America is the best country in the world and, as we move into this Labor Day weekend, we can look back at all we have to be thankful for. However, before you pat yourself on the back and turn up the national anthem while driving in your Honda Accord, there is a cloud in the sky and it is dark and dreadful. It threatens to swallow us whole and undermine the very fabric of our way of life. What is it, you ask?
More and more, Americans are losing the opportunity to be naked on the screen. On the heels of the controversy of actress Lena Headey’s much publicized naked Walk of Penance and its subsequent banning by the Croatian Film Commission, never has the situation been so dire for American actors and actresses. Game of Thrones, Spartacus, Outlander and even in shows like Ray Donovan, Boardwalk Empire, True Blood, the list goes on and on. Producers no longer have faith in American actors and actresses to get naked. Oh, sure, Beverly Lynne will gladly show her breasts to anyone with bus fare but her drawing power is less than if you asked NCIS Los Angeles star Linda Hunt to do a nude scene. Either foreign actors and actresses are exhibitionists or Julia Roberts has seriously screwed up the psyche of the American thespian.
The shy Roberts, who refused to do nudity, once requested that, during a sequence in Flatliners where she was wet and in her underwear, totally unrelated, the crew strip down to their skivvies while she filmed the scene. Being Julia Roberts, it was either that or hanging out with her brother Eric Roberts for an entire weekend and listen to him moan that he could have been “more popular than Michael Madsen.”
Sharon Stone tried valiantly and was once Queen of the world, but could not hold of the horde of French starlets doffing their clothes faster than an Italian prime minister can find himself under investigation for ethics violations. It has been the Australian and New Zealand actors and actresses in recent years that have gave even the French a run for their money. Mix in the British and Scottish and British commonwealth may no longer be nation builders but they are sure as getting a lot of hits on the internet.
Even American male pride is at a new low point. Spartacus saw that and Game of Thrones is only increasing the pressure. In Spartacus, actors like Manu Bennett left nothing to interpret and made more than one man say, “Damn, I wish I was from New Zealand.” With tight abs, muscles galore and butts so tight you could kill someone bouncing quarters off them, the American actor had his work cut out for him. They made it cool to be from a place 99% of Americans probably thought was “one of them middle east countries.”
Of course, the rise of shows like Game of Thrones has been beneficial. Even though, when it comes time for someone to get naked on film, the job will more often than not go to an Australian or New Zealand actor. If there are none of them available, they get an English actor/actress. If a producer is really desperate, then they will dig into the Irish barrel. In spite of this, Americans have been learning all about different countries. Without Lena Headey stripping off her clothes to walk naked through town, would any of us have known that Croatia is a Catholic country or it has a town named Dubronik?
Lena Headey just taught you more than any of your high school teachers, probably.