Keira Knightley is done with dude-directed sex scenes.
“I don’t have an absolute ban, but I kind of do with men,” the actress said of agreeing to sex scenes directed by men on the podcast “Chanel Connects” this month.
The 35-year-old “Pirates of the Caribbean” star’s reasoning is twofold: “It’s partly vanity and also it’s the male gaze,” she explained during the conversation with filmmaker Lulu Wang and writer Diane Solway. “I feel very uncomfortable now trying to portray the male gaze. Saying that, 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.’ ”
This comes in spite of her previous praise for her iconic library sex scene in the 2007 movie “Atonement,” directed by Joe Wright.
Wright “choreographed the scene within an inch of its life,” Knightley told Vulture in 2019. “It was absolutely, ‘Foot goes up there, hand goes up there.’ So both me and James [McAvoy] felt utterly comfortable and not exposed, and like we could deal with it. It’s never gonna be fun, but we could deal with it.”
Knightley famously donned a silky green gown in a sex scene for 2007’s “Atonement.”
But now, while there are certain movie narratives she would be open to performing more sexual scenes for, it would have to be with a female director.
“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,” she continued. “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.”
Keira Knightley says she will no longer agree to filming sex scenes for male directors. WireImage
The mother of two — 5-year-old daughter Edie and 1-year-old Delilah, both with hubby and English musician James Righton — has found that her feelings and comfort with on-screen nudity have changed since becoming a mom, and now, she’d simply prefer different actors besides herself be cast for parts which require getting naked.
“So, therefore, you can use somebody else, 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,” said Knightley.
There is not enough female-directed on-screen nudity or sex, Knightley went on, a significant reason men may not understand why their directing choices make women uncomfortable.
“We all empathize with men hugely because, culturally, their experience is so explored. We know so many aspects of even male sexuality. But we don’t feel like men can say, ‘Yes, I understand what you’re talking about, because I’ve got this wealth of art and film and theater and TV from your point of view,’ ” she said.
Keira Knightley attending the European premiere of “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” held at the Vue Westfield cinema in London. PA Images via Getty Images