Another promotional piece from the distributor hunt.
"Nude scene?" those of you who have actually seen the movie may be asking yourselves, "What nude scene?"
There was some light nudity in the original script. We even shot it.
The nudity wasn't a marketing decision. Personally, I don't think nudity buys you anything anymore. Perhaps it helped back in the 'sixties and 'seventies when nudity was a relatively new phenomenon, but now I think it just limits what cable networks can show your film. In fact, market research clearly indicates that nudity and excessive language hurt films. However, this was a film about voyeurism, and it's hard to have a film on that theme without some nudity. Also, since we established that Blu felt really insulted by this thankless assignment, we needed a strong hook to get him to stay and watch the tapes. We felt the prospect of seeing a naked woman would motivate him to do so. The first bedroom scene was just a tease. The real nudity came halfway through the film when they got to the second angle in the bedroom.
As I said in an earlier blog, Rebecca Mader wasn't overjoyed about doing any nudity, but she was a true professional and did what the script demanded. However, it was all spelled out very precisely in her contract. She would remove her top, but she wasn't to be seen in that state of undress for more than three-and-a-half seconds. Now that should have been seen as a problem from the very start. In the script, when the Belinda Brown character starts stripping, the off-camera television room quickly fills up with guys very interested in the show. Not only do they hit to slo-mo button on the VCR, they back up the scene and watch it again with much commentary. Three-and-a-half seconds suddenly turned into twenty-eight seconds.
So Lee calls Rebecca's agent. He says, "We have a problem. The contract says Rebecca can only be seen topless for three-and-a-half seconds, but it took her six seconds to remove her top and exit frame." "No problem," says the agent, "if it took her six seconds to do it, you got six seconds." "Thanks," says Lee, "but we have another problem." "Really?" "Yeah," Lee explains, "You've got to remember the context of the scene. It's late at night. The detectives are guys. And here's this beautiful woman. So, you know, they'd watch it more than once, and probably hit the slo-mo button too." Silence. Then... "How much time are we talking?" "Twenty-eight seconds...." "Twenty-eight seconds!" the agent exclaimed, "No way. You get your six seconds and that's it."
Then Lee, the true artist, emerged. "Look, it would be completely out of character for these detectives to see a naked woman without backing it up and watching it again," he reasoned. "If they can't back it up and play it again, we're not going to use the nudity at all!"
How about that for artistic integrity!
Without missing a beat, the agent said, "Okay." He was fine with that.
Hence, no nudity.
Personally, I'm fine with that too. Rebecca didn't really want to do it, so I'm glad we didn't use it. Plus, even if she did want to do it, I would have had a problem. There's always a price to pay for things like that.
I took my sainted Grandmother Murphy to see the film during its limited theatrical run. Every time my grandmother heard a word she didn't like, I'd get a bony elbow in my side. Granted, I didn't write most of the things my grandmother objected to, but try telling that to her! Lord only knows what would have happened if Rebecca took off her top in the film. My grandmother probably would have hit me with her umbrella. And she didn't even have it with her. That's right. She would have gone home, gotten her umbrella, then came back and hit me with it.
So thank you Mr. Agent, where ever you are!
Me with my sainted grandmother
Margaret Angie Robertson Murphy