One of our favorite activities on the site is tracking down the embarrassing early work of current stars, especially when it involves films you may have seen. Like, every once in a while, you’ll flip through the channels, stumble across a movie you haven’t seen for a few years, and you’ll notice some a big star in a bit part in a 1998 movie that I loved and I’ll be like, “What the …?” I had no idea she was in this movie.”
This is that same concept, only here, we’ve limited it to the embarassing nude-and-semi-nude roles of actresses who took on parts in movies that they would almost certainly never, ever take on today. Because they don’t have to take topless roles in sh*tty teen comedies. But one time they did, and no matter how many sitcoms you star in, how many Emmy or Oscar roles you take, embarrassing early roles — like you’re Spring Street dating profiles from 2004 — are forever.
Malin Akerman — Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle — She doesn’t even look like the same person (and trust me, there was toplesness involved).
Lauren Cohan — Van Wilder 2: The Rise of Taj — Likewise, Maggie from The Walking Dead went completely topless for a role in what I think must have been a straight-to-DVD sequel (not that that stopped me from watching it. After all, as I recall, Ryan Reynolds did have a cameo in it).
Kim Cattrall — Porkys — Kim Cattrall has never been averse to nude scenes, but she’d never do it as the 8th billed actor in a movie behind a woman named Kaki and characters named Pee Wee and Meat. Cattrall insists on third billing at least before she’ll do nude scenes today.
Bree Turner — Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo — Before she was a series regular on NBC’s Grimm, Bree Turner was dunking her boobs into fish tanks in one of the worst movies known to mankind.
Linda Cardellini — Dead Man on Campus — Before Freaks and Geeks, Linda Cardellini was in Dead Man on Campus with Tom Everett Scott, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, and Poppy Montgomery. It was also the first movie that featured Jason Segel and Alyson Hannigan together. Given the Internet’s collective obsession with Freaks and Geeks, the 90s, Saved by the Bell, That Thing You Do!, and How I Met Your Mother, I have no idea why this movie isn’t mentioned every single day on the Internet. This must be Live-Blogged by Courtney immediately.
Julie Benz — Darkdrive — OK, maybe no one actually saw this movie when it came out, but can we talk about it for a second? Here’s the premise: “Set in some distant future, one man must restore order when a mainframe system crashes in a virtual reality prison where computers control the inmates’ thoughts.” It was directed by Phillip Roth. NO. Not that Phillip Roth. The other Phillip Roth, the man who would later produce Robocroc and Rage of the Yeti and The Grudge 3 and two Lake Placid sequels, plus many, many more terrible films. Before Buffy, Angel, Dexter and Defiance, Julie Benz was doing topless love scenes for Phillip Roth.
Rachel Weisz — Stealing Beauty — I wouldn’t call this a tawdry film, because it came from writer/director Bernardo Bertolucci, but the movie was meant to show off the newly famous Liv Tyler. Further down on the cast list was one Rachel Weisz, who would not only appear nude here, but it led to an even more steamy role in Michael Winterbottom’s I Want You two years later.
Jennifer Morrison — Urban Legends: Final Cut — Very, very early in her career, before House M.D. and Once Upon a Time, Jennifer Morrison was the lead in this non-sequel sequel to Urban Legend. She did, however, manage to keep it PG-13.
Joelle Carter — American Pie 2 — The American Pie movies were like a rite of passage for 90s actresses (see also, January Jones). At least the future Ava Crowder managed to keep a sheet over herself when Jim’s Dad walked in.
Anna Gunn — Nobody’s Baby — Anna Gunn? From Deadwood and Breaking Bad? Topless in a bad comedy? NO WAY. Yes way. What’s even more insane about this movie, which seems like the mentally unfit cousin of Raising Arizona, is that Skeet Ulrich is in it … and, you know. I’m not even going to tell you the other lead. See how long it takes you to guess who is under the ginger beard in the trailer ( can see that it’s actually posted on the YouTube clip. IGNORE IT).