No-nudity clause

No-nudity clause

A no-nudity clause is a paragraph or a section in a performer’s legal contract that stipulates that he or she will not perform nude in a theatrical, television, cinematic, or other type of production. This clause may amount to a performer's right not to perform in the nude, or it may specify that a performer is not allowed to perform in the nude. Nevertheless, a character he or she plays may be shown in the nude by the method of substituting nudity scenes with a "body double".

Purpose

Especially when they are launching their careers, many female performers do not object to performing nude; in fact, such 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.

Studio imposition

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.”

As a means of generating publicity

Sarah Michelle Gellar has used the no-nudity clause to generate publicity concerning herself. First, she hinted that she might remove her clothes for the right movie; however, she soon followed her announcement with a statement in which she declared that she would never appear nude on screen or stage for any reason. Her contradictory statements generated considerable publicity. Despite her contention that she would never appear nude, Gellar already has appeared topless in an episode of Saturday Night Live, during which she covered her breasts with her hands.

More recently, Jessica Alba and Scarlett Johansson, two of the biggest female movie stars in the United States during the early to mid-2000s, have stipulated that they will never appear nude on film. Jessica Alba in particular can be noted for this, being that she appeared in the role of Nancy Callahan in the film Sin City, which, if the part followed the visuals in the graphic novels by Frank Miller as most of the film does, would have required topless scenes.

Waivers

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. 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," she says; however, the film When Will I Be Loved, she said, “is about my character's sexual exploration and her power and curiosity, so it made sense.”

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. Likewise, according to the Associated Press, “The San Francisco health department toned down its campaign to combat rising syphilis infections after the company that owns the city's bus shelters refused to display a male genitalia cartoon” that offended “children and families”. 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.”

References

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