Paul Breuls, producer of The Devil's Double, the recent biopic about Saddam Hussein's son, Uday, made some curious comments regarding why he lobbied for French actress Ludivine Sagnier to play the role of Uday's hypersexual mistress, Sarrab. Breuls said:
"The role is very demanding sexually and it's difficult to find actresses who are willing to take that leap into the sexual unknown, especially in the States or in England. Ludivine Sagnier (who appeared topless in 2003's Swimming Pool) is someone who made our first short list because she's done some of the most sensual work in French film. She's uninhibited, and she's an excellent actress to boot."
First off, regarding American actresses, when I think of Kim Basinger in 9 1/2 Weeks, Lisa Bonet in Angel Heart, and Chloe Sevigny in The Brown Bunny, just to name a few, I don't think of prudish performances. I understand it's only one man's opinion, and many actresses try to avoid being pigeonholed as "that" kind of actress, but are French actresses really that much more willing to be sexually adventurous onscreen?
Secondly, does the British reputation for being reserved and that whole "stiff upper lip" thing translate to British actresses' erotic abandon, or the lack thereof, in front of the cameras? Everyone knows Helen Mirren's fondness for disrobing, and I don't think I've ever seen a Sienna Miller movie where she wasn't naked. Just because Keira Knightley, or Kate Beckinsale, or Kate Winslet, while beautiful, aren't thought of as sex kittens, doesn't mean a whole country should be branded as stiff.
British director Michael Winner doesn't think so either. He said:
"I've come across some actresses who are inhibited but I don't think British ones are particularly coy. Look at Women In Love or Vanessa Redgrave. Quite the contrary, I've had to persuade them to keep their clothes on. I had Stephanie Beacham do love scenes with Marlon Brando (The Nightcomers, 1971) and she acquitted herself very well."
Can anyone else name some examples that contradict Breuls' statement?