KJ Apa is notorious for all the shirtless scenes he films in Riverdale.
In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, KJ said, “I mean, look for sure it can be a little tiring just because it’s so demanding to stay in shape for 10 months long, you know? It gets hard, but it’s my job. That’s just how I think of it.”
KJ added, “I don’t dislike [the shirtless scenes], and I don’t necessarily welcome them, but I know it’s my job, so I’ve got to get it done.”
While promoting Neighbors 2, Zac Efron shared he gets a bit nervous when filming shirtless scenes sometimes.
When an interviewer asked if shirtless scenes made him feel self-conscious, Zac said, “I think sometimes. I spend a lot of time in the gym.”
He explained how right before filming a take for a shirtless scene, he’ll use exercise bands to work out and pump up his muscles.
Morris Chestnut asked the writers of Rosewood to write fewer scenes where his character was shirtless so he wasn’t under constant pressure to look “fit.”
“I actually had to talk to the writers because it was like every episode I was taking my shirt off,” he revealed to People. “I was like, ‘If you do it every episode, it doesn’t have the impact.’ And I want to eat some doughnuts every now and again!”
Matt Damon has stated that he tries to avoid filming shirtless scenes unless they’re absolutely necessary. “I don’t like those movies where there’s just the gratuitous shot, you know, we call it the beefcake shot,” he said.
He told Parade, “On the first Bourne movie, I was in the best shape of my life, and we purposely never did a shot of me with my shirt off.”
Matt explained that heavily relying on your looks as an actor is dangerous because as you age, people will generally find you less appealing. “Every five years, there’s a new crop (of moviegoers), and they have no idea who you are,” Matt said. “If your identity is somehow tied to that [your looks], you’re in deep trouble. Because if it’s not happening now, it’s going to happen at some point.”
While promoting The Great Wall, he was asked if he gets nervous when he has to take his shirt off for a scene. Matt replied, “I’ve always tried to avoid the beefcake shots unless they make sense for the story.”
He then explained why he felt comfortable doing a shirtless scene in The Great Wall. “In this one, I wake up, I’m in an infirmary, and I’ve been wounded, so I was like, ‘Okay, well that’s acceptable.'”
“For the Jason Bourne movie, [the shirtless scene] was telling a story about where he’d been for the last 10 years. And I went, ‘Okay,’ because I resisted taking my shirt off in the other Jason Bourne movies,” he shared. “The only time we did was in the first one and Doug Liman [director] purposely shot only on my back so you just see the two bullet holes.”
While doing an interview for Daddy’s Home, an interviewer asked Mark Wahlberg if it was his decision to take off his shirt so many times in the film, to which he answered, “No. No not at all. Never.”
Will Ferrell chimed in saying, “No, he’s very reluctant to do it. He obliged us by doing that actually.”
Taylor told Collider, “Those are the awkward scenes. When everybody is fully clothed, it’s raining, and I’m just the only person there, posing for them.”
Richard Madden declared that he refuses to film scenes that require him to be unclothed for no good reason.
In an interview with Vogue, he said, “I read scripts where, within the first 15 pages, it says, ‘He gets into the shower…’ And I think, I know exactly what this is, it’s just a scene to get me to take my clothes off. And then I’m like, ‘Right, if you can f–king explain to me why it’s important that I have my shirt off, then I will absolutely do it. But if you can’t’ — which they often can’t — ‘then I won’t.’”
He added that on occasion, “it’s ‘totally necessary. … There’s a way you speak to someone when you’re completely naked. For comedy, for intimacy, if there’s a reason, OK. But I try to avoid gratuitous shower scenes.”
He also expressed that “we’re projecting a very unrealistic body image. I find myself with actor friends — after we’ve done a kind of barely eating, working-out-twice-a-day, no-carbing thing for these scenes — looking at each other going: ‘We’re just feeding this same shit that we’re against.’”
Jacob Elordi expressed his disdain about all the attention his body got from his multiple shirtless scenes in the first Kissing Booth movie.
To prepare for The Kissing Booth, Jacob went to the gym twice a day, seven days a week. He built noticeable muscle but detested how people were mostly talking about his appearance instead of his acting.
“At the time, I was super young and got thrown into a world where everyone wanted to talk about my body. … It really fucking bothered me,” he shared. After the first Kissing Booth, he slimmed down for his role as Nate in Euphoria, and he decided he wouldn’t train at all for The Kissing Booth 2, which had noticeably fewer shirtless scenes than its predecessor.
In his book Man Enough: Undefining My Masculinity, Justin Baldoni wrote about his struggles with body dysmorphia and his anxiety while filming shirtless scenes.
In his TED Talk, Justin joked about having made a career playing “the hot guy” and jokingly cited his roles including, “’Shirtless Date Rapist’ from the award-winning Spring Break Shark Attack. ‘Shirtless Medical Student,’ ‘Shirtless Steroid-Using Con Man’ and, in my most well-known role, as Rafael [on Jane the Virgin]. A brooding, reformed playboy who falls for, of all things, a virgin, and who is only occasionally shirtless.”
He revealed in his book that before shirtless shoots, he would engage in extreme dieting and exercise and used props to hide parts of his body he felt self-conscious about. By the time he was on Jane the Virgin, he thought he had worked through his insecurities, but then found himself anxious every time he had to shoot a shirtless scene for the show.
He also wrote about the impact he realized his roles were making. “I was taking off my shirt on TV and literally creating the same images that triggered my insecurities as a boy.”
Matt McGorry revealed that after he quit doing bodybuilding competitions, he struggled with his body image and filming scenes with his shirt off.
“When I had my first shirtless scene in Orange Is the New Black, those same ideas crept into my mind again,” he shared. “I did some unhealthy crash dieting. And now, I look back, and I think that’s really sad.”
Jacob Artist told TV Guide that he wasn’t initially happy when he learned he would have to be shirtless for an episode of Glee in which the male glee club members were photographed for a “sexy” calendar.
“Had that been my first scene when I started this show, I probably would have been hyperventilating and panicking,” Jacob stated.
He added, “I think that we help each other out so much on those days where we have to be shirtless. Someone will be like, ‘OK! Drop! [Do] 25 push-ups everybody!’ and then everybody will get down and start doing it.”
Lastly, once the actors of Top Gun: Maverick knew the movie would include a shirtless football scene, they started working out, and many of them got emotional the day of shooting the scene.
The film’s Director Joesph Kosinski described how the actors prepped for the scene. “Those actors had that date on the calendar circled six months out as you can imagine.” He added, “And they’re working out in the gym until midnight the night before, starving themselves.”
On the day they filmed the scene, Joseph revealed some of the actors started having emotional breakdowns after learning that they may not be shown shirtless at all.
Joseph explained that “originally, I conceived the scene as shirts versus skins. And I got there, and I started dividing them up, you know, shirt, skin, shirt, skin. And everyone who I told was a shirt started having emotional breakdowns.”