Amber Heard is being sued by the producers of London Fields for a cool $10 million, because she 'conspired' with director Mathew Cullin to edit out a bunch of her nude and/or sex scenes. And, in a way, I really hope she wins.
Let's just think on it for a moment.
Firstly, if you were being filmed with your norks out, and it was due to be seen by millions of people, would you want to have a quick look to check you're okay with how said norks are portrayed? Of course you would. Secondly, if said shots of norks made you feel vulnerable and uncomfortable, and that possibly the film might just survive without your norks, would you have a chat with the person responsible for what goes on the big screen? Come on, you absolutely would.
Yes, her contractual obligations stated that a nude scene was going to happen. And when it comes to contract, editing out her nude scenes without the approval of producers is quite clearly a breach. The big bosses are, unfortunately, well within their rights to sue her.
However, does this make it okay? Despite knowing that, legally, this is all above board, I still am absolutely siding with Amber. Because this isn't just about a contract, it's about the TV and movie industry's growing obsession with female nudity.
Nude female bodies essentially equal high-end, classy, edgy viewing at the mo. Game of Thrones should be called Game of Boobs. New, ultra-sophisticated Sky Atlantic offering Westworld should be called Breastworld. In Hollywood (more like Boobwood, amiright?), around 18% of films have women as two of the top three speaking parts, but you can bet your bare ass that female nudity is three times more likely to happen than male nudity.
I want her to win this. I don't want films to be successful because a famous girl showed her boobs.
Women, hey? Mostly silent, never knowingly not with their boobs out.
I've barely acted in a few things (namely a Rowntree's advert, a part in a sitcom nobody saw, and another advert that got pulled three days after it was released) and I've still been asked to get nude ('You can pull the duvet up over your boobs'. OH THANKS), wear sexy lingerie (I asked my agent if I had at least one good line, and they said no and advised me not to take the part) and told to 'bend over in a sexy way' so a male co-star can say 'That's it Nancy, just like that' in a weird breathy voice. This is coming from someone who has barely acted.
A friend of mine, who acts regularly, has played a nude rape victim, a girl in a sitcom who is nude in a bath and once had to wear a crop top without warning. That last one sounds pretty tame, but imagine having to go to your next party in a crop top and, because you weren't told, you ate shedloads of pizza the night before. And there are tens of thousands of people there, looking specifically at your stomach. Not that nice, right?
I did a quick poll to see if my actress friends would want final approval if they'd done a nude scene. The overwhelming response was 'Nah, I'm cool with it'. I'm joking, of course - every single one of them was stridently for it.
'Too often, I feel like a bit of meat,' said one, who doesn't want to be named in case she never works again. Another added: 'It's seen as unprofessional to want to look at the monitor, or you appear really vain if you want to check how you looked on screen. Being in the edit is sort of unheard of, but if it was an option, I'd 100% want to make sure I was happy with it.'
Yet another added: 'She is absolutely in breach of contract, but we're not talking about finances, or refusing to go on set. We're talking about a woman who got naked and had sex on screen then felt like she didn't want to get naked and have sex. It's a much more complex issue than a contract makes it seem.'
'I don't want films to be successful because a famous girl showed her boobs. I want actresses to be allowed to have some form of power over their own bodies.'
And that's the point. No, I'm not saying nudity isn't a part of acting, and we should rail against every naked scene. Sometimes it's necessary - even in Game of Boobs - but we should be at least attempting to straddle the line between professionalism and a person wanting to make sure their nude body is presented to the general public in a way that doesn't make them feel bad.
Actresses going into a nude scene have signed up to do it. Amber Heard knew what she was in for. But if her and the director had a good chat and decided the film was alright without her norks - should suing be the answer? It smacks of a studio devastated that they won't get the 'Amber Heard gets her tits out' headlines, because imagine the amount of people who'd go see that film just for those?
While I totally get that money needs to be made, I want her to win this. I don't want films to be successful because a famous girl showed her boobs. I want actresses to be allowed to have some form of power over their own bodies, and for contracts to take into account that, in the end, Amber's just a living, breathing human who sometimes doesn't want to get naked. And that should be okay.