The Controversial Nude Scene The Skin Director Was Surprised They Could Discuss On Screen

Star 80

Nudity on film is always a somewhat controversial topic. Some actors are unwilling to bare all on screen. Sometimes, when others decide to do it it can make headlines. The new documentary film Skin: A History of Nudity in the Movies will take on the topic of screen nudity in a way that we've rarely seen before, and in doing so the new film was able to get some actors to talk about their on-screen nudity in a way they never have before. This includes Mariel Hemingway, who famously disrobed for Bob Fosse's Star 80.

Recently, CinemaBlend had the chance to speak with Skin director Danny Wolf and he told us that even he was surprised what actors the new documentary was able to speak with, and what topics they were willing to cover. Wolf mentions several controversial nude scenes that the movie will deal with, including the infamous male nudity in Borat and the rape-revenge film I Spit On Your Grave, but beyond even those Wolf was shocked that Mariel Hemingway was willing to speak about her portrayal of Playboy centerfold Dorthy Stratten, in the controversial Star 80. According to Wolf...

I like a documentary… [where] you never know who’ll pop up next. How cool is it that you wouldn’t expect Kristine DeBell from Alice in Wonderland to pop up, or Camille Keaton from I Spit on Your Grave. Or Ken Davitian from Borat. These people all did interesting, talked-about, controversial nude scenes in their movies, and I think those are the stories, and those are the people, that make this documentary interesting. It’s not just who you expect to see. It’s, ‘Oh my gosh, I can’t believe they got that person.’ Or, ‘Oh wow, Mariel Hemingway is actually going to talk about her nudity in Star 80.’ Which has been a controversial topic for years, and here she is addressing it.

Star 80 tells the story of Dorthy Stratten, who was murdered at the age of 20 by her boyfriend, Paul Snider, played in the film by Eric Roberts. The movie and the nudity within it were controversial for several reasons. Primarily because the film, as one might expect considering the subject matter, is incredibly dark and violent. It's one thing to see nudity on film in a sex comedy where everything is portrayed as light and fun but some of the scenes in Star 80 where Mariel Hemingway is naked are quite violent.

Mariel Hemingway made headlines for appearing naked in both Star 80 and Personal Best. in the early 1980s. The actress reportedly had breast enlargement surgery prior to the films, which (while the actress has previously denied these things were connected) was also somewhat controversial because this was the '80s.

Check out the trailer for Skin below.

Skin: The History of Nudity in the Movies is certainly showing that it is trying to be an all-encompassing documentary by not just covering the moments in film that we all find fun or sexy, but also covering the darker uses of nudity, which potentially can make us all think about the entire practice of using nudity on screen in an entirely new way.

Skin: The History of Nudity in the Movies arrives on VOD on August 18.

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.