2014 will be a big year for silver screen nudity, with Lars Von Trier’s sex-crazed Nymphomaniac set to make a big splash, or at least an uncomfortable wet patch, in cinemas when it arrives. We’ve already been treated to one trailer, and needless to say, expectations couldn’t be any more erotically charged, even if the sexual element looks horribly clinical and reductive (which is no doubt Von Triers’ intention.)
But before that film lands, with it’s frank and blatant portrait of graphic sex, and in the name of celebrating the art and craft of subtle sexuality, were following up last year’s 10 Nude Scenes You Might Have Missed From 2012 with a compendium of the finest examples from the past twelve months, as they come to an end.
This was of course the year that Scarlett Johansson played a sexed-up alien, but that would be too easy a mention, so, whether taken from obscure films, or TV shows, or blink-and-you’d-miss-it instances, these are the moments that had fans peering closer at the cinema or reaching for the pause button.
Emily Ratajkowski – Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” Video
Given the controversy that followed Robin Thicke’s re-emergence as a popstar after years of near-obscurity (or at least of vague fame) was one of the stories of the year. His wandering hand and his diabolically raunchy dance-off with the perpetually half-dressed Miley Cyrus over-shadowed the fact that he released possibly the best pop song of the entire year (all rape-like connotations aside, of course.)
And Thicke’s team also master-minded the greatest double video marketing ploy ever, releasing one almost Safe For Work version of the video featuring scantily clad models cavorting with Thicke in plastic underwear as well as an After Dark version where the underwear was noticably absent. Not everyone got to see the NSFW version, because it was mostly (and justifiably) banned from the TV – though the majority of the world probably tried their hardest to do so – and for the small minority who didn’t get to see Emily Ratajkowski stealing the scene, you missed out. Massively.
Laura Prepon – Orange Is The New Black
That 70s Show has now spawned two sex pots in the shape of Mila Kunis and now Laura Prepon, the Scientologist and former girl-next-door girlfriend of Topher Grace’s Eric, who was always over-achieving (probably thanks to his sweet basement.)
Counter to her light-hearted role in the nostalgic comedy, Prepon has made strides in cutting a darker image for herself in subsequent projects – firstly with the disturbing true crime story Karla, and now (after a gap of almost eight years) with Netflix exclusive Orange Is The New Black.
Regular TV viewers will no doubt get to see the show on TV eventually, but when it initially screened, the only option was on Netflix, meaning a significant chunk of the entertainment devouring world missed out on the chance to see Prepon graduate from girl-next-door to tattoo-emblazoned prison-vixen next door in one of the most satisfying reinventions in TV history, including a memorable first episode shower sequence, opposite Taylor Schilling.
Lady Gaga – The Abramovic Method Practiced By Lady Gaga
After years of flirting with nudity, including the memorable video for “Telephone,” which definitely, definitely wasn’t anything to do with proving that she was in fact all girl, Lady Gaga finally stripped away all pretence and took off her clothes for a naked yoga video, which you’d be forgiven for missing entirely unless you like that sort of thing.
Naked yoga is nothing new of course, given that it’s been around since ancient times, and represented a wholesome rejection of the materialistic side of life, which must have appealed to shy and retiring multi-millionaire Gaga, who changes her wardrobe at a similar frequency to an Oscars host.
In all honesty, what Gaga and artist Marina Abramovic worked on was less authentic yoga – though Gaga has previous with bikram yoga – and more artistic statement, designed to provoke thought and explore the relationship between performer and audience, the limits of the body, and the possibilities of the mind. Or something.
Either way, Lady Gaga took literally all of her clothes off for it. Which is nice, again, if you like that sort of thing.
Katee Sackhoff – Riddick
The Riddick sequel might not have been the all-conquering sci-fi wonder that Vin Diesel might have hoped it was going to be, but it was a hell of a lot better than the second in the series, and exceeded expectations quite impressively.
Though the film is almost entirely Diesel’s, co-star Katee Sackhoff momentarily steals focus entirely with a blink and you’ll miss it flash that will undoubtedly have fans scrabbling for their remote controls to try a tactical pause, particularly Howard from The Big Bang Theory, who famously shares a fantasy bath or two with the former Battlestar Galactica star.
Heather Hahn – Hello Ladies
The prospect of nudity in Stephen Merchant’s stand-up inspired sitcom would be an entirely different prospect if it was the gangly British funster taking his clothes off for a cheap laugh, but thankfully this entry is dedicated instead to co-star Heather Hahn, best known for being mercilessly ripped to pieces by Bruno in her other career as a supermodel.
In what can only be classed as a remarkably self-serving move, Merchant adapted his stand-up to include a skinny-dipping supermodel scene. After all, why not? His comedy relied upon his comic slip-ups with the opposite sex, and giving those failures even more of a spectacular context added more humour to already entertaining source material.
Melanie Laurent – Night Train To Lisbon
After her excellent starring turn in Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds, you could justifiably have expected Melanie Laurent to have made a real move on the mainstream Hollywood market, but aside from an appearance in Now You See Me, her high-profile roles have been surprisingly muted.
One of the lesser roles, which could have passed by entirely without too much attention – despite the casting of both Laurent and the invariably excellent Jeremy Irons – thanks to an odd antiquated feel and a lack of any real engagement factor. As a curious spectacle, it’s a reasonably diverting affair, if a little disposable, but the only memorable sequence from the entire thing is the tangibly cold sex scene starring Laurent – who isn’t afraid of taking her clothes off for her art, if her CV is anything to go by.)
Kaylee DeFer – Darkroom
The former kid’s TV star (who started out in Nickelodeon’s Drake & Josh) is probably best known for her role in unfeasibly successful American show Gossip Girl, as well as smaller appearances in How I Met Your Mother and Red State, and that will probably remain the same until she makes considerably better films than Darkroom.
DeFer takes the lead in the pseudo-religious, sub-Texas Chainsaw Massacre horror, which lacks direction, brains or a single unique thought, but it does include a brief topless scene by DeFer, who definitely deserves better opportunities than this. We can only hope her film career isn’t killed before it gets started (and the harsh revelation that she has nothing of note in production seems to suggest that might be the case.)
Still, at least we all have this one very brief high-point of Darkroom to remember.
Kate Bosworth- Big Sur
Apparently, Walter Salles’ mind-numblingly awful attempt at adapting Jack Kerouac’s definitely unadaptable On The Road didn’t dissuade Michael Polish from attempting to adapt another unadaptable novel by the iconic American writer.
This time, the problem with the source is that it just wasn’t all that bountiful for a big screen adaptation: it deals with Kerouac’s inability to cope with the success of On The Road, and an affair with his friend’s mistress, Billie (Kate Bosworth.) Had Salles’ adaptation of the more famous novel actually been any good – and memorable for anything other than Kristen Stewart taking her clothes off – people might have been interested, but it wasn’t and they weren’t.
Ironically, the only really memorable scene in the entire thing involves Bosworth acting naked opposite co-star Jean-Marc Barr, but it’s a flimsy promise to get you to commit to such boredom
Rose McGowan – Wild Rose
Naomi Watts – Sunlight Jr
There will be worse films than Sunlight Jr that you didn’t see in 2013 – lots of them in fact. And if you saw the God-awful fawning Diana movie, then you’ve definitely seen a worse film this year already, and by some distance. But thanks to it only getting a very limited release in cinemas on the back of an appearance at Tribeca earlier in the year, and a wider VOD release, chances are, you haven’t seen this grim, ultra-now tale of poverty and love.
Playing out like the mongrel cousin of The Pursuit Of Happiness and Blue Valentine, there’s not much to make you feel particularly happy about life, but that’s the point, but there is a significant moral boost in the shape of a particularly fine naked scene from Watts that should probably have earned it more festival slots at least (since it’s all mostly just perverts congratulating perverts on their pervery.)
Ahead of making and releasing her first feature length film, which she admits borrows from Marlene Marino – the photographer with a penchant for nude portraits – which will rather enticingly she calls “custom-made porn but not in the kind of way that you’ve seen” (which in all honestly, is a little presumptuous, but we’ll let that fly,) Rose McGowan worked with the photographer to release a tender video portrait, in which she wore very little.
McGowan met Marino through Ridley Scott’s Black Dog Films, and share attitudes about beauty, which are defined by in-no-way pretentious ideas about the transformative implications of prancing about naked (it made McGowan cry apparently) and reclaiming your own ideas of beauty (because pesky idea thiefs are always stealing the way you think about sexiness.)
The short film features a soundtrack by Italian composer Ludovico Einaudi, and has an agenda to awaken how everyone should see beauty – as if anyone is questioning that naked Rose McGowan is in some way not beautiful.
The final word must go to the actress herself, who teased her forthcoming film in spectacular fashion on the back of the short…
“I just shot the teaser for it and in it I’m wearing a strap-on. It’s pretty balls-out, I’m not gonna lie—it’s going to look insane.”
Shailenne Woodley – The Spectacular Now
In the excellent, but under-appreciated (by mainstream audiences anyway) adaptation of The Spectacular Now, Shailenne Woodley – who is probably best known for her work opposite George Clooney in The Descendants – was a certain type of film fan’s ideal woman.
She didn’t wear make-up, nor any airs and graces, read sci-fi and loved manga, and most importantly, she looked like Shailenne Woodley. And as the best teenage movie of the year (and for a good long time, in fact) developed, and Shailenne’s character grew closer to the lead, we were treated to a fleeting glimpse of the former The O.C. supporting star.
And if you’re gifted enough with the pause button, you might just get to see a little more than was perhaps intended.
Paula Patton – 2 Guns
2 Guns was a surprisingly entertaining movie event this past year, despite the massive number of potential pitfalls – including the threat of Mark Wahlberg bringing his Max Payne game, instead of his Boogie Nights game, and the fact that the film was based on a graphic novel without Marvel or DC on the cover.
And the finest moment, which will definitely have fans reaching for the pause button when they get their hands on the blu-ray comes after Denzel Washington and Paula Patton enjoy a bit of a sexy tumble. Being a woman, Patton’s character then wants to talk all about feelings, but in order to balance that out the film has her question Washington’s real feelings for her while her breasts are pretty much on show.
Patton apparently chose to include the nudity herself as it made no sense that a familiar couple would feel the need to cover themselves up.