Thursday, January 21, 2021

Rosie Perez on Why She Felt Violated Doing Nude Scene in ‘Do The Right Thing’

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Actress Rosie Perez attends the screening of Roman J. Israel, Esq. at Henry R. Luce Auditorium at Brookfield Place on November 20, 2017 in New York City.
(Nov. 19, 2017 – Source: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images North America)

*Rosie Perez once confessed that her nude scene in Spike Lee’sDo The Right Thing” was one of the most humiliating experiences of her film career. 

Perez plays the girlfriend of Lee’s character Mookie, and there’s one memorable scene where he drips ice cubes over her bare breasts.

In a 2000 interview with New York Times, Perez explained why she had a “big problem” with her very first nude scene.

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She explained: 

“My first experience [with doing nude scenes] was Do the Right Thing. And I had a big problem with it, mainly because I was afraid of what my family would think — that’s what was really bothering me. It wasn’t really about taking off my clothes. But I also didn’t feel good about it because the atmosphere wasn’t correct. And when Spike Lee puts ice cubes on my nipples, the reason you don’t see my head is because I’m crying,” Perez admitted. 

“I was like, I don’t want to do this. I felt like Irene Cara in ”Fame.” It was like, Wait a minute, I feel so wimpy, this is not who I am. So that was my first experience, and it was horrible. But then I went and took my clothes off again for ”White Men Can’t Jump”! But that was because it was totally my decision, I felt totally comfortable, the director was so cool and Woody Harrelson was like, Well, whatever you want is cool with me. So there I felt empowered by it,” she added. 

“But with ”Do the Right Thing” it was like, ‘Now I’m the object, here’s the shot.’ And the reason why I cried was not so much because I felt violated as because I was angry at myself, because I wanted to say: ”Say something! Get up!” So that’s how I felt violated. I felt like I violated myself.”

As noted by I Love Old School Music, Perez previously admitted that she was not threatened, nor forced to film the nude scene in Do the Right Thing. She even revealed in her memoir, “Handbook For An Unpredictable Life,” how her machete-wielding/drug dealer brother-in-law accompanied her to set to ensure Spike didn’t try anything funny — such as film any parts of her vagina. 

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is a screenwriter and freelance reporter from Chicago -- currently living in Los Angeles and covering A-list entertainment for various outlets, including Emmys.com. She has worked for: Miramax, MTV & VH1, The Jim Henson Company, Hallmark Channel, Paramount Pictures, and for iconic indie film producer Roger Corman.

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