Published February 02, 2004
NEW YORK – Flashing your rear is not just teenage hijinks anymore. In fact, middle-age mooning is paying some Hollywood actors a lot more than Social Security lately.
In a surprising trend for sagging buttocks, several older A-list actors have dropped their drawers this season, including Jack Nicholson (search) in “Something’s Gotta Give,” William H. Macy (search) in “The Cooler” and Danny DeVito (search) in “Big Fish."
Of course, male nudity in mainstream movies isn't totally new. In 1993, Harvey Keitel's (search) performance in "The Piano" was one notable instance of middle-aged male flesh on screen. But typically movies that have guys showing skin focus on fit, young actors such as Ed Norton in "American History X," Jude Law in "The Talented Mr. Ripley" and George Clooney in "Solaris."
But these current skin flicks aren't just using the flashes of flesh to entice viewers.
For instance, Nicholson, 66, shows off his dimpled derriere to get a laugh in a comedic scene involving an open hospital gown in “Something’s Gotta Give."
While a peek at the star's bum may have tickled some, one moviegoer, a woman in her mid-50s who wished to be nameless, said it was no thrill. “It was funny, yes, but it didn’t leave much of an impression on me,” she said. “I figured he probably had a body double."
Quite the contrary. Nicholson has insisted in interviews that the rear in the flick is his — but that the scene will be the extent of his on-screen nudity. "That's as nude as I'm ever going to get on camera," Nicholson told the Calgary Sun Sunday magazine.
While Nicholson has been a heartthrob at every age, he might not top movie fans' list of actors they like to see nude.
If moviegoers were prodded to pick the top five actors they'd like to see more of, names like Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp and Ashton Kutcher might come to mind. Foxnews.com sought out movie buffs to find out who they'd hope to see in the buff.
"Mel Gibson and Richard Gere would be on my list," said Bonnie Small, 55, of Vandalia, Ohio.
"Vin Diesel, oh yeah, that's who I'd like to see," said Summer Evert, 25, of Santa Clara, Calif. "Every inch of his body is perfection."
"I would love to see Tim McGraw bare his backside!" said Tara Carlson, 27, of LaPorte, Ind., who is eagerly awaiting the singer's screen debut in the independent film "Black Cloud."
Carlson enthusiastically added, "Have you seen him in a pair of worn-out jeans and cowboy boots? Wow! I would sell my soul to the devil himself for that man."
But for now, these fawning fans will have to settle for the older set.
In “The Cooler," Macy takes his nudity to a daring level, baring not only his tush, but also giving the audiences a near full monty.
The acting veteran didn’t question his flesh-baring role, but said he felt pressure to prepare for it. “Why didn't they ask me when I was 25?" Macy, 53, said to People magazine. "I tried to squeeze six months of exercise into six days and tore my shoulder."
Even Hollywood's middle-aged leading ladies are getting in on the act. Diane Keaton bares it all in "Something's Gotta Give" and Helen Mirren and the ladies of "Calendar Girls" appear in their birthday suits.
Whether they are men or women, these older actors are making statements about being comfortable with their age, said Peter Graham, a film studies professor at DePauw University in Greencastle, Ind.
“It’s refreshing to show people and bodies that aren’t airbrushed,” said Graham. “They’ve done everything, so why not?”
That could be said for DeVito, whose long career has included acting, producing and directing. "In Big Fish," DeVito, 59, bares his tush while playing a character that's part animal.
But what do fans think of DeVito showing it all?
“At first my face was all squished up and I was really taken aback," said Steve Sprinkel, 23, a recent film studies graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder. “But then it was funny, mostly because of DeVito’s short stature and age.”
On the other hand, Steve Bliss, 56, said he'd prefer no fanny flashing on film.
"Older actors wanting to take their clothes off seems to be the latest trend, but I'd rather they not," said the Los Angeles resident.
Whether it's men or women taking it off, Sprinkel isn't surprised to see middle-aged nudity in movies — but doesn’t believe it's a big draw.
“I definitely don’t think [DeVito’s butt] is selling tickets to 'Big Fish!'” he said.