Сhristopher Lee’s Cult Horror Co-Star Was 'Duped' When Shooting a Nude Scene
The classic horror creator wasn't completely honest with his cast.
The Wicker Man is an outstanding horror film from Robin Hardy that explores the boundaries of religious fanaticism. There are pagan gods, ritual naked dancing to folk music, and the main symbol of the movie – a wooden effigy destined to be burned.
Why was The Wicker Man a step forward?
The Wicker Man was revolutionary not only because it essentially gave birth to the folk horror genre, but also because it boldly and unashamedly showed both intimate scenes as well as episodes with completely naked people.
And the key scene of this kind was the one where Britt Ekland's character, Willow, dances and sings completely naked while Sergeant Howie, who has come to a small Scottish island to investigate the disappearance of a girl, listens behind the wall.
This scene is rightly considered one of the most erotic dances in movie history. Better yet, it wasn't nudity for nudity's sake – the scene was necessary to the plot, as through this dance we see the islanders' attempt to break pious Christian Howie.
How did the filmmakers deceive the actress?
John Walsh, author of the new book Wicker Man: The Story of the Official Film, revealed in his account on X that Britt was replaced by a stunt double in this now iconic sequence.
Moreover, it was done in secret from the actress, who wanted to make the scene herself, although on the condition that she be shown only from the waist up. Britt’s comment was provided in the book:
“During the shoot I had two days off, and that's when they shot some of my scenes with a Glaswegian stripper. They just stuck a blonde wig on the body double. I couldn't believe it because Robin [the director] promised that he wouldn't do that. And the model's body looked nothing like mine. I was just devastated.”
The story of the actress's deception sounds more like a spy movie – when Ekland finished filming the nude scene and got into her limousine to leave, another car arrived immediately behind, with Britt's stunt double lying on the floor so that the actress playing Willow would not notice her.
Britt Ekland herself admits that she felt "duped" and "distraught" upon learning of such a blatant deception. Well, it's hard to imagine any other reaction to such a situation.
Source: John Walsh on X