You can dis­em­bowel, be­head – but you can’t show what God gave us

Chris Pine bares all in his lat­est role as Robert The Bruce in Out­law King, but tells LAURA HARD­ING why pant­ing head­lines about his nu­dity have high­lighted a dou­ble stan­dard for men and women

Nottingham Post - - SCREEN SHOTS -

CHRIS Pine has yel­low paint flecked on the thigh of his white jeans. It’s one of the first things you no­tice when he walks into the room, but he looks down in sur­prise when asked about it, as if he’s taken aback it’s there at all.

It turns out he’s an en­thu­si­as­tic artist, and was just work­ing on his lat­est ef­fort.

“I’m not great but I love it,” Chris, 38, says bash­fully.

To his cha­grin, he has been nav­i­gat­ing a num­ber of ques­tions about what has been go­ing on be­low his waist in re­cent weeks.

For those not in the know, Chris’s lat­est film Out­law King sees the Los An­ge­les-born star play the leg­endary Scot­tish war­rior Robert the Bruce.

When the movie had its world pre­miere at the open­ing night of the Toronto In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val, many of the first re­views in­cluded pant­ing ref­er­ences to his full frontal nu­dity.

“Peo­ple are gig­gling about my pe­nis as if we’re school­child­ren,” he says rue­fully.

“There are movies with peo­ple saw­ing their heads off, and you can show that to a 13-year-old in my coun­try and it’s not a prob­lem.

“You show two peo­ple hav­ing sex and it’s NC-17 (An Amer­i­can film rat­ing where any­one un­der 17 is banned) and your mother’s got to hide you from it.

“And if you dis­til that down, there’s some­thing about show­ing in­ti­macy which is ver­boten, but show­ing vi­o­lence which is thumbs up.”

The scene in ques­tion ac­tu­ally oc­curs when Robert the Bruce emerges from a lake after a bath, hav­ing seized the Scot­tish crown dur­ing the op­pres­sive oc­cu­pa­tion of me­dieval Scot­land by English King Ed­ward I.

But it has led to a lot of in­nu­endo and snig­ger­ing while the nu­dity of Florence Pugh (cur­rently in BBC’S The

Lit­tle Drum­mer Girl), who plays Robert’s wife Eliz­a­beth, has gone largely un­re­marked upon.

“In ex­plor­ing this kind of man who is to be called king and treated like a king, I thought it was im­por­tant to see the king and the an­i­mal, the man and the an­i­mal, that his feet are in the mud. “That he is both vi­o­lent and prim­i­tive and bes­tial, but also some­thing else. So I thought to see the hu­man de-clothed, and as his an­i­mal self is re­ally im­por­tant.

“But Florence shows her en­tire body in this film, and no one is talk­ing about that.

“Peo­ple want to talk about my pe­nis as if we’re a bunch of teenagers play­ing spin the bot­tle.

“Is Florence ex­pected to do that be­cause she is a wo­man and I’m not ex­pected to do that be­cause I’m a man?

“Cer­tainly there’s a lot of vi­o­lence in this film and peo­ple get dis­em­bow­elled and stuff like that, and no one wants to talk about that.

“And I think it’s cer­tainly a marker of our pu­ri­tan­i­cal cul­ture where if peo­ple make love, or show what God gave us, it’s some­how NC-17 and you can de-bowel, be­head, you can do all sorts of crazy s**t like that and peo­ple are like, ‘Yeah that seems right’.

“Lets put a big mir­ror up to us and say, ‘Why? What’s go­ing on guys?’”

The film’s di­rec­tor David Macken­zie, is equally baf­fled.

“This is the fifth film where I’ve had full frontal male nu­dity,” he says. “No one’s ever had such a fuss about it.

“And it’s far less than I’ve ever had be­fore, and it’s to­tally mo­ti­vated. The guy is wash­ing him­self in a loch in the High­lands, and just pops out – I don’t know what the fuss is about.

“It says some­thing about our times and I wish peo­ple would get over it.”

The film ac­tu­ally marks a re­union for Chris and the Scot­tish di­rec­tor, who first worked to­gether on 2016’s Hell Or High Wa­ter.

“I’d had such a won­der­ful ex­pe­ri­ence work­ing with him last time,” Chris says.

“It was the fact that it was swords and horses and mud and that ap­pealed to my eight-year-old self.

“And it was the fact that it was a big bud­get hero jour­ney kind of David and Go­liath story, but through the lens of David’s eye, which made it in­cred­i­bly in­ter­est­ing to me.

“I think what I liked about Robert the Bruce is that he was not Wil­liam Wal­lace (the main char­ac­ter in Brave­heart, played by Mel Gib­son), he wasn’t served on a plat­ter in terms of his hero­ism.

“He was a man com­pli­cated by his own weak­nesses and si­mul­ta­ne­ously strong and vul­ner­a­ble, and Machi­avel­lian and self­less, and all these great things that I felt made him tremen­dously hu­man.”

In­deed the film shows Robert ral­ly­ing an im­pas­sioned group of men to fight back against the huge English army and pro­vided a his­tory les­son for Chris.

“I didn’t know any­thing at first, but here was a story about a man who came from in­cred­i­ble wealth and priv­i­lege, and then de­cided to risk es­sen­tially all of it for a big­ger ideal.

“And ob­vi­ously there are cer­tain par­al­lels to what’s hap­pen­ing in the world right now.

“But I think that story is al­ways an in­ter­est­ing one to tell.”

But play­ing a per­son who looms so large in the his­tory of Scot­land was not with­out its chal­lenges for the Amer­i­can.

“Ob­vi­ously I had reser­va­tions. I’d done ac­cents be­fore and been ab­so­lutely cru­ci­fied for them.

“And if there was one time where it would re­ally go down, it would be this one. But the great thing about hav­ing been cru­ci­fied be­fore about that is that it can’t get any worse, so I fig­ured I’d go for it.”

Out­law King is in cin­e­mas and on Net­flix on Novem­ber 9

Chris Pine was ex­cited to take on the role of Robert the Bruce, pre­pared for flack over his Scot­tish ac­cent, but wasn’t ex­pect­ing a furore over get­ting his kit off on screen

Chris Pine ar­rives at the Eu­ro­pean pre­miere of Out­law King at Cineworld, Leicester Square, Lon­don

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