Isabella Rossellini on ‘9 1/2 weeks’: I’m glad I wasn’t cast

“I was glad I wasn’t picked,” Rossellini said of the role, which ultimately went to Kim Basinger.

Isabella Rossellini may have bare it all in popular films like David Lynch’s Blue Velvet and Robert Zemeckis’ Death Becomes Her, but the actress is grateful not to have been cast in the NSFW classic 9 1/2 Weeks.

Rossellini auditioned and screen-tested the 1986 psychosexual drama about an intoxicatingly toxic relationship; Eventually, Kim Basinger was cast alongside Mickey Rourke. Fatal Attraction, Indecent Proposal and Deep Water director Adrian Lyne helmed the feature film.

“After seeing the film, I was kind of glad I wasn’t selected,” Rossellini told Vulture. “I found Adrian’s films a little exploitative.”

She continued: “I thought it wasn’t very deep. His films are a little exploitative. I was lucky not to be elected. Sometimes God helps me. I can’t help but God does.”

As part of the film’s 30th anniversary, Rossellini looked back on the legacy of “Death Becomes Her,” comparing her on-screen nudity to posing for Madonna’s infamous “Sex” book. Rossellini called Madonna’s vision “liberating” and a “portrait of sex” in the spirit of Frida Kahlo’s work.

“[Madonna] wanted it to be openly bisexual,” Rossellini said of the portraits included in the book. “So I agreed to be in it, but I said, especially after ‘Blue Velvet,’ I didn’t think I’d have it in me to do another nude scene. I was so persecuted. There were so many complaints.”

Rossellini then reflected on the issue of nudity in America, something audiences “avoid” on screen.

“Either they’re outraged and say ‘why did you do that?’ or they say someone is exploiting you, or you’re an exhibitionist,” Rossellini said. “There is a Puritan streak. There are many things I loved about becoming an American, but that’s the part I can’t quite figure out. What’s the logic? How does it work?”

Director Olivia Wilde recently made similar statements, sharing that the original trailer for the acclaimed psychological thriller Don’t Worry Darling was even steamier.

“There are a lot of things that had to be removed from the trailer,” Wilde told the Associated Press. “The MPA hit me and the trailer hard at the last second and I had to trim some footage, which annoyed me because I thought they did even better. Audiences aren’t as puritanical as companies think they are. And yet people get upset. I mean, people are already mad at me for that. I think it’s a testament to the film. We want to provoke. The idea isn’t to make you feel safe.”

Wilde, who previously credited Lyne’s Fatal Attraction and Indecent Proposal as inspirations for the Katie Silberman co-written Don’t Worry Darling screenplay, added, “I think the lack of eroticism in American film is kind of new. Then when it comes to female pleasure, unless you’re talking about queer cinema, we just don’t see it very often.”

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Lindsay Lowe

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