There’s been a huge response to Chris Pine getting his kit off in a loch set within the forbidding Scottish countryside in his latest film Outlaw King. And not because of the effects of cold temperatures on certain parts of the male anatomy. It’s simply because director David MacKenzie saw fit to afford Pine a full frontal, full stop.
In an age when equality is a daily topic of discussion as the world wakes up to issues around representation, the clamour around Chris Pine’s nether regions might surprise you. Chris Pine himself has been both bemused and appalled, saying on The Graham Norton Show that it smacks of “double standards”, and calling the internet response to it “’effin brutal”. For director David MacKenzie, who has long been an advocate of equal screen nudity, it illustrates how far we’ve yet to go.
“This is the fifth film I’ve had male nudity in,” he says. “I’ve had quite a lot of sexuality in my films. It’s not something I’m uncomfortable with. It’s something that human beings do. This sort of weird, puritanical kind of ‘unbalance’ between portrayals of violence in movies and portrayals of sex in movies seems odd to me. I don’t really understand what the fuss is about. It feels like there’s a strange kind of moral tumble going on right now where there are so many real problems in the world and yet people seem to be concerned about seeing someone’s d— for a couple of seconds. Someone who’s washing!”
It’s Pathetic (The Reaction, Not Chris Pine’s Peen)
MacKenzie adds, “It’s me trying to do an honest scene and I’m not going to change my scene because there’s some hoo-ha about it. And to be honest, I’m pretty disgusted by the reaction to it. I think it’s pathetic.”
For some, the noise is at least understandable – we’re still so unused to seeing male nudity on screen, as opposed to female nudity, that seeing a penis, particularly one that belongs to a big star like Pine (innuendo unintended), in a major movie can be jolting, and even something to celebrate.
“But the weird thing is,” says MacKenzie, “I’ve had more male nudity in my films than female nudity. I feel like I’ve been doing my own thing and the rest of culture is doing a different thing. So if you want to see more male nudity look at the rest of my films, guys.”
Could David MacKenzie get behind FANDOM’s #BallsForBoobs campaign, which asks that for every pair of bare breasts seen on screen, the playing field be evened up with a pair of naked nuts?
“I think it’s an interesting idea,” he says. “It should be, kind of. Balls for boobs is not necessarily an equitable exchange, is it? Is it full frontal for full frontal? I don’t know. But a balance and all that… and definitely that’s something I’ve been trying to do in my films. You’re trying to represent something that all humans do and you want to be as honest as possible in that. And it’s a weird world also where there’s massive access to internet pornography and everyone’s seeing all this going on. So the weird puritanical backlash, and that balance backlash, seems insane to me.
Outlaw King tells the bloody and brutal story of Robert the Bruce’s attempts to win back Scotland’s independence from the English. It stars Chris Pine, Florence Pugh, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Tony Curran, Stephen Dillane and Billy Howle and premieres on Netflix on November 9.