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Henry Cavill says he doesn’t ‘understand’ sex scenes: ‘I’m not a fan’

Superman actor posits that imagination is a more powerful tool than visualising sex scenes

Tom Murray
Wednesday 07 February 2024 00:22 GMT
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Henry Cavill on that iconic bath scene in The Witcher

Henry Cavill has opened up about his general dislike of sex scenes in film and television.

The 40-year-old actor made the remarks while appearing on Josh Horowitz’s Happy Sad Confused podcast with his Argylle director Matthew Vaughn.

Argylle, released last week (2 February), casts Cavill as a fictional spy invented by a best-selling author whose creations begin to mirror real-life espionage operations.

“I don’t understand them – I’m not a fan,” Cavill said about sex scenes. “I think there are circumstances where a sex scene actually is beneficial to a movie, rather than just the audience, but I think sometimes they’re overused these days.

“It’s when you have a sense where you’re going, ‘Is this really necessary or is it just people with less clothing on?’” he continued. “And that’s when you start to get more uncomfortable and you’re thinking, ‘There’s not a performance here, there’s not a piece which is going to carry through to the rest of the movie’.”

Cavill went on to say that while there are times where “sex scenes can be great in a movie” and “can really help with the story telling… most of the time the human imagination is going to trump it. So, it can be a little bit of a cop-out if a TV show or a movie is just filled with gyrating bodies and you’re going, ‘Okay, but what is this doing for us apart from the idea of, oh naked person, great’.”

“[I’m] not a fan of doing them,” he reiterated.

Henry Cavill in ‘Argylle' (Universal/Apple)

Cavill is among a small minority of actors who have admitted their reluctance to film sex scenes.

Last year, You star Penn Badgley revealed that a “phenomenal reduction” in intimate scenes was made at his request for the Netflix drama’s fourth season.

“This was actually a decision I had made before I took the show,” he said on his podcast, Podcrushed; “Do I want to put myself back on a career path where I’m always [the] romantic lead?”

Badgley added: “Fidelity, in every relationship, and especially my marriage, is important to me.”

Jameela Jamil later admitted to Badgley in an interview that she passed on auditioning for You due to the sex scenes it required.

“My character was supposed to be quite sexy, and I pulled out of the audition, because I am so shy about anything sexy that I can’t,” she said.

Argylle debuted with just $18m in ticket sales at the US box office on Sunday against a $200m budget. Vaughn’s spy thriller, produced by Apple Studios, was largely panned by the critics.

The Independent’s Clarisse Loughrey was among the more gentle critics, writing in her three-star review, that Argylle was “pleasingly, surprisingly charming”.

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