There are some actresses who start out their careers making compromises and showing more than they want to in order to become famous (let’s face it: the industry can be pretty male-oriented). Then there are the actresses who are already famous, having starred in popular or critically-acclaimed movies, but decide to go topless anyway. Perhaps they equate nudity with an Oscar nomination, or maybe they just want to flaunt it while they can (these actresses do look like superhumans, after all). Either way, here are seven actresses who could have kept their clothes on, because going nude did absolutely nothing for their careers.
Kristen Stewart is a household name. Besides the throngs of Twilight fans, she’s been a Hollywood regular since playing Jodie Foster’s daughter in Panic Room. After stepping out of her comfort zone to play Joan Jett and an action-hero version of Snow White, the world knew she was destined for great things. So it seemed completely unnecessary when she went topless in On the Road. This was arguably her most literary piece of work, so maybe she thought she was giving to her craft. But if she didn’t even get naked for her role as a stripper in Welcome to the Rileys, there was really no reason she had to in the Jack Kerouac adaptation.
After starring in The Princess Diaries, Anne Hathaway was primed to be America’s sweetheart. As if the very thought made her want to hurl, she tried to throw that image out the window with Havoc, in which she plays a rich, spoiled California high school student who dabbles in a little gang activity. The scene where she goes topless is when she’s in bed with a street gang member and realizes she might have gone too far. However, it’s another scene that might go down in history: when she grinds on her white thug boyfriend while singing 2Pac’s “How Do You Want It?” I would bet my life savings that this was the role Hathaway wants everyone to forget.
Like Hathaway, Keira Knightley was headed in a wholesome direction relatively early in her career and even scored an Oscar nomination for 2006’s Pride & Prejudice, but she too grew restless. She had to make Domino. The biopic about real-life model turned bounty hunter Domino Harvey tanked, but maybe that’s a good thing because that means few people saw the actress’s embarrassing lap dance scene and topless sex scene. And this was all after Knightley went topless early in her career in The Hole. All the hard work that Bend It Like Beckham did to undo her less-than-wholesome image was also undone.
Halle Berry was already building a promising career when she went topless briefly for 2001’s Swordfish. In the context of the film, it seems a little out of left field, but if it helped to pave the way for Monster’s Ball, in which she has a more extended nude scene, then so be it. That movie made Berry the first African-American female ever to win the best actress Academy Award, which more than likely made any temporary on-set embarrassment worthwhile.
Dawson’s Creek put Katie Holmes on the map as the ultimate girl next door. Like so many actresses before and after her, she just couldn’t wait to shed that image. In 1998, she played a more provocative version of Joey Potter in Disturbing Behavior, but it wasn’t until 2000 that she went fully topless in the flop thriller The Gift, which starred some big names like Cate Blanchett, Keanu Reeves and Greg Kinnear. The movie did very little for her career, as did the topless scene.
You couldn’t ask for a better career start than Natalie Portman‘s — she burst onto the scene in the cult classic Léon: The Professional, went on to work with both Robert De Niro and Al Pacino in Heat, and scored a major franchise with George Lucas‘ Star Wars reboot. So why did she go and get naked in Hotel Chevalier (even if it is a charming and stylish Wes Anderson short film with a great soundtrack)? And not just any old regular naked, but the elusive full bottom. It seems like the Oscar-winning actress has a penchant for mooning the camera, as she also showed her bum — although partially, in thongs — in Closer and Your Highness.
Last but not least, there’s Lindsay Lohan. After so many revealing outfits and a nude editorial in New York Magazine, Lohan going nude in Machete and The Canyons was a bit like watching LeBron James play a basketball player in a movie. It felt like we had already seen it before and not at all a stretch for the actress. In fact, she practically plays herself in The Canyons, about a shady movie producer who makes amateur pornos with his spoiled wannabe-actress girlfriend. I wouldn’t be surprised if she volunteered to play the leading role in a made-for-TV movie about herself next.