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10 Risqué Film Performances From Superstar Actors
The very best of those who dare to bare.
Removing your clothes to get ahead at work is something we’ve all had to do at one time or another. The difference is when we here at WhatCulture.com go topless just because it’s tuesday, our image isn’t sent around the world to be viewed in movie theatres by thousands upon thousands of strangers (Although between you and me, there are some who wouldn’t mind that).
It is all the more impressive then, when the mega stars of today decide to kit off for a particularly juicy role – or for that matter a particularly banal role too. It just seems some of them like to go commando as gratuitously as possible and some do it for the purity of the film and their admirable commitment to the part. Inevitably, the end result is the same, we get a cheap thrill – which are often the best kinds of thrill – and the movie makes a few million more dollars at the box office.
You should be in no fear that this list will be dominated by the ultra beautiful women to have graced our screens over the past twenty or thirty years, although there are some because the internet strangely doesn’t focus on male movie starts taking there clothes off. Well, not as much anyway. The gentlemen are here in force too, equally as risqué and willing to bear all in the name of art. It is a rather different definition of risqué however.
With that suitable warning, let’s take a look at the top ten risqué performances from superstar actors…
10. Christina Ricci (Black Snake Moan, 2006)
Christina Ricci has dropped off the proverbial radar of late, leaving most of the larger film roles of her past behind. From the darkest darling Wednesday Addams in The Addams Family (1991) and The Addams Family Values (1993) through to the steamy Sleepy Hollow (1999) with Johnny Depp; it was arguably 2006s Black Snake Moan that showed Christina Ricci’s true potential as an actor and incredible co-star.
If you have missed Black Snake Moan, it is a film that you owe it to yourself to see. Samuel L. Jackson takes the leading role as Lazarus the retired Blues musician, opposite Ricci’s Rae Doole – a southern sex addict with the insatiable appetite that usually accompanies the condition. The nymphomaniac Rae finds herself in Lazarus’ care – not entirely of her own free will – in a tale that explores sexuality and how we can defeat our own inner demons and addictions.
Unfortunately for Doole, Lazarus is as his namesake suggests a godly man, and his cure for her nymphomania begins by chaining her to a radiator in his house, punctuated by the thundering heartbeat of a fantastic blues soundtrack. The gorgeous cinematography, combined with intensely powerful performances make Black Snake Moan the perfect exploration of the dark side of human sexuality.
If that isn’t enough of a recommendation, Justin Timberlake is in it too for some reason…
9. Sacha Baron Cohen And Ken Davitian (Borat, 2006)
Sacha Baron Cohen is extremely well known for a few good reasons, a few bad ones, and a bizarre one. The good reasons are quite easy to cover. As shown in films such as Tim Burton’s Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street (2007) and Tom Hooper’s Les Miserablé (2012) Sacha Baron Cohen has acting chops that would make most A-listers quake in their delicate chelsea boots and heels. We would be remiss if we were not to point out that beyond these most well known of roles, Cohen has been in Madagascar one through three, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, Talladega Nights, and the award winning Hugo as well.
Not only is he an excellent writer and comedian, but his biggest leap in fame and popularity probably came about through what most would call a “bad reason” for being extremely well known. His own series of movies have a rather different approach to the Hollywood flicks where Cohen truly stretches his acting patois. Borat: Cultural Learnings Of America Make Benefit Glorious Nation Of Kazakhstan, Bruno, Ali G, and most recently The Dictator are all unique to say the least.
However, nudity and the embarrassment that causes most people is something Cohen has never shied away from. In Borat: CLOAMBGNOK a scene between Borat and his manager Azamat (Ken Davitian) is the single strangest incident of on screen nudity known. Risqué it most certainly is, although not in the way we usually like.
This is a clip that really must be seen to be understood, you can find a link on youtube.
Finally, the bizarre reason Cohen is well known is that this graduate of Christ’s College, Cambridge, comedic genius, philanthropist and multimillionaire is married to renowned beauty and scintillating intellectual Isla Fisher. Perhaps then, not so bizarre and simply jealousy on our part…
8. Jason Segel (Forgetting Sarah Marshall, 2008)
Jason Segel is quickly becoming a world famous Superstar with undeniable credentials. Between his string of roles as the leading man in Hollywood films he has written, his work reviving The Muppets and his role as Marshall in the record breaking series How I Met Your Mother, Segel certainly has the background that would mean he doesn’t need to get undressed to get ahead. It was clearly something of his own choice then when he bared all in 2008s Forgetting Sarah Marshall – even more so when we consider the fact that Segel wrote the screenplay himself, as well as taking the lead role.
The reveal in question comes at a particularly traumatic moment in the emotional tapestry of the film. Segel finds he is suddenly and irrevocably single, as the titular Sarah Marshall decides they are better off apart. Segel is overcome with emotion, letting the towel he is using to cover his modesty fall, leaving Marshall’s member in plain view.
Even though it seems slightly unnecessary, and perhaps is a prime example of nudity for nudities sake, the first viewing plays out perfectly. The shock factor provides a huge amount of mirth to an otherwise bleak scene in such a lighthearted story which deals with such a dark context to find the comedy.
Self imposed risqué is risqué enough for us, and Segel’s naked helicopter dance makes this list without question.
7. Amanda Seyfried (Lovelace, 2013)
The name Linda Lovelace conjures many different memories for many different people. As the first superstar porn actress, she changed the face of adult entertainment across the latter half of the 20th Century. There will be no surprise to learn that the inevitable film about her rise to stardom arrived last year with Amanda Seyfried at the helm, directed by both Jeffrey Friedman and Rob Epstein.
The eponymous Lovelace was certainly not a box office smash, with an production budget of $10 million and grosses of only $1,563,370, the film was unfortunately a complete failure financially. Artistically, the verdict is slightly better, with Seyfried and Peter Sarsgaard dealing admirably with the subject matter and providing strong performances. The script, however, lacks the depth to really live up to the fascinating real life subject upon which it is based and so overall the movie falls short of the hopes we all had.
More specifically, Amanda Seyfried (who’s previous performances include Mamma Mia, Les Miserable, In Time, Red Riding Hood, Mean Girls, A Million Ways To Die In The West – the list really does go on and on) gives a stellar performance to a role many in Hollywood would have turned down without even reading the script. To play one of the pornstars of the past, who was made truly famous by staring in a film called “Deepthroat” is an extremely risky proposition and it is to her credit that she is included as a risqué performance, and not a career ending movie.
6. Michael Fassbender (Shame, 2011)
Michael Fassbender is the Irish-German hunk currently revelling in his role as Magneto in the X-Men series. Being chosen to play a young Ian Mckellen is certainly an accolade enough and quite a sign of trust in Fassbender’s abilities as a leading man – built upon his stellar performances in 12 Years A Slave, Prometheus, Inglourious Basterds, 300 and Frank to name but a handful of the many and varied roles he has mastered.
An honourable mention must be given to Steve McQueen’s Hunger, in which Fassbender takes the title role of Sands. Although there are some risqué scenes, they are all distressing and emotionally powerful. Fassbender plays the part of Bobby Sands, an inmate of Long Kesh Prison in County Antrim, Ireland, who starved himself for sixty six straight days in an attempt to be recognised as a political prisoner along with his fellow irishmen arrested during The Troubles, the conflict between the British Government and Irish activists. A hugely complex and still raw political subject, it should suffice to say that this is a film you must see. To credit the depth and power this film displays, ten full minutes lapse before a single word is uttered on screen, and it is a perfect choice.
Back onto happier (relatively) thoughts, Michael Fassbender appeared in the British drama also cowritten and directed by Steve McQueen Shame. Shame is a darker than most entry compared to the others on this list, but stands out as different take on the exploration of the sex addict than previous entry Black Snake Moan and this time features a male going strong in the risqué role. Handled with aplomb and certainly worth the watch if you feel strong enough, Shame is risqué in all the wrong ways we love to see.
5. Phoebe Cates (Fast Times At Ridgemont High, 1982)
This is, for many of us, where risqué all began. Phoebe Cates – appearing in Judge Reinhold’s masturbation fantasy in the classic of classic films Fast Times At Ridgemont High (1982), was a heart stopping surprise to every young boy with a betamax player, or if you were lucky a VHS. Did you know that if you repeatedly pause a VHS tape in the same place, the tape becomes worn and everyone knows where you have been pausing the film? Some of us here at WhatCulture were extremely surprised to learn that back in the late eighties. Extremely surprised.
Regardless, that does not stop this scene being one of the most lauded scenes of all time, in a daringly risqué role at the time for a young actress to make. Phoebe Cates, although having gone nude in a smaller feature before Fast Times At Ridgemont High which was also released in 1982 was defined by Rolling Stone magazine as having performed “the most memorable bikini-drop in cinema history”.
The teen sex comedy genre has certainly had it’s high and low points in the last thirty five years, and has received a huge amount of criticism from conservative quarters around the globe. This single scene, however, is quite probably the highest of the high points
If you have never seen Fast Times At Ridgemont High, then what on earth have you been doing since 1982?
(Also watch The Breakfast Club.)
4. Ken Jeong (The Hangover Part One, 2009)
Kendrick Kang-Joh Jeong, better known as Ken Jeong is an American actor, comedian and licensed physician. Yes, the man arriving in fourth place in the risqué performances article is a real doctor who could treat you at a hospital in the state of California – were he still practicing of course. Which makes it all the stranger that he is famous for accepting any part of a role and being extremely willing to bare all for a role, even if the role doesn’t call for it according to some unconfirmed sources out there.
In The Hangover Part One, Jeong plays the gangster Leslie Chow with a charisma that few of the main actors can match (a probable exception being Zach Galifianakis). There are very, very few entrances that can match Ken Jeong’s entrance to the Hangover series. If you have ever seen an actor first appear on screen by bursting out of the trunk of a car, leaping six feet vertically in the air, naked, and wrapping his legs around a co-stars head whilst simultaneously beating them with a crowbar, then you are in an extremely fortuitous position.
For the uninitiated, you’re welcome : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T_CUV0Er7EE
3. Sharon Stone (Basic Instinct, 1992)
Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct. This is an entry that really needs no introduction. If you have not seen the film yourself you are certainly aware of the scene in question that allows Stone’s entrance so highly on this list. It was for the longest time and often still is synonymous with smouldering sex appeal, and the attraction of a powerful woman.
Stone’s performance is breathtaking. Her ability to hold a room full of grown men to ransom through nothing more than wit and raw sex appeal is not only fascinating to watch but undeniably sexy too.
This scene, and this role is easily the most famous of all the entries on this list, and is so culturally universal that if you haven’t seen the film in question, here is the scene hosted at the International Games Network (http://uk.ign.com/videos/2011/07/14/basic-instinct-the-leg-cross); which goes a long way to show why this role, this scene and this film has rated so highly on our list of risqué performances. It is everywhere.
2. Jennifer Aniston (We’re The Millers/ Horrible Bosses, 2013/2011)
Jennifer Aniston has certainly come a long long way from the Rachel Green of our late nineties and early two thousands. What allows her such a high position on this list is not only the nature of the promiscuous roles she has taken, after all, Aniston has never been one to shy away from using her beauty and sexual attraction for effect in a performance. It is the great distance she has had to travel to reach this point.
From having the confidence to go braless on the set of friends back in the late nineties, through to performing a full impromptu striptease to save her “family” from the mob in We’re The Millers (2013), Aniston has certainly being willing to push the boundaries a little more with every role. For a woman of forty-five to still command that kind of male attention from all age brackets is certainly not progressive, but it is incredibly impressive.
The reason Aniston has managed to grab two entries into the penultimate position on this list is a very simple reason indeed. The fact of the matter is, both of these films are worth watching simply because of the things Jennifer Aniston does in them. The woman wields sex appeal like it is a weapon and we would not have it any other way.
In common with the femme fatale to take prime position in this list, Aniston has had a slice of the sexiest man alive, Brad Pitt, which leads us on to…
1. Angelina Jolie (Gia, 1998)
Angelina Jolie. Could it be any other? Although arguments could rage for weeks and months to decide who should truly occupy the sexiest woman in the world slot, this list deals with those actors and actresses willing to make a risky role risqué. Which is something Jolie does with an unbridled enthusiasm that would give a heart attack to most elderly gentlemen, not to mention the ladies.
From her passionate love scenes which occupy the space of legend (Antonio Banderas fans should also take note, appearing with Jolie in Original Sin), through to the film that occupies this space Gia (1998) Angelina Jolie takes risqué roles and then makes them explode. She provides sultry sex appeal whenever it suits her without stretching the role or making the sex appeal a distasteful addition unnecessary to the film.
Angelina Jolie is the master (or rather, mistress) of risqué and so, she takes the top spot of our top ten risqué performances from superstar actors.
If you think we’ve missed the very best, or have gotten our order completely wrong let us know who’s your number one in the comments!