“I think nudity for the sake of nudity is shameful,” says former Neighbours Australian starlet Margot Robbie who, as it happens, takes her kit off in the new film that is wowing American audiences: The Wolf of Wall Street, starring Leonardo di Caprio, directed by Martin Scorsese.
But tell me, is nudity for the sake of landing the Big Role just as shameful…or a case of suffering for one’s art?
This is what Margot’s principled agent told her: “If there’s ever going to be a time for nudity, this is the director you do it with”.
Or of course, put another way, “If you truly want to be famous Margot, don’t blow it: take yer f**kin’ clothes off girl”.
The first time I read this kind of rationalising bollocks, I was aged fifteen and reading the William Hickey column in the good old Sunday Express. It was 1963, and Hickey was doing some prelease PR on the soon-to-be-released movie Cleopatra, starring Elizabeth Taylor. Taylor’s co-star and lover Richard Burton was asked about the nude scenes in the epic, and told Hickey, “The scenes of her on a day-bed are absolutely stunning, but they work in the context of a story about temptation…”. Well quite.
Fast forward now to 1982, when my first wife and I went to a performance at the Duke of York’s Theatre of JP Donleavy’s The Beastly Beatitudes of Balthazar B. There was some nudity in this little number too, in that the character Beefy (played by Simon Callow) bounced onstage at one point, his flaccid penis wobbling up and down as he did so. Even then, Simon had an historically pot belly. I will say only this: the occasion of his entrance stage left was – while dramatic and justified – about as sexually arousing as Harriet Harman taking part in a sack race.
This is Margot Robbie in a scene from the movie:
I wonder at what point in the development of Homo sapiens – and it will be, trust me, a tipping point in favour of sincerity – it might be possible for real people to observe, “We’re seeing her tits because male audiences want to see tits, and press releases about nudity being justified sell cinema tickets based entirely on gratuitous expectancy. So FFS stop drivelling on about artistic justification and make your mind up whether you want to be a serious actress or a sex symbol.”
I have never seen the tits belonging to Helen Mirren, Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Eileen Atkins, or Penelope Keith. I suspect there is a reason for this: they have more confidence in their intrinsic (and obvious) talent than Margot Robbie.
I realise this view will be condemned as fuddy-duddy, old-fashioned, and that of an old bloke who can’t get it up any more. But that will not render it any less accurate.
If you want to know what real misogyny is, then think of it as hypocrisy…..with added wank. I still make passes at women I find funny, interesting and attractive. What I don’t do is tell them I can get them into pictures.