Keira Knightley reveals why she will no longer film sex scenes with male directors

Keira Knightley in Colette
(Image credit: Lionsgate)

Keira Knightley has explained why she will no longer film sex scenes with male directors. 

Speaking with filmmaker Lulu Wang and producer/journalist Diane Solway on the Chanel Connects (opens in new tab) podcast, the actor revealed: "I don't have an absolute ban [on filming nude scenes], but I kind of do with men... It's partly vanity and also it's the male gaze."

Knightley, best known for appearing in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, was discussing the idea of making a film about motherhood. 

"If I was making a story that was about that journey of motherhood and body [acceptance], I feel like, I'm sorry, but that would have to be with a female film-maker," Knightley, who has two children, said.

"If it was about motherhood, about how extraordinary that body is, about how suddenly you're looking at this body that you've got to know and is your own and it's seen in a completely different way and it's changed in ways which are unfathomable to you before you become a mother, then yeah, I would totally be up for exploring that with a woman who would understand that. But I feel very uncomfortable now trying to portray the male gaze."

The actor went on to say that she can understand the artistic intent behind many sex scenes, though there are many that end up being gratuitous. "I don't want it to be those horrible sex scenes where you're all greased up and everybody is grunting. I'm not interested in doing that," she said.

"There's times where I go, 'Yeah, I completely see where this sex would be really good in this film and you basically just need somebody to look hot' [but] you can use somebody else. Because I'm too vain, and the body has had two children now, and I'd just rather not stand in front of a group of men naked."

Following the #MeToo movement, many film productions are required to hire intimacy coordinators to help actors feel comfortable on set. In 2018, HBO made it mandatory for an intimacy coordinator to be present on all series that feature sex scenes, while Sex Education was the first Netflix series to have someone in that role.

Knightley has appeared on screen in the movie Misbehaviour, about the 1970 Miss World competition. Philippa Lowthorpe acted as director. Knightley will next appear in Camille Griffin's Christmas movie, Silent Night.

Jack Shepherd
Senior Entertainment Editor

I'm the Senior Entertainment Editor here at GamesRadar+, bringing you all the latest movie and TV news, reviews, and features. Plus I look after the Total Film and SFX sections and socials media channels. I used to work at The Independent as a general culture writer before specializing in TV and film