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Hollywood sex scenes are rarely a reflection of real life, but one actress has a particular bugbear.
Shailene Woodley, a star of Big Little Lies, has said that she finds it odd to see actresses preserving their modesty by keeping their underwear on.
“Oftentimes in movies, you see two people having sex and the woman has her bra on, and in real life, I don’t think I ever did that, sex with a bra - or very, very rarely,” she told the Hollywood Reporter.
Woodley, 29, found fame when she made her film debut as George Clooney’s daughter in The Descendants.
Now an established figure in Hollywood, the actress said she had never felt uncomfortable about intimate scenes because she planned them beforehand with directors and co-stars, and always asked: “Is nudity necessary? Is it going to distract from the scene [or] add to the scene?”
Actresses who have kept their bra on at moments of high screen passion include Cameron Diaz in The Holiday and Renee Zellweger in the Bridget Jones films. Sarah Jessica Parker. She had a no-nudity clause in her Sex and the City contract, which explained why she wore underwear in bed.
Parker once said that, while she did not feel comfortable in going topless on screen, she respected the right of other actresses to do so: “I don’t have any judgment about anyone who chooses to do it. I think it’s fantastic that people feel comfortable doing it. It’s not some kind of principled position on my part.”
In the Hollywood Reporter feature, the director of Woodley’s most recent film, Endings, Beginnings, said the actress’s inhibition was more French than American.
“She’s not modern, she’s a throwback, like a French actress in the Sixties or something,” he said.
While the film industry has made some effort in recent years to create “empowered” roles for women, Woodley said she would rather see characters who reflect the “messy, jealous, conspiratorial, competitive” side of women.
“There’s so many stories out there right now about strong, empowered females. I laugh when I read these stories because maybe I know literally two strong, empowered females out of all my friends and myself included,” she said.
“My hope is that more stories come out that explore the intricacies of what feminine energy looks like and not just this desire to represent females from a strong, empowered standpoint.”
Woodley’s next project is Robots, a comedy in which she will star alongside Jack Whitehall, the British comedian.