Stars Who Have Absolutely No Problem Doing Nude Scenes

This article references sex addiction and domestic abuse.

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. After all, what would campy horror movies be 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 there are 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 Advocate," "The 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 regard 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," and while she's fully clothed in a space suit in the "Alien" prequel, she hadn't ruled out future on-screen appearances in the buff.

Indeed, just as Theron leaned into her action movie hero era, the actor once again bared all for her 2017 role as an undercover MI6 agent in "Atomic Blonde." However, while her character remained clothed during the film's steamy sex scene, the revealing sequence in question was more about vulnerability than titillation — showcasing the agent's various gnarly scars and wounds after a soothing ice bath.

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 man experiencing sex addiction in "Shame." As 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."

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

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 for the actors in question, and the challenge of depicting a sexually fearless character certainly wasn't something that came naturally to Hathaway. "All that overt sexuality is just not me," she told Reuters (via The Hollywood Reporter). "... It's less of nudity and more of intimacy."

Lena Dunham does nudity to prove 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 involved love scenes that left 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, saying, "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." 

Regardless, Dunham received endless derision for how she looked in her nude scenes — something she'd grown understandably tired of. By the time of the show's final season in 2017, she told Refinery 29 that it made her crave modesty. In 2022, she told The Guardian that she tried — and failed — to just brush the insults off, saying, "I thought I could receive all this input about what a hideous cow I was and also hold on to this feeling that I am essentially ... lovely?"

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. "... 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?"

As he explained to the Mirror, the nudity was an essential method for depicting his character's duplicitous nature — both as a regal, respected figure and as an animalistic loose cannon. "He is both violent and primitive and bestial, but also something else," he said. "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 actor-director had famously undergone a double mastectomy two years prior 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 her then-husband Brad Pitt) trying to repair their marriage, shows the actor 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 celebrate every aspect of herself — skin and all. "My body has been through a lot over the past decade, particularly the past four years," she said. "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 Decision," and "Bulworth." 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 actor 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 won 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 that 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 in PG-13 Hollywood blockbusters like "Titanic." Her reasoning was similar to Dunham's, in that she wasn't necessarily the typical Hollywood body type and felt that 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 actor continued to choose films that required explicit scenes, including "Little Children" and "The Reader." However, by 2015, Winslet told WSJ Magazine that she felt done with on-screen nudity after having three children. "I don't think I can get away with it now," Winslet said. "I get really big when I am pregnant. There are things that will never go back." 

Fast forward six years, and Winslet was once again proudly baring her middle-aged body during sex scenes in the crime miniseries, "Mare of Easttown." As she told The New York Times, she was insistent that there be no editing or touch-ups done to conceal her belly or smooth out wrinkles — her character had to look real. "She's a fully functioning, flawed woman with a body and a face that moves in a way that is synonymous with her age and her life," she said.

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," she said. "... 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 couldn't shake off her character's anguish and indignity. "I just felt completely humiliated and devastated and angry inside," she said during an actor's roundtable for The Hollywood Reporter. "... I went home and I threw a rock through a glass door."

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.

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 an actual legitimate 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. "... 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.'"

Natalie Portman's position on nude scenes has evolved

Natalie Portman was 12 when she starred in "Léon: The Professional," playing a hitman's young protégée. Reflecting on that experience during a speech at the Women's March in Los Angeles in 2018, Portman recalled feeling sexualized by the media, per CNN. "I understood very quickly, even as a 13-year-old, that if I were to express myself sexually, I would feel unsafe," she said. Explaining that she decided to pass on any role that required her to so much as kiss another actor, she added, "I built a reputation for basically being prudish, conservative, nerdy, serious, in an attempt to feel that my body was safe and that my voice would be listened to."

Appearing nude on-screen was out of the question — until it wasn't. In 2007, Portman appeared sans clothing in Wes Anderson's "Hotel Chevalier," a 10-minute film that appeared before "The Darjeeling Limited." "I think it's beautiful and I think it's tastefully done and I love the short," she told The Guardian of that role. "And it still wasn't like full nudity."

Clearly, Portman's views about on-screen nudity had evolved over the years. "I'm definitely not a prude about sex or nudity, I just don't want do something that will end up as a screen grab on a porn site. So meanwhile, I'm doing halfsies," she told Elle UK (via The Independent). "I'm like, 'I'll show my butt but not my boobs.'"

Katherine Waterston finds nude scenes 'liberating'

Katherine Waterston bared it all for the 2104 film "Inherent Vice," and she discussed that full-frontal nude scene in an interview with HuffPost. "When you have a lot to do in a scene, it's actually quite liberating," she said of being naked on-screen. "I find it more freeing." 

In fact, appearing alongside her similarly naked co-star Joaquin Phoenix, she compared the extended one-shot scene to skinny dipping. "You think, 'Oh gosh, my friend just took off all his clothes, now I'm taking off all my clothes,' and before you know it, you're just swimming in the water and you're not thinking about the fact," she explained. "There's maybe a moment where you gulp, but then, for me, the scene was so much fun to play that I didn't really think about it too much."

In fact, Waterston sees nudity as one of the many tools at an actor's disposal in revealing the truth of a character when tackling a role. From her perspective, displaying physical nudity is ultimately no different than actors allowing themselves to become fully exposed and unguarded on an emotional level. "I feel that nudity is sort of what we do as actors," Waterston told the Daily News. "It's all nudity, it's all vulnerable, it's all at least a little bit scary. But it didn't feel any more vulnerable or complicated than any other complicated, vulnerable scene I've played."

Alexandra Daddario had no problem taking it off for True Detective

Alexandra Daddario's profile has risen in recent years thanks to her striking TV roles in "The White Lotus" in 2021 and 2023's "Mayfair Witches." Among her previous projects was the first season of "True Detective," playing a young woman who has an affair with Woody Harrelson's character, Det. Martin Hart. In one episode, Daddario went full-frontal for a nude sex scene with Harrelson. "I saw it as an interesting challenge," she told MTV News of why she decided to get naked on-screen for the first time in her career. "I really wanted to be part of the show, and I understood why the nudity and all of that was required of the character."

While admitting that simulating sex while cameras roll can be awkward for any actor, she credited her co-star for placing her at ease — at least as much as was possible under the circumstances. "He's Woody Harrelson," she said. "If there's anybody that I was going to be comfortable with, it's somebody like him."

As Daddario told Collider, she was hesitant about going nude for the role. However, she didn't want to pass up the opportunity to appear in a show that she suspected would be a huge hit — and a potential game-changer for her career. "I didn't have a moral problem with it," she said. "You know, I warned my family, but I wasn't super concerned about it."

Kristen Wiig believes nudity doesn't need to be 'sexy'

Kristen Wiig became a standout on "Saturday Night Live" for her full and total commitment to whatever character she happened to be playing. That commitment also extends to appearing nude when appropriate, as she demonstrated in her 2014 movie "Welcome to Me." In the film, Wiig plays Alice Klieg, a woman with borderline personality disorder who wins $86 million in a lottery and moves into a casino hotel, hiring a camera crew to film a self-funded TV show about her life. In the film's climactic scene, Alice suffers a breakdown that leads her to walk naked through the casino, requiring full-frontal nudity from Wiig. 

"I was terrified to do it, for the obvious reasons," Wiig told the Los Angeles Times. "And then after I did it, I was like, 'Oh, this is actually kind of freeing. How many people can say they were just walking around a public place naked with a bunch of people around?'"

Unlike the majority of on-screen nude scenes, Wiig's exposure didn't appear in a steamy sex sequence. In fact, the nudity was entirely about demonstrating the character's vulnerability and the fragility of her mental state in that emotionally charged moment. "Being naked in a film or on stage isn't always supposed to be sexy," she told The Violet Files (via E! News). "It was the part and it felt right, so I did it."

Hayley Atwell believes nudity reveals a character's humanity

Over the course of her acting career, Hayley Atwell has appeared in a wide range of projects, playing everything from a secret agent (and the love interest of Captain America) in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to debutante Julia Flyte the period drama "Brideshead Revisited." In the latter, she appeared fully nude in a steamy sex scene. "Nude scenes can be very liberating," she told the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag (via Bild, translated by Google). "I feel very human. This is me, with all my little imperfections." In fact, she told the Evening Standard, it was the internet, not personal modesty, that underscored her decision to not do more nude scenes. Her fear? Eventually all of her additional future nude scenes would wind up as a titillating compilation on YouTube. 

Meanwhile, Atwell also emphasized that what appears sexy and sensuous on-screen feels far different for the naked actors filming those love scenes. "Sex scenes are so funny to shoot, you are naked in them and both wearing nappies or covers," she told Bang Showbiz (via Irish Central). "It's often a bit cold on set and you're in a warehouse or a studio and you're surrounded by guys who feel very uncomfortable and they are all trying to be respectful but they seem to be enjoying it at the same time. So there is a lot of weird stuff going on."

Baring all gave Jennifer Lawrence renewed confidence

In 2014, Jennifer Lawrence's nude selfies were infamously exposed on the internet after her phone was hacked. Four years later, she depicted a Russian ballerina trained to become a seductive assassin in "Red Sparrow" — a role that demanded a nude scene. As Lawrence told Variety, the movie helped the actor to reclaim agency over her body. "The insecurity and fear of being judged for getting nude ... should that dictate decisions I make for the rest of my life?" she mused to the outlet. "This movie changed that and I didn't even realize how important changing that mentality was until it was done." 

Lawrence credited the film's director, Francis Lawrence, for letting her know about some of the film's more difficult scenes involving nudity and sex, and thoroughly talking through what would be happening until she felt comfortable. "I knew exactly what was going on and also there was one moment he came out to give me a note and just looked at me like I had clothes, and then I just felt like I had clothes on," she explained.

However, that's not to say she took on the challenge without hesitancy — in fact, she was fairly terrified of the prospect. "I knew that the only way to tell the story is if I agreed to really do the scenes and go full monty," she told Australia's "Today." "... But then after I finished the scene I felt empowered."

Jason Segel found his full-frontal scene to be freeing

In the opening scene of the big-screen comedy "Forgetting Sarah Marshall," Jason Segel's character exits the shower, only to be greeted by his girlfriend (Kristen Bell) announcing they're through — which shocks him so much that he drops his towel and lets it all hang out. According to director Nicholas Stoller, the full-frontal scene was Segel's idea — although the actor was concerned about, as famously addressed on "Seinfeld," possible "shrinkage." "He was mainly nervous that his wiener look normal, which in a very cold stage is hard to achieve," Stoller recalled in an interview with Entertainment Weekly.

For Segel, his reasoning behind the scene was to emphasize the character's humiliation while getting dumped. "I thought that was hilarious. I was actually not very uncomfortable doing it. I really felt free," Segel told Vulture of the trailblazing move of having a movie's male protagonist appear stark naked within the opening minutes of the film. "There was a creative idea behind it," Segal added. "It wasn't just for shock value."

As it turned out, the most sensitive aspect of the scene wasn't Segel's full-frontal nudity, but how long the audience was exposed to it. As the film's director told EW, Segel's phallus only appears on-screen for about a second-and-a-half — the result of test screenings indicating viewers didn't want to see it for any longer than that. "We discovered that less is more when you're shooting wiener," Stoller observed.