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Is it time to restrict nude scenes to the over 50s?

Posted on: November 26, 2019, in Blog

Emilia Clarkes experience on Game of Thrones highlights how young actors can feel exploited, so only showing older bodies might redress the balance

Game of Thrones has not had the best press of late. The finale was bad, the showrunners appeared to demean their own fans at a film festival and HBO had to perform an embarrassing about-face when it came to making a prequel. Could it get any worse?

Thanks to Emilia Clarkes recent appearance on Dax Shepherds podcast, it could. During her interview, she describes having to resist pressure to appear nude on the show. Ive had fights on set before where Im like: No, the sheet stays up, and theyre like, You dont wanna disappoint your Game of Thrones fans. And Im like: Fuck you.

In the age of the internet, a nude scene is a big deal: they become both permanent and freely available. One awkward conversation about sheet placement at work and Clarkes body becomes public property for ever. Clearly, something has to be done.

I know what that thing is. We should ban nude scenes for anyone under the age of 50. Now, bear with me: this is not simply a very specific kink of mine. By the age of 50, most actors have been around long enough to really know their worth. They are no longer naive waifs straight out of drama school, desperate for a credit. They will have been around the block; theyll have experienced rejection, and realised that rejection is not that bad. If a producer tried to pressure, say, Emma Thompson into a gratuitous topless scene, there is a very good chance that theyd end the conversation holding their broken teeth in their hands.

Anne Reid with Daniel Craig in The Mother. Photograph: Everett/Rex Shutterstock

It would also affect the sort of stories that got told. If only the middle-aged could do nude scenes, you could absolutely guarantee that those scenes would be vital to the script. Not vital in a Youre running from a ghost who stole all your underwear way; but in a The story would literally not work without this way. And that would force us to confront our bodies as they really are; not the buffed, sheened perfection of youth, but the bumps, wrinkles and dry patches of middle age. It might actually be healthy.

Sure, some works have experimented with older nude scenes. Pam Grier went nude for The L Word in her mid 50s. Anne Reid was in her late 60s in The Mother. Charlotte Rampling was pushing 70 when she made 45 Years. However, the fact that I had to search so hard to find these examples speaks volumes. It is not the norm by any means. So lets change things. Lets only see the naked bodies of actors aged 50 or over onscreen. It would be good for young actors. It would be good for society. And it would be good for people who have that specific kink that I definitely havent.

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