As a child of the 80’s who loved going to the theater, there were certain things we could never imagine seeing on the big screen. While Star Wars opened up the possibilities for Sci-Fi in film, paving the road for Terminator and Aliens, fantasy epics like Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings were beyond anything we could dream of, and the movies in the genre we did get: Legend, Labyrinth, and Willow, were largely hampered by the technology of the time. Detailed models and robot-controlled cameras convinced us spaceships could do battle in the stars, but what about dragons? Superheroes? Christopher Reeve brought Superman to life in ’78, but that was the exception, and even then, the original Man of Steel looked little like his comic book counterpart. All this changed when Tobey Maguire suited up for Spider-Man in 2002. By then, CGI had evolved to the point that Iron Man, The Hulk, and Thor could jump on to the silver screen, ushering a new genre in movies and television.
By now you may be thinking, did I click on the wrong link? What does this have to do with nudism? Well, here’s the thing: we’re living in an unprecedented time when just about everything exists for your viewing pleasure: obscure superheroes nobody’s heard of? Check. Every Sci-Fi and fantasy book ever written? Coming soon! Every lustful thought dredged from the depths of your sicko mind? Google and you’ll find it. But when I was fourteen, just getting my hands on a Playboy was like Mission Impossible. I had to stealth my way into a bookstore, sneak the magazine from the top shelf, copy the address, stuff a $20 into an envelope, and guard the mailbox for weeks lest my parents discover my purchase. Today, I can conjure a five-guy-on-one girl pileup on my phone in seconds. Truly, we are living in an age of excess, except for, you guessed it . . . innocent nudity on film and TV. Educating Julie was released in the 60’s and Act Naturally came out in 2011, but if I wasn’t interested in nudism, I wouldn’t have enjoyed these movies and neither would you. Nudist films are B-worthy at best, and even the few that exist can be counted on one hand. We need a lot more. We need big budget epics starring nudist heroes! We need A Game of Thrones-level filmmaking where the nudity isn’t just titillating, but natural. We need Ages of Aenya: The Movie!!!
So, um, does anyone have 200 million dollars I can borrow?
Ages of Aenya: The Movie could go a long way to change minds, and this is the perfect time to do it. People are starting to get tired of superheroes, while we’ve seen just about every fantasy and Sci-Fi trope a dozen times over. All the while, a generation raised on PornHub are far less likely to be offended by casual nudity. From Deadpool to Logan to Westworld, there is a growing interest in R-rated fantasy content. Now, for all you die-hards saying, “Nick, nudism isn’t supposed to be adults only!” I wholeheartedly agree, but the general public doesn’t understand that and will never come around to our way of thinking lest we show them what casual nudity looks like. Once nudity goes mainstream, it will become as acceptable to younger audiences as The Walking Dead (and really, isn’t a nipple less harmful to a kid’s brain than seeing someone’s brains splattered all over the screen?). More importantly, Ages of Aenya should not be marketed as a nudist movie, because nothing drives consumers away faster than “-ists” and “-isms.” Ages of Aenya should be advertised for what it is, an epic fantasy adventure, which just so happens to include lots and lots of casual nudity. That’s something the public can get behind, because the public loves nudity!
So if you’re reading this long after my death and you happen to be a billionaire filmmaker looking for something original to produce, here’s how I think an Ages of Aenya movie should go.
Presentation is key. Google “nudity” and lots of engorged genitals will appear, and people having sex. This is what perpetuates the nudity = sex myth. Now, the trick to making this movie accessible to the moviegoing public is to ease them into it. We don’t want to shock the viewer, but also, we don’t want any comical, Austin Powers situations, where random objects keep censoring the actor’s privates.
As the director, I would open the film with a wide shot: a beautiful, otherworldly landscape, with white-mist waterfalls and towering oak trees and exotic flowers in a myriad of colors. In that same shot, standing in a tree, we’d see Thelana from the rear (female nudity is more acceptable as are butts, so we’ll start with that). Now that the viewer is aware of the nudity, I’d cut to a full-frontal medium shot, revealing her body from the knees up, and I’d stay on the shot for several seconds to let the viewer drink it in. While the actor’s vulva will remain in view, lighting, shadows, and color grading will give the scene a moody, evocative look, similar to what Zack Snyder did in 300.
We then cut to a close-up of our naked heroine from above the shoulders, where the camera will stay focused most of the time. Much of the film will be shot this way, inter-cutting between wide shots and close-ups, with the occasional medium shot during action scenes, where we’ll see the nude body in motion. In every scene, shadows, lens focus, and foreground elements, like leaves and branches, will frame the actors’ bodies, not to hide anything specific, but to give the film an artistic, tactful vibe. Likewise, there will never be an “ogle” shot anywhere in the movie, no zooming in or roving about the genitals, nothing for the incels to drool over (at least not without the aid of freeze framing). By the end of the film, after the viewers have spent a good two hours watching Xandr and Thelana go about their adventures, I might close on a fully-lit medium shot, with their bodies on full display, at which point, I would hope, the viewer will begin to see the naked body the way nudists do.
Now, I’d be remiss not to mention the contribution of the actors in this venture. No matter how tastefully the director handles the nudity, selling the idea of naked heroes will rely heavily on the actors’ ability to play their roles with confidence. While many Hollywood stars have been known to embrace nudity for specific scenes, a true Ages of Aenya movie would be taking it to another level. Contractually, the actors would have to agree to appear naked for most of the two-hour running time. Appearing utterly self-assured in nothing but skin will be the biggest hurdle in finding the right actors, as even a hint of shyness would betray the role. For a pornstar, this might be par for the course, and adult performers will no doubt jump at the chance to break into Hollywood, but can they act? Another challenge is fitness. The actors playing Xandr and Thelana would have to chisel their bodies into superheroic shape, lifting weights daily while subsisting on nothing but rice and chicken. While nudism is accepting of all body types, the movie-going public loves its physically-fit heroes, and without any costumes to hide their imperfections, the people playing these roles would have to look like the ideal human specimen. (Maybe, for this reason, we’ll include a scene of the Ilmarin village, showcasing body types of all kinds.)
My dream casting for Thelana is Olympic long-jumper Chantae McMillan (above). As for Xandr, I’d have to go with football player, Tod Clever. Of course, looking and playing the part are two different things, and even if these athletes could act, would they even want to put themselves on display like that? Sure, they had little problem shedding their uniforms for ESPN Magazine, but would Chantae agree to going full-frontal for a two-hour movie? Would Tod want his penis dangling about while swinging a sword into a merquid’s neck? With their careers on the line, and a film as experimental and as unprecedented as this one, I imagine only a pornstar taking the risk. Gail Ward vanished from the social scene following Educating Julie, though she did become a nudist in real life. Then again, Thandie Newton’s career proved resilient following her role as an oft-naked android in HBO’s Westworld.
Perhaps, by the time a movie like this gets greenlit, computers will have evolved to the point that CGI humans will look 100% convincing. This could allow the director greater control, so if the actress’s boobs appear to be jiggling too much, or the actor’s penis is flailing in a way that distracts from the action, the director can adjust it. The best option might be a combination of CGI and live action, using real actors for the slow scenes, and computer modeled doubles for the action. If the actor or actress feels uncomfortable showing us their goods, they can always wear blue screen underwear, like Jessica Alba did in Machete. Then again, in the not-so-distant future, public nudity may become so ubiquitous, no actor will care what they are or aren’t wearing, so long as they are starring in a good movie.
So, is an Ages of Aenya movie in our future? I certainly hope so! But first, I think, I’m gonna have to sell a few more copies of the book!