Skip to Main Content

What is a nudity clause?

Television film camera. Stock photo by Getty Images

At some point in your acting career, you may land a role that requires some nudity. Many actors keep a nudity clause in their contracts that details how much skin, if any, they’ll show on stage or screen.

Don’t worry if you don’t have your own nudity clause. Doffing your clothes doesn’t mean ditching your rights. You’re protected by strict union guidelines through the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA). Under its 2013-2015 Independent Production Agreement (IPA), actors still retain strict control over their nude appearances

Auditions

You must be notified in advance if the role requires any nudity or simulated sexual activity.

You can’t be asked to disrobe at the first audition. You may be asked to appear semi- or fully nude at a later audition, but you don’t have to perform. This audition, sometimes called the modesty test, is to gauge how comfortable you are in the nude and to look for any scars or tattoos that might need extensive makeup work.

If you are auditioning in the nude, there is a limit on who can attend. A maximum of five people affiliated with the production can be there, and they must have a clear “professional or artistic relationship” to the show and to your audition. The actor can bring a friend, family member or agent along if they choose and ACTRA may send someone to monitor the audition as well.

Any nude audition can’t be filmed, photographed or otherwise recorded without your permission.

You’re only required to perform one nude audition.

The contract

If you’re taking the role, your contract should include a nudity rider, which spells out the specifics of the nudity, such as:

  • The amount: is it full-frontal? Partial? What parts? Can you wear patches or tape?
  • The context: are you just taking a shower? Is it a steamy love scene, or is there a sexual assault?
  • The surroundings: how is the scene lit? Who can be on set?

The more detailed, the better. That way, the director or producers can’t make major changes later.

You must receive the rider at least 48 hours before the contract signing.

Images

You can also exercise some control over nude images of you.

Still photos can’t be taken without your permission, and you can insist any unused shots and negatives are turned over to you or at least satisfactorily accounted for and not leaked out.

On movie and TV sets, they may snap continuity pictures in between scenes. Again, you can you keep those shots or otherwise ensure they’re accounted for.

Nude photos or clips can’t be used to promote the production without your consent.

For filmed scenes, you can also request to view the “fine-cut” — the final assembly of all the audio-visual components — if you’re concerned that the included nude scene isn’t what you agreed to in your contract.

Read more:

The Nudity In Film Survival Guide

The 2016-2018 Independent Production Agreement