Heather Graham Was ‘So Nervous’ About ‘Boogie Nights’ Nude Scene: It Was ‘Terrifying’

"Beggars can't be choosers," Graham recalled.
Heather Graham in Boogie Nights
Heather Graham in "Boogie Nights"

Heather Graham admitted she was “so nervous” over her iconic “Boogie Nights” nude scene.

The actress reflected on the 1997 Paul Thomas Anderson film in a recent interview with Yahoo!, sharing that it was the first time she stripped down onscreen.

“That was my first time [doing a nude scene], and I was so nervous about it. But at that point in my career I was also like, ‘Beggars can’t be choosers,'” Graham said. “It was a great script and Paul [Thomas Anderson] was an amazing talent. I had a great time making that movie even though it was terrifying doing a nude scene.”

Graham’s co-star Mark Wahlberg infamously donned a large prosthetic penis for his nude scenes, which Graham called out as not being comparable to her role.

“He’s wearing a fake penis so it’s not exactly the same,” she said.

And learning how to be comfortable on camera while nude wasn’t the only lesson Graham needed to prepare for “Boogie Nights.”

The actress added, “I didn’t know how to rollerskate when I got that job; I had to take lessons. It was a little bit terrifying, because there were all these cables around on set and you had to go around stairs and stuff. The girl that was my stand-in bit it a couple of times! But I also felt like this kid just floating along.”

The “Bowfinger” star recently opened up about how much Hollywood has changed over the last three decades since she launched her career.

“Now we look back and go, ‘Whoa, that was so sexist.’ I’m glad that we are growing as a culture,” Graham said, adding that “some of the movies from that time period [of the 1980s], they were so sexist.”

The “Chosen Family” director continued, “It’s still pretty sexist, to be honest. Every phase of the business, whether it’s financing, distribution, the reviewers, all those people are mostly men. To get a female driven story that is appealing mostly to women through all these levels of male-dominated business, it’s not that easy. I always felt like I was a supporting character in a man’s story. I wasn’t always going, what do I want? I was going, how do I people please someone else? My journey has been to get more clear on what I want and go after that.”

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