"I feel very uncomfortable now trying to portray the male gaze," Keira Knightley said earlier this month on the CHANEL Connects podcast

By Jen Juneau
January 25, 2021 03:07 PM
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Keira Knightley
| Credit: David Parry/Getty Images

Keira Knightley likely won't be doing any "greased-up" sex scenes anytime soon — especially ones being directed by men.

In a conversation on the CHANEL Connects podcast earlier this month, the 35-year-old actress opened up about her thoughts on showing her body onscreen, and the limits she's setting for herself with male directors.

"If I was making a story … and it was about that journey of motherhood and that journey of body [acceptance] … I'm sorry, but that would have to be with a female filmmaker," said Knightley, admitting, "I don't have an absolute ban, but I kind of do with men."

"I don't want it to be those horrible sex scenes where you're all greased up and everybody's grunting. I'm not interested in doing that," she explained.

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Keira Knightley
| Credit: Ian West/PA Images via Getty

The two-time Oscar nominee, who said she was raised by a "feminist" mother, went on to share that she feels "very uncomfortable now trying to portray the male gaze."

That being 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, so therefore you can use somebody else,' " Knightley said.

She explained that as a mother of two (daughters Delilah, 16 months, and Edie, 5½), her view about how she presents her own physique onscreen now has changed.

"I'm too vain and [my] body has had two children now, and I'd just rather not stand in front of a group of men naked," Knightley said.

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Knightley has been open in the past about gender discrimination and societal standards placed on women, both in professional and personal settings — and previously shared her own positive experience in making one particular sex scene, too.

"The best sex scene I've done onscreen is the one in Atonement, on the bookshelf. It was both the best sex scene, but also [the best] to shoot," she told Vulture in 2019. "[Joe Wright] choreographed the scene within an inch of its life. ... So both me and James [McAvoy] felt utterly comfortable and not exposed, and like we could deal with it."

Knightley also told PORTER magazine last year that she believes "you have to give female filmmakers the chance to fail, because men are given that chance and then they come back and make amazing films, but female directors are not. They are expected to be perfect, right from the get-go."

"You need to have women telling their experiences, [which] don't all stop at happily ever after," she adds. "What the f--- happens after happily ever after?"