Most actors insist on no nudity clauses once they’re famous. Ed Helms just seems to get more naked. The Hangover had him in a drunken fling with a stripper. Now Cedar Rapids has several scenes when he’s stripped down to his briefs for a hotel pool orgy at an insurance convention.
“It’s funny, when a script has nudity in it, I don't think about it,” Helms said. “I’m like oh, that’ll be fine, it is what it is. Then as your contract starts to come together, I get a call from my lawyer, ‘We’re just working out the nudity clause.’ All of a sudden all these things are codified in a contract, like exactly how much of your butt crack is going to be shown or which angle of your penis and all these things. Oh my God, and that’s when for me I started to get a little anxious, what should I agree to, what’s okay? How much can I trust Miguel not to try to push this too far? I did get anxious about it a little at that point.”
It was integral to the story of Cedar Rapids though. Tim Lippe (Helms) is a small town insurance salesman whose world opens up when he goes to the big convention. “I actually love his nudity in this movie because it makes him so vulnerable and it’s such a metaphor for where he is psychologically and emotionally. He’s just naked, so it’s kind of a literal metaphor. I think you see it. When you see a naked man, especially if it’s someone in tidy whiteys who’s bashful and unsure of themselves and not a particularly attractive body, you want to rescue that person. You want to put a blanket on them. That’s why we sort of hang Tim Lippe out there. It was a very deliberate choice. It wasn’t comedic. I think it certainly helps the comedy a lot but it was also a deliberate narrative choice.”
Ladies, Helms would like you to know that he’s actually worked out since shooting the film. “I think it’s pretty clear in the movie that I wasn’t very buff. I’m in a little bit better shape now than I was when I shot this. I wish we could reshoot some of those scenes.”
Cedar Rapids opens Friday.