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Elizabeth Olsen: Why nudity is a risk worth taking

It’s the question every actor has to face: Will you get naked in front of the camera?

That seems to be an important boundary in the world of entertainment, since nudity provides some vital moments for characters in film. After all, what would Basic Instinct be without Sharon Stone’s open-legged interview scene? And Brokeback Mountain wouldn’t have been Brokeback Mountain if Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger hadn’t been willing to go for it.

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Actress Elizabeth Olsen understands the significance of this decision. In fact, it’s something she’s clearly thought a lot about.

In a new interview with Net-A-Porter’s digital magazine, The Edit, Olsen says she was inspired by the careers of leading ladies like Kate Winslet and Cate Blanchett, who have both taken some risky roles.

“I remember watching Holy Smoke and thinking that it was so reassuring to see a young Kate doing something that was so bold in so many ways,” Olsen explained. “I thought to myself, ‘OK, so it doesn’t destroy your career if you appear nude or take risks,’ because not everyone in my family and group of friends thought it was the best idea to be naked in a movie. There are actresses young and old who have decided never to do that, and they become those examples people talk to you about… [But] there are times when I like to do it. You want that voyeuristic quality, but I never feel I have to be nude — and you won’t ever see me in a beauty shot in a bikini on a beach. That’s a character I will never play.”

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Olsen has appeared nude in a few films so far: 2013’s Oldboy and 2011’s Martha Marcy May Marlene. She also played the role of a demure young lady who discovers love and sex for the first time in 2013’s In Secret.

So whether you agree with Olsen’s decision to bare it all or not, I think we can all agree that it’s refreshing to hear she has put some serious thought into her decision. And she’s doing these scenes because it furthers her character and the story she’s telling, not for some gratuitous reason to show off her body.

Do you think Elizabeth Olsen’s justification for getting nude in film is a good reason?

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