A nudity clause is a paragraph or a section in a performer’s legal contract that stipulates which parts, if any, of the performer's body are to be exposed during a theatrical, television, cinematic, or other type of production. The clause may stipulate that a performer will not be required to perform in the nude, or it may specify that a performer is not allowed to perform in the nude. Nevertheless, a character they play may appear to be nude by the use of a "body double" in place of the performer during a nude scene or the use of a flesh-colored bodystocking. Sometimes a performer will refuse to accept a role which involves nudity.
Most performing contracts stipulate which body parts may be used in the final product. This may, for example, be the back above the waist, include the buttocks, breasts, pubic hair, etc. They may also specify which parts cannot be shown - such as hands, neck, profile, etc. There are strict union guidelines around on-set nudity, which requires actors to be told of any nude scenes well in advance and nudity waivers require directors to itemize exactly what will be shown and how.
At times exposure of each body part is given a commercial value and open to negotiation. In 2001, Halle Berry appeared in the film Swordfish, which featured her first nude scene. At first, she refused to be filmed topless in a sunbathing scene, but she changed her mind when Warner Brothers raised her fee substantially. The brief flash of her breasts reportedly added $500,000 to her fee. Berry considered these stories to be rumors and was quick to deny them. After turning down numerous roles that required nudity, she said she decided to make Swordfish because her husband, Benét, supported her and encouraged her to take risks.
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Especially when they are launching their careers, many female performers accept to performing nude; and an objection can cost an actress or other female performer choice roles in blockbuster films or other lavish productions, unless her reputation and status are sufficiently superior to those of her peers, or she is popular enough, or she has accumulated enough wealth to refuse to accept parts in productions that require her to perform nude without damaging her career. For this reason, for some female celebrities, a no-nudity clause can demonstrate their clout within their profession. When actresses who have no-nudity clauses in their contracts appear in television, theatrical, cinematic, or other productions that require their character to be nude, a body double is used to portray the character during the filming of the nude scenes.
Although such a clause could appear in the contract of either a male or a female performer, it usually appears only in some of the latter’s contracts, because far more female performers are asked to perform nude than are male performers.
Sometimes, the studios or production companies are the ones who insist that their actresses forego nude scenes or other appearances in the buff. For example, The Learning Channel insisted that Paige Davis not appear nude. The New York Post reported that after Davis “agreed to be photographed swaddled in nothing but two strips of wallpaper, a TLC staffer called the magazine’s photo department and asked them to run another shot, citing the no-nudity clause in Davis' TLC contract.”
There were also reports that to preserve her wholesome image Annette Funicello, who was under contract with Walt Disney, was not allowed to be seen in a bikini bathing suit or to wear a two-piece suit or show her navel in the beach party films of the 1960s for American International Pictures; though the prohibition was not always followed.
As with other legal stipulations, the no-nudity clause can be, and sometimes is, waived by an actress for a particular scene. For example, a San Francisco Chronicler reporter observed that Laura Linney’s full-frontal nudity in Maze indicates that, for her appearance in this film she “obviously waived the no-nudity clause” when the plot called for her to model for an artist.[this quote needs a citation] Likewise, Neve Campbell told TV Guide Online that she‘s “had the no-nudity clause in my film contracts in the past, because I felt some scenes were for box-office draw and nothing else." Of her nude scenes in When Will I Be Loved (2004), she said they were “about my character's sexual exploration and her power and curiosity, so it made sense.”[this quote needs a citation] Campbell went on to do another nude scene in I Really Hate My Job in 2007.
For cartoon characters
No-nudity clauses have even forbidden cartoon characters from appearing nude. Pamela Anderson, for example, who has appeared nude many times in a variety of productions, informed Reuters that she insisted on a no-nudity clause for her cartoon alter ego, Stripperella, the adult animated series created by Stan Lee. Other cartoon characters, notably Homer Simpson and his son, Bart, have appeared nude many times, even on prime-time television, but with their genitals concealed, although Bart briefly shows his in The Simpsons Movie.
Controversy as to existence
Actress Shannon Elizabeth has claimed, in an interview with a Maxim magazine reporter, that no-nudity clauses do not exist, contending that “somebody made that up." She explained that “there’s no such thing as a no-nudity clause. There’s a nudity waiver—it’s kind of the other way around. If you have a contract that says there’s nudity, then there’s nudity. If the contract doesn’t mention nudity, then nudity isn’t allowed".
Despite her apparent denial of the existence of the no-nudity clause, Elizabeth herself is reported to have added a no-nudity clause to her own contract. According to the Internet Movie Database, the actress “is fed up" with "taking her clothes off on the big screen" and, after skyrocketing to fame upon appearing nude in American Pie, “now has a no nudity clause in all her contracts. Elizabeth says she wants to be hired for her acting talent, not her body.”
Other performers have also claimed to have such clauses in their contracts. For example, in an interview with Cranky Critic, Kirsten Dunst when asked directly, “Do you have a no nudity clause with the films you do?,” replied, “Yeah, I'm always very careful about that, definitely.” However, Dunst did appear nude in All Good Things and Melancholia.
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- Ian Hyland (September 2, 2001). "The Diary: Halle's bold glory"[dead link]. Sunday Mirror. Accessed 2009-07-05.
- Hugh Davies (February 7, 2001). "Halle Berry earns extra £357,000 for topless scene". The Telegraph. Accessed 2008-04-29.
- Christa D'Souza (December 31, 2001). "And the winner is... The Telegraph. Accessed 2010-08-16.
- "Halle's big year". (November 2002) Ebony.
- "The Myth of the Hidden Navel". Beachpartymoviemusic.com. Retrieved February 20, 2012.
- Anderson hypocritical with no-nudity clause
- http://www.maximonline.com/articles/index.aspx?a_id=5544[dead link]
- "Shannon Elizabeth Implements No Nudity Contract". IMBD.com. Jan. 3, 2002.
- Fischer, Paul. "Cranky Critic Star Talk - Kirsten Dunst". CrankyCritic.com.
- "Kirsten Dunst on Bad Boys, Nude Scenes, and Beatnik Boot Camp". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 2011-01-02.