According to The Hollywood Reporter, the actress divulged why on a new episode of the Chanel Connects podcast, explaining more about the “no nudity clause” she had added to her film contracts after giving birth to her first child in 2015. She said that she views the male gaze as a problem in sex scenes, and that she doesn’t want to take part “in those horrible sex scenes where you’re all greased up and everybody is grunting. I’m not interested in doing that.”
“I don’t have an absolute ban [on filming nude scenes], but I kind of do with men,” Knightley said. “It’s partly vanity and also it’s the male gaze.” She added, “Saying that, 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. 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.”
She is also looking to work on more projects helmed by women directors—ones that deal with themes innate to the female experience, like motherhood or body acceptance.
“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 filmmaker,” Knightley 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.”
Knightley recently appeared in the comedy-drama film Misbehaviour and will star in the forthcoming Christmas comedy Silent Night alongside Roman Griffin Davis and Matthew Goode.