wanted, I did not know what I wanted. Regardless of whether it was nudity or not, all-season one I felt I was not worth asking for anything, I was not worth anything at all.”
Helen Hunt Helen Hunt leaves nothing to the imagination in The Sessions, noting that she felt a new freedom in taking on such a role now that she was out of her 20s. “To get a chance to embody a woman, particularly a woman who’s not 20 years old, and celebrate that we all have bodies and everybody has a God-given right to feel pleasure, I liked being part of bringing that to life,” the actress said.
Maggie Gyllenhaal Maggie Gyllenhaal first famously bore it all in BDSM drama Secretary. “I am 41 and I’ve spent nearly 20 years doing sex scenes, intimate ones, and unusual ones,” the actress told The Sunday Times. “I’ve always been really proud of that work.”
Liv Tyler Liv Tyler strips down to her birthday suit in HBO drama The Leftovers, and co-star Chris Zylka confirms that the scene was all about what their characters needed. “It serves such a purpose to the script that it wasn’t really nerve-wracking or anything like that,” Zylka told Decider. “It was just us being the characters and being in The Leftovers.”
Rosario Dawson Rosario Dawson decided in the spur of the moment to go all the way naked in a sex scene with Colin Farell for Alexander. “The sex scene that you will see is really intense and not anything I have done before,” she told the NY Post. “We worked hard on the scene, Oliver, Colin, and I, to convey the strength of their relationship. It’s coming off crazy. It’s brilliant.”
Alicia Vikander Alicia Vikander burst onto the scene in more ways than one with the sci-fi drama Ex Machina, in which we see her character fully naked. The actress later revealed to Harper’s Bazaar UK that she has a “one-take” policy for shooting that kind of scene. “I probably did my first sex scene at 20 and it’s always been technical, as it should be; it should never be anything but technical,” she explained. “I tell the crew it’s a one-taker. That way, everybody on set is on point, because you have to get it done in one take. Like a dancer, we [choreographed it] the same way.”
Sharon Stone Sharon Stone has since revealed that her famous scene in Basic Instinct was shot more explicitly than she’d been led to believe: “Some years ago I was sitting on a sound stage, and my director said, ‘Can you hand me your underpants because we’re seeing them in the scene and you shouldn’t have underpants on, but we won’t see anything,’” she said at the 2019 G2 Men of the Year Awards. But of course, you could see something, and Stone was known for that crossing-uncrossing legs scene for decades.
Rooney Mara Rooney Mara has famously gotten naked to play Lisbeth Sander in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and while plenty of things about that movie are shocking, Mara doesn’t think nudity is one. ‘I certainly don’t want to be involved in anything that is gratuitous, but I don’t think the human body is something to be ashamed of,” she told Interview magazine. “Every other person on the planet has the same parts as I do. So seeing them shouldn’t be a huge shock to most people.”
Olivia Wilde While Olivia Wilde wasn’t too bothered by the nudity required for Third Person, there was one particular naked scene she struggled with: running down the stairs in the buff. “Not only did I have to do it again and again and again, but this was a scene in which I was running downstairs naked,” she told David Letterman, “which no-one should ever do on camera.”
View this celebrity like you've never seen her before Helen Mirren While Helen Mirren became famous earlier in her career for naked scenes in movies like Caligula, she later revealed that she “always hated doing sex scenes, every part of [her] life.”
Evan Rachel Wood “‘It’s not even weird anymore,’ Evan Rachel Wood told C Magazine of shooting naked scenes in Westworld. “We’ve all been naked so often that it’s just normal. I show up to work and say, ‘Ok, I’m naked in a lab. And Anthony Hopkins is here.’ It’s so surreal there isn’t even time to be stressed.’”
Heather Graham Heather Graham famously got naked for her role in Boogie Nights but says it took her a while to accept her own sexuality. “It’s an aspect of my personality,” she told Women’s Health. “Sex is a part of who I am and it took me a long time to feel good about it.”
Kim Cattrall Kim Cattrall, AKA Samantha in Sex and the City, has bared it all for the camera many times. “The nudity has never been an issue for me, in life, it’s been an issue, but on camera, I’m playing a character first of all which is huge — you feel protected because it’s not you,” she said at AOL Build. “People will say, ‘I’ve seen you naked!’ And I say, ‘no no no, you’ve seen Sam naked. You haven’t really seen me naked.”
Carice Van Houten “I feel very strongly about the nudity,” Carice van Houten told Entertainment Weekly of her role as the Red Woman in Game of Thrones. “I feel very strongly about how you can show machine guns, and you can show horrible things, but you see a nipple and it’s, ‘Oh my God! A nipple has been displayed!’”
View this celebrity like you've never seen her before Daisy Edgar-Jones & Paul Mescal In Hulu’s sexy new romance Normal People, Daisy Edgar-Jones and Paul Mescal committed 100% — and yes, that means full frontal. Mescal hilariously remembers their director telling him about an upcoming scene to Vulture: ‘Now you know, Paul, as you’ve seen in the book, we’re requiring and asking you for a full-frontal nudity clause’…I was totally surprised by the fact that there would be any other way of doing it. If you’re going to do the book correctly, I think that’s required.”
Marion Cotillard Marion Cotillard has gone nude for a number of films, including Ismael’s Ghosts. Per the actress, her happiness with the scene is all about what it’s doing for her character. “In Rust and Bone, we had very naked love scenes, and it was totally different, I was very happy,” she told the Wall Street Journal. “Not because [co-star] Matthias Schoenaerts is superhot, absolutely not, because I had experience with Johnny Depp before [in 2009’s “Public Enemies”] and it was also really hard for me. I was just very happy for my character. The whole day I was naked on set and I was totally fine with it.”
View this celebrity like you've never seen her before Lena Dunham Lena Dunham has shot some famously nude scenes in Girls and says the “unsexiness” is exactly what makes it easier to pull off. “I don’t have any anxiety about sex scenes, they’re just something that I do. “I think I feel vulnerable when I have to really act like I’m in love or happy or show an emotion that’s really private,” she told Huffington Post. “It’s easy to do a sex scene when you look bored or dissatisfied or confused.”