Isabella Rossellini's nude scene in David Lynch's "Blue Velvet" is unforgettable, but she hopes people don't remember it only because she showed some skin.
I don't want to be naked to titillate people. That's kind of creepy to me, the idea that somebody would look, get excited, masturbate in his bathroom. It doesn't really appeal to me. But when it was "Blue Velvet" and it was a scene of rape -- and a strange, ritualistic rape -- I couldn't come up with another image, nor David could come up with another image than this naked body -- me -- walking in the street all bruised and confused. If we could have come up with another idea, it would have been better.
One of the reasons Rossellini thought the film would be better without the nude scene is the controversy that surrounded the movie. Some of that controversy came from the late Roger Ebert, who blasted Lynch in 1986 for his portrayal of Rossellini.
"[Rossellini] is degraded, slapped around, humiliated and undressed in front of the camera. And when you ask an actress to endure those experiences, you should keep your side of the bargain by putting her in an important film," Ebert wrote.
But the actress did find meaning in fully exposing herself to convey a brutalized mentality.
"If I had walked in the street covering myself, I thought that psychologically, I can't covey that the character I was playing was not yet broken -- there was still a sense of protecting herself, there was a strength in her that would understand, 'I have to be decent.' Instead, she [had] nothing left," Rossellini said.
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