Sex scenes may be more frequent in our mainstream movies and TV shows, but unfortunately not every actress is comfortable showing off the goods. Even though some of these actresses haven’t been so camera shy in the past, they have relied on body doubles for some of their most iconic nude scenes.
10. Vera Farmiga – Up In the Air
Drama-comedy ‘Up in the Air’ stars George Clooney as corporate downsizer Ryan Bingham. Traveling the States firing people, the films follows his isolated life and philosophies and the people he meets on the way. One person is fellow frequent corporate traveller Alexandra Goran, played by Vera Farmiga. The two begin a causal relationship until Bingham falls for her and unexpectedly arrives on her doorstep, only to find she is married with children. Farmiga had a few nude scenes throughout but opted for a body double because she had just given birth before the start of filming. Explaining her reasoning, she said she did it for the audience’s sake: “The breast milk down both sides, it would have been inappropriate”.
9. Freida Pinto – The Immortals
After the enormous success of ‘300’, it was only a matter of time before another studio attempted to storm the box office with a similar sword and sandal epic. This came in the form of the 2011 film ‘The Immortals’. Henry Cavill is Theseus, a mortal chosen by Zeus to fight the evil of King Hyperion, played by Mickey Rourke. During his journey, he teams up with the oracle priestess Phaedra, played by rising star Freida Pinto. On their quest to bring an end to Hyperion, the then-abstinent oracle chooses our unlikely hero to lose her gift to. During this scene, audiences were treated to a rear shot of Pinto. Unfortunately for fans, the director chose a body double without consulting Pinto – not that we think she complained. During an interview she pointed out “People have no problem using stunt doubles…there was no actual acting in that part of the scene, so why should I be there?”
8. Jessica Alba – The Killer Inside Me
Michael Winterbottom’s controversial 2010 thriller ‘The Killer Inside Me’ stars Casey Affleck as a West Texas sheriff who is slowly unmasked as a psychotic killer. The film drew criticism for its graphic depiction of violence, most of which was directed at women. Jessica Alba co-stars as a prostitute, a surprising turn from her previous roles in more family-friendly films such as ‘The Fantastic Four’, and ‘Spy Kids 4’. Alba has numerous nude scenes, including one in which her butt is continuously slapped with a belt until it is bleeding. However, she employed a body double in a decision which surely disappointed fans who thought they would finally see her strip all the way down.
7. Brooke Shields – The Blue Lagoon
A remake of a 1949 movie bearing the same title, ‘The Blue Lagoon’ is a cheesy romantic adventure from the 80s. The story follows two young children marooned on an island in the South Pacific. With no restrictions set by society, the two explore their emotional feelings as they reach puberty and fall in love. Starring Brooke Shields, the film was critically panned but was a box office success grossing north of $58 million on a $4.5 million budget. As she was just 14 at the time of filming, Shields had two body doubles employed for her various nude scenes – one of whom broke her back and had to be replaced with the person who was originally hired as the dolphin trainer. Shields had to testify in front of a Congressional hearing that she did not appear in any nude scenes and that her breasts were covered in the topless scenes she did film.
6. Meryl Streep/Isabella Rossellini – Death Becomes Her
Robert Zemeckis released the technically challenging, screwball-fantasy-comedy ‘Death Becomes Her’ in 1992. Relying heavily on groundbreaking CGI, the film stars Meryl Streep and Goldie Hawn as two former friends who turn enemies in their pursuit of a magic potion which promises eternal youth. There are a few tasteful scenes featuring partial nudity and the same actress, Catherine Bell, was used for all shots featuring both Rossellini and Streep. Bell is perhaps our most famous body double as she’s starred in a string of successful TV series including JAG (1997 to 2005), Army Wives (2007 – 2013), and The Good Witch (2008 – 2015) as well as a bunch of guest appearances shows such as Friends.
5. Isla Fisher – The Wedding Crashers
Isla Fisher had a string of minor roles before the 2005 comedy ‘The Wedding Crashers’ gave her a breakout opportunity. Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn star as two friends who, as the title suggests, crash weddings in order to get free food and hook-up with desperate bridesmaids. However, things take a turn for the unexpected when the two are invited to a family weekend vacation. Vaughn falls for the promiscuous, emotionally unstable and nymphomaniac Gloria, played by Fisher. Despite numerous nude scenes, nothing below the neck was actually her as she believed no one would take her serious as an actress. She later backtracked on this, commenting “I feel like if you have a female comic character and you see her nipples, then she is no longer funny, which is clearly wrong but that that was my theory and that’s why I didn’t want to do it”.
4. Natalie Portman – Your Highness
After coming off a slew of successful films such as ‘Pineapple Express’ and ‘Eastbound and Down’, Danny McBride tried his hand at fantasy comedy. Set in the Kingdom of Mourne, ‘Your Highness’ sees McBride team up with James Franco to rescue damsel-in-distress Belladonna. Along the way, they team up with Isabel; a warrior seeking revenge, played by Natalie Portman. During one well-publicised scene, Portman strips down to a thong and dives into a lake to take a refreshing break. The film was shot on location in Ireland and Portman stated that she did indeed strip down but refused to jump into the lake – “I didn’t wanna jump into the water, it was really, really cold.” This statement was backed up by student-turned-body double Caroline Davis who said she was paid £250 to take the plunge.
3. Keira Knightley – Domino
Slightly based on a true story, ‘Domino’ follows the life of female bounty hunter Domino Harvey, played by Keira Knightley. During perhaps the only memorable scene of the movie, our heroine strips down to her underwear and lap dances during a Mexican standoff. Unfortunately for Knightley fans, Kiera opted to use a body double for this scene. Different to a lot of the actresses on our list, this was not due to shyness. After all, she flashed her breasts in the 2001 psychological thriller ‘The Hole’ aged just 17. In ‘Domino’, Knightley was just unconfident in her dancing ability and her ampleness. Being very open about the decision, she even commented “No, it’s definitely a body double, I don’t have that body. What a bum! I wish I had that bum! No, it was fantastic”.
2. Mila Kunis – Friends with Benefits
Generic romantic comedy ‘Friends With Benefits’ sees the pairing of Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis as a couple who believe they can keep their friendship by adding sex into the mix. In true Hollywood tradition, the two end up professing their true feelings to each and go on their first real date. Throughout the film we see Kunis’ side-boob (which is hers) but her butt is a body double. During an interview, she claimed she didn’t want to run the risk of overexposure by showing too much in front of the camera all at once. Kunis explained the audition process, claiming the aspiring actresses all attended a casting call in the presence of our lead actress, the director and makeup artists. When revealing all, they were looking for the derriere that most resembled Kunis’ body without looking too fake.
1. Julia Roberts – Pretty Woman
Julia Roberts shot to the top of the A-list after the massive success of ‘Pretty Woman’. Richard Gere stars as a wealthy businessman who hires down-on-her-luck escort and prostitute Vivian as his companion for several high profile business meetings and social functions. During the course of their relationship, the two fall head-over-heels in love. Obviously. ‘Pretty Woman’ was a huge hit at the box office (grossing over $450 million) and became the highest grossing romantic comedy in the US – a title it still holds today. Roberts became an instant star and nabbed a second Academy Award nomination. However, the performance wasn’t all just her. She had two body doubles during filming; Shelley Michelle filmed all the nude and partial-nude scenes which she was uncomfortable doing – a feat which our list has shown is not that uncommon. More bizarrely, however, is the use of a body double for the poster. Model Donna Scoggins was used for the now-infamous pose, with Roberts’ head photoshopped on.