When it comes to onscreen nudity, Elisabeth Moss is not against it — she just wants her say.
“I’m very particular about that kind of thing and I don’t let anyone decide who’s going to do what angles except for myself,” Moss said while promoting Top of the Lake: China Girl in Cannes. “Unless they would like to take their clothes off and be shot, then they can decide their angles.”
It was on the first season of Top of the Lake that director Jane Campion allowed Moss to eliminate every frame she was uncomfortable with. “Jane said, ‘You can have 100 percent approval of every frame and anything you don’t like will never be used,’” says Moss. “She gave it to me. She really allowed me to have that voice. And I carried it over.”
Now she gets approval every time. “Everything that involves nudity I have 100 percent approval, otherwise I don’t do it. That way is actually better for the filmmaker, because you actually end up getting more than you would if you just ask the actor to take her clothes off,” says Moss.
While she has long been in charge of her nude scenes, Moss says that it’s as a producer for her other show, The Handmaid’s Tale, that she discovered her voice on set. “It does take a little bit more bravery and confidence to start to speak up,” she says. “I do remember the first couple of times, producing Handmaid’s, I had to get up the nerve to send the email, or have the conversation — and then it gets much easier after that when you realize nobody hates you.”
“It definitely has made me more outspoken,” she continues. “It’s given me a stronger voice, because in order to go up against a group of people — a studio, a network, writers, producers, everything — you have to be strong and you have to be willing to speak your mind. And I think as actors — especially as actresses — I think there’s sometimes a little bit of patting on the head and sending back to one’s trailer. And it’s been really empowering to say, ‘No you can’t do that. You have to listen to me.’”