‘Nudity riders’

Agents say #MeToo has changed how Hollywood negotiates sex scenes, but actresses remain vulnerable to abuse

(PG/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)

Hollywood agents say that #MeToo has already led to a cascade of changes in the film industry — not least of which is how actresses negotiate “nudity riders,” legal agreements that are supposed to determine what kinds of nudity can be filmed or used in a final cut. But despite a noticeable cutback in “the amount of nudity being requested,” noted attorney Jamie Feldman, who represents actresses such as Juno Temple and Gillian Jacobs, the pressure that directors and producers can exert on actresses on set remains more or less unchanged, leaving actresses vulnerable to being forced into situations where they allow more nudity than they legally were obligated to show. Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, many agents and Hollywood lawyers pointed to the alleged behavior of James Franco, who was accused of removing actresses’ protective vaginal guards while he simulated performing oral sex on them for his 2015 film The Long Home. Franco’s lawyer has denied the allegations against him.

“Where you get into trouble is where a producer or director approaches an actress directly on a set and asks for something that wasn’t negotiated,” explained Authentic Talent & Literary Management founder and CEO Jon Rubinstein. “It’s, ‘Look, the whole crew wants to go home. It’s midnight. We’re all exhausted. We just have to get this one last shot. 
The way that we’ve been doing it isn’t working. Can you drop the towel?’ Or, ‘That shirt doesn’t look right, why don’t you just lose it?’ Then suddenly you’re standing there and you’ve got 20 people waiting for you, and you go, ‘Ugh, fine.’ That happens all the time.”

Another recurring issue is what happens to footage with nudity that isn’t used for the film. While most nudity riders call for “good faith efforts” from the producers to delete the footage, representatives who spoke to THR said that such provisions were effectively impossible to enforce. Sources have alleged that Harvey Weinstein would hoard unused footage from films such as Carol, that included nude sex scenes between stars Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara. “I don’t even think it’s possible to destroy anything in the digital age,” said an insider who worked on the 2015 film. “The idea of anything being erased from existence is naive.”

Read the full story at The Hollywood Reporter.

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