Nudity Clause Becoming Standard In Television Work

Jan 24, 2012
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The nudity clause, once required only in movies, is suddenly becoming a standard part of TV work. The pressure on young actresses to sign can be tremendous — and it’s not just on cable anymore.

Behind every boob shot and flash of bare buttocks is a hard working entertainment lawyer.

The lawyer is usually the one to negotiate Hollywood’s most awkward legal agreement the nudity clause.

“The nudity rider spells out exactly what an actor agrees to do in a role: partial nudity, full frontal nudity — even simulated sex,” LA attorney Brian J. Murphy says.

The document — usually about one page — can be extremely detailed.

It typically includes which body parts can be shown, from which angle and for how long.

The nudity clause — once a rarity on TV — is becoming, if not standard, an everyday part of contract negotiations.

And it’s starting to show…

Kristen Bell, who came to fame 10 years ago as a crime-solving high school student on “Veronica Mars,” agreed to work in a bra and panties — but not the Full Monty — in the new sex-filled Showtime drama “House of Lies.” She’s now 31.

Shows like NBC’s “Playboy Club” negotiated detailed nudity riders with key actors to cover scenes filmed for DVD or overseas use.

“You have to be careful not to put yourself in a position where you might be taken advantage of,” says 19 year-old Vanessa Marano of ABC Family’s “Switched at Birth.”

“Especially if you are not a series regular and you are just a woman going in for a guest spot on cable, they will expect you to take it off. I did ‘Dexter,’ and there were people naked everywhere on that. I was safe because I was underage, but if I were older, my clothes would have probably had to come off. ”

Bare breasts and simulated sex have been essential ingredients on pay cable shows like “The Sopranos,” “Sex and the City” and “Californication” for years.

But now the four broadcast networks may soon be able to show a lot more skin in prime time, depending on whether the US Supreme Court decides the FCC can no longer regulate against “indecency” — a vague term that can cover anything from a fleeting F-bomb to a deliberate flash of a backside.”

The networks — which have been consistently losing ground to cable, which is unregulated, in the ratings ­— have been complaining for years about the two-standard system.

No matter. The ruling has pushed the issue of pressure on actors to strip down to get the part to the front burner.

Shonda Rhimes — creator of “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Private Practice” — insists nobody is forced to disrobe on her steamy ABC shows.

“We will write in a love scene, and if somebody says ‘I want to do this love scene while wearing a turtleneck and snow pants,’ we will say ‘fine,’ ” she tells The Post.

“If somebody wants to do it completely naked, that is great, too.”

John Wells, producer of the sexually charged Showtime series “Shameless,” is less flexible.

“We are very clear [upfront] that nudity will be required,” he says. “We don’t hire actors who tell us they are not comfortable doing it.”

But Wells may not be able to fire any of his stars for refusing to strip down.

“The performer has the right to refuse to do [nudity] once they have agreed to do it,” says Screen Actors Guild rep Elizabeth Moseley.

“Basically, it is not binding. If the performer changes their mind, the producer (only) has the right to use a body double.”

From NY Post

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