Keira Knightley says she will only shoot sex scenes with female directors

"It’s partly vanity and also it’s the male gaze"

Keira Knightley has discussed performing under the “male gaze,” saying she only wants to shoot sex scenes with female directors in the future.

After having children, Knightley says she’s changed her stance on nude scenes, especially with male directors.

Speaking on the Chanel Connects podcast, Knightley spoke with filmmaker Lulu Wang and journalist Diane Solway about her change of mind, and why performing nude “in front of a group of men” makes her uncomfortable.


“It’s partly vanity and also it’s the male gaze,” Knightley said. “I feel very uncomfortable now trying to portray the male gaze.”

While understanding that directors sometimes need “somebody to look hot” and that many films contain “horrible sex scenes where you’re all greased up and everybody’s grunting,” the actor said that, despite the occasional value of these scenes, she doesn’t want to be the one involved.

“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 said.

“I don’t have an absolute ban,” she added of her new stance, “but I kind of do with men.”


Back in 2018, Knightley also said that she chooses not to act in films set in the present-day “because the female characters nearly always get raped”.

“With the rise of Netflix and Amazon we’re seeing some strong female characters and female stories on streaming services,” she told Variety. “I don’t know about films as much. I don’t really do films set in the modern day because the female characters nearly always get raped.”

More recently, the actor said she struggles to remember which character she played in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace

After being informed that she played Sabé, Knightley replied: “Do you know, I saw the film once. I think I was 12 when I did it and it came out and I saw it the year after. And I’ve never seen it again. So, I played Sabé and she didn’t die? Okay!”