Why Keira Knightley Won't Act in Sex Scenes Directed By Men

Keira Knightley is over the "male gaze." The actress revealed this week she won't appear in sex scenes if they're directed by men. Read on for the reason behind her decision.

By Lindsay Weinberg Jan 25, 2021 9:30 PMTags
Watch: Keira Knightley Was Afraid of the "Nutcracker" at First

Here's one way motherhood has changed Keira Knightley: She will no longer film sex scenes directed by men.

Speaking on the Chanel Connects podcast with director Lulu Wang and writer Diane Solway, Knightley explained why she added a no nudity clause to her contracts after she became a mom in 2015. 

"It's partly vanity and it's partly also it's the male gaze," the actress said. "If I was making a story that was about that journey of motherhood and body acceptance, I feel like, I'm sorry, but that would have to be with a female filmmaker."

The Colette star continued, "I don't have an absolute ban [on nudity], but I kind of do with men... I don't want it to be those horrible sex scenes where you're all greased up and everybody is grunting. I'm not interested in doing that."

Knightley, 35, said she's not against sex scenes in principle, it's just that she now feels very "uncomfortable" trying to portray the male gaze. She'd rather have other "hot" actresses take on nude roles at this point in her career. 

photos
Keira Knightley's Best Looks

"There's times where I go, 'Yeah, I completely see where this sex would be really good in this film and you basically just need somebody to look hot,' and so therefore you can use somebody else," she added. "Because I'm too vain, and the body has had two children now, and I'd just rather not stand in front of a group of men naked."

James Gourley/Shutterstock

She shares two daughters Edie, 5, and Delilah, 17 months, with her husband, musician James Righton. The pair married in 2013. 

Since giving birth, Knightley has said motherhood helped her become a better actress in some ways. She revealed to The Telegraph in 2019, "The weird thing with acting is that sleep deprivation basically makes your emotions very close to the surface," adding, "It's much easier to cry. You feel like crying all the time, so I can turn that on like that, so this is great. Thanks kid."

The British beauty always keeps it real about what being a new mom is really like. In October 2019, she was at an event to promote her new movie, Official Secrets, when she spilled, "This is about the third time since I gave birth that my hair has been brushed—and I didn't brush it."

The Bend It Like Beckham star went on, "I was in my pajamas when [my glam team] got there and this is somebody else's dress...so it's all smoke and mirrors today, which I'm super happy about, but I've just sort of been led here. And I've got six hours, so this is my workday."

She next appears in the upcoming comedy Silent Night with Matthew Goode and Annabelle Wallis.

Peacock is live now! Check out NBCU's new streaming service here.