It’s hard to get any kind of guarantee from movies these days, but when it comes to superhero movies, you can expect fun (hopefully), fights (lots of them), and a family-friendly vibe (usually). Superhero movies put a lot of effort into the creation of their characters’ costumes, so we might see some fabric get torn or some armor get damaged, but we almost never see them slip into something more comfortable. The Marvel Cinematic Universe shows the heroes in their street clothes all the time, but notice how we never see them change.
Given the fact that most superhero movies are PG-13 in order to reach a wider audience, we’re never going to see much in the way of nudity or sex in the MCU or DCEU. There are those R-rated comic book movies, like 300 and Sin City, but superheroing is strictly a PG-13 affair, unless you’re Watchmen or Deadpool. If you want to see your favorite on-screen superheroes in the buff, you’ll have to check out their work elsewhere and maybe pretend they are playing the same character. If you’re into that sort of thing. Here are 15 superhero actors who have shown off too much skin in their other movies.
15. ANNE HATHAWAY
Anne Hathaway is a beloved actress for the wide range of roles she has taken over the years. She is remembered fondly for The Princess Diaries and Ella Enchanted, but it was The Devil Wears Prada, Rachel Getting Married, and Les Miserables that truly established her as a world class actress. Comic book fans remember her today because of her performance as Catwoman in The Dark Knight Rises, but some of her more risqué roles can get overlooked
It’s easy to forget about her role as Lureen in 2005’s Brokeback Mountain, where she starred alongside Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal as the wife of Jack Twist. She also played Maggie Murdock in 2010’s Love & Other Drugs with Gyllenhaal once again. In both movies, she had no trouble showing off a little skin, it’s just too bad these performances don’t get as much attention.
14. BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH
Over the last few years, Benedict Cumberbatch has become one of the most well regarded actors of his time. Early performances garnered him an impressive track record, but his star status truly exploded in 2010 with Sherlock. His turn into a blockbuster action star through 2013’s Star Trek Into Darkness set him up for his role as Stephen Strange in Doctor Strange.
Long before his star turn, though, Cumberbatch had no trouble getting down to his bare skin for his role as Edmund Talbot in the BBC’s 2006 adaptation of To The Ends of the Earth. There’s also a scene in The Last Enemy from 2006, where his character just gets up and changes right in front of us. It’s not something we’re likely to see in Avengers: Infinity War, but it might be something Cumberbatch fans will want to check out.
13. HALLE BERRY
Halle Berry is one of the highest profile actresses in the world, so her turn as a superhero in the 2000s was huge news for moviegoers and comic book fans alike. Her performance as Storm in Fox’s X-Men universe received mixed reviews, though her time as Catwoman in 2004 is probably best left forgotten. Despite all this, she remains the only black woman to win an Academy Award for Best Actress.
That award, of course, came from her famous 2002 performance in Monster’s Ball, which depicted her in an incredibly graphic scene with her co-star Billy Bob Thornton. She was also in the well-remembered film Swordfish, in which she appeared opposite her X-Men co-star Hugh Jackman in 2001. There’s a memorable scene in that movie where she shows herself off to the camera.
12. THOMAS JANE
Thomas Jane’s time as The Punisher in 2004 has a mixed legacy. Many fans feel the movie was weak, but Jane’s performance was strong. Comic book fans remember him to this day as Frank Castle, but many forget about his performance as the voice of Jonah Hex for a DC Comics short film in 2010.
He’s had a long, successful career, but he garnered a lot of attention for his role as the star of the HBO series Hung. The 30-episode series was nominated for several prominent awards, but most people remember it because of the graphic nudity found throughout the series. Jane’s character Ray Drecker works as a male prostitute on the show, meaning there was plenty of opportunity for him to show off just about every inch of himself.
11. KRYSTEN RITTER
As a successful model and actress, Krysten Ritter had her own slew of fans before she got the attention of comic book fans. Her appearances on Veronica Mars, Breaking Bad, and a bunch of romantic comedies in the mid-2000s paved the way for her eventual rise to stardom in Netflix’s Jessica Jones and The Defenders.
We all know that Ritter has had no problem getting intimate on set based on how she and Mike Colter carried on in Season 1 of Jessica Jones. However, things went much further during her time as Chloe on Don’t Trust the B in Apartment 23. Despite its status as a sitcom on ABC, the network had no problem with Ritter going completely nude in the pilot episode of the series. She later mentioned how it was a tough scene to shoot, but she absolutely nailed it.
10. RYAN REYNOLDS
We’ve watched Ryan Reynolds grow up before our eyes to become something of an action star and a well-regarded heartthrob. He is one of those actors who can’t seem to get away from comic book gigs because he loves them so much. He’s played Hannibal King in Blade: Trinity, Hal Jordan in Green Lantern, and has been two different versions of Wade Wilson in X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Deadpool. Only one of these roles is remembered fondly.
Over his career, Reynolds has appeared in some pretty awful movies, like the 2000 “comedy” Buying the Cow, which is remembered today as a misogynistic and homophobic flop. In this film, Reynolds’ character becomes very drunk and stumbles around town very nakedly. Then there are the box office successes, like The Proposal, which had him and Sandra Bullock doing a comical nude scene together.
9. ANNA PAQUIN
Comic book fans remember Anna Paquin for her role as Rogue in Bryan Singer’s X-Men movie franchise for Fox. Despite the fact that the character she was playing was basically Kitty Pryde, most fans remember her time at the X-Mansion fondly. She even returned for an encore performance in 2014’s Days of Future Past.
These days, though, Paquin is remembered for her role as Sookie Stackhouse on the HBO show True Blood. Over the last 10 years, vampires have gone mainstream to the point where they are more sexy than scary. As an HBO show, True Blood went further than even the Twilight movies could hope for, and everyone, including Paquin, showed off plenty of skin to go around. It all led to an infamous Rolling Stone cover in 2012 that had plenty of blood, but no clothes to speak of.
8. TOM HARDY
Tom Hardy made it big through his frequent collaborations with Christopher Nolan, with his appearance in Inception proving to be his breakout role. Since then, he has appeared in Nolan’s Dark Knight Rises, as the villain Bane, as well as Dunkirk. He was also featured in Mad Max: Fury Road and The Revenant, though his co-stars received most of the attention. Hardy is also slated to depict Eddie Brock in Sony’s 2018 Venom film.
Over the course of his career, Hardy has not shied away from bearing it all on camera. In the 2005 two-part series Colditz, he played a prisoner of war who is stripped bare. Some of his more bizarre roles include the psychological biopic Bronson and the short film Sergeant Slaughter, My Big Brother, which both contain multiple scenes of full frontal nudity.
7. MARGOT ROBBIE
Australian actress Margot Robbie made her bones as a regular on the soap opera Neighbours before making it big in America. Now, comic book fans know her for her stunning performance as Harley Quinn in 2016’s Suicide Squad. She is frequently regarded as one of the only good things to come out of that movie in the end, and is expected to feature prominently in the sequel.
However, Robbie first wowed American audiences in 2013, when she played Naomi Lapaglia in The Wolf of Wall Street. Not only did she hold her own opposite Leonardo DiCaprio, but she also shocked Hollywood in one particular scene where she stripped down completely. Now, as a successful superhero actress, her name has been bounced around in several Harley Quinn spin-off movies that are currently in development.
6. ROBERT DOWNEY JR.
Robert Downey Jr.’s career has been filled with more twists and turns than a comic book. By the time he was cast as Tony Stark in Iron Man, he was already in the middle of a comeback in American cinema. His turn as a blockbuster action star helped mainstream America appreciate his brilliance as an actor and served to legitimize the Marvel Cinematic Universe almost immediately.
Now that he’s so synonymously recognized for his Marvel role, it can be weird to look back on his career and remember some of his wilder parts. His portrayal of the drug addicted Julian in 1987’s Less Than Zero showed a man who was willing to get down and dirty with anyone. The 1999 film Friends & Lovers and 2006 Fur are remembered today for their graphic lovemaking scenes, with Downey at the center.
5. AMY ADAMS
Amy Adams is an actress beloved by many for her award-nominated roles over the last few years. It was only a matter of time before she appeared in a comic book movie. Though the choice to cast her as Lois Lane was initially met with skepticism, audiences quickly warmed to her thanks to her strong performance. Now, if only the films could actually give her something important to do.
She teased audiences with a tantalizing bath scene in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and showed off even more in movies like Sunshine Cleaning and American Hustle. If you go all the way back to her performance in Psycho Beach Party from 2000, her character actually ends up pants-less at the beach in a funny scene.
4. CHRIS EVANS
You can basically call Chris Evans Mr. Comic Book Movie, because he’s been in so many at this point. He played the Human Torch in Fantastic Four, voiced Casey Jones in TMNT, and appeared in The Losers and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World before he was ever even cast as Captain America. Though Steve Rogers is often depicted as an old fashioned wholesome character, Evans is anything but.
In the 2011 film What’s Your Number?, he practically showed it all off opposite his co-star Anna Faris. And who could forget his memorable scene from Not Another Teen Movie, where he walked around wearing only whipped cream? (Yes, that was Chris Evans). Marvel will never let Captain America strip down like that, but we can all hope, right?
3. SCARLETT JOHANSSON
Today, Scarlett Johansson is one of the most high-profile actresses in the world, but it was her casting as Black Widow for Iron Man 2 that elevated her to blockbuster stardom. She’s gone from romantic comedies to action flicks, and now even voice acting. As a talented actor, singer and model, Johansson has become a true star.
As a professional, she has not shied away from bearing it all on the screen. In the unsettling 2013 film Under the Skin, Johansson plays an alien character who explores human sexuality, and she’s naked for a good portion of the movie. You might also say she didn’t wear anything in Ghost in the Shell, but since that was her robot body, we can’t really count that one, can we?
2. HENRY CAVILL
It’s hard to imagine the mild-mannered Clark Kent being portrayed as a sex symbol, but that’s exactly what Henry Cavill managed to do when he debuted as Superman in Man of Steel from 2013. He’s a bit of a beefcake no matter what project he’s a part of, but there are certain roles that allow him to play it up over others. Maybe he’ll throw us a bone in Justice League.
Cavill’s true breakout role was as Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk, in the King’s Court in The Tudors. Showtime transformed 16th Century England, and the reign of King Henry VIII of England, into an unending sex-capade. He managed to get down and dirty a few times, even if his real-life counterpart had nothing on Cavill’s physique.
1. TESSA THOMPSON
Before her casting as Valkyrie in Thor: Ragnarok pushed her into the realm of blockbuster action stardom, Tessa Thompson had been in many more high profile projects than you remember. Her first big role was on Veronica Mars, and she appeared on many popular television shows after that. Her roles in Creed, Dear White People, Westworld, and Copper helped get her to where she is today.
In the last few years, she’s shown us a little more than her impressive acting chops. Her roles in Copper and Westworld called for explicit nude scenes, and the 2016 film War Against Everyone, shows her and her co-star Alexander Skarsgård getting down to business. We won’t be seeing anything like that between her and Chris Hemsworth, but we can dream, right?
If you know of any other superhero actors who showed off some extra skin, tell us about it in the comments.
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