Maggie Gyllenhaal sees nude scenes as an integral part of films, if the role legitimately calls for it.

Maggie Gyllenhaal sees nude scenes as an integral part of films, if the role legitimately calls for it. (Photo: Bang ShowBiz)

Maggie Gyllenhaal is the coolest actress in Hollywood, even in the most difficult circumstances for many actresses–on screen nudity. She shows plenty of flesh in her hit HBO series “The Deuce.”

And, she says she’s proud of it. How cool is that?

“I am 41 and I’ve spent nearly 20 years doing sex scenes, intimate ones and unusual ones. I’ve always been really proud of that work,” she says in a new interview.

“I’m happy to shoot almost anything, I’m happy to show a lot of my body, but I want to have the final cut of what ultimately gets shown. And I never in my entire career, except once, asked to
have something taken out,” she adds.

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“The Deuce” follows the lives of sex workers in early 1970s New York City. Back then, Times Square was a seamy procession of strip joints, sex parlors, pimps, hookers and more.

Now heading into its third and final season, “The Deuce” has moved on to the 1980s and charts the rise of the punk rock movement, disco and the gay rights movement.

Her character, Eileen “Candy” Merrell, starts out as a streetwalker and follows her entrepreneurial spirit into the emerging pornography industry. You may recall, the video cassette recorder came of age during the ’80s and revolutionized the porn industry.

“It’s not so much the nudity that bothers me, it’s actually creating a real boundary between me and the actor,” she told The Sunday Times Style magazine.

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“They give you things to wear, but they weren’t enough, so we created this thing!” she says.

The “thing” is actually a yoga mat “cut into a shape like a giant matchstick” that she places between herself and her acting partner. She also uses a pillowcase to feel more comfortable during the more intimate scenes.

The second season of the HBO series was directed almost entirely by women. Maggie admitted that was a deliberate move in the wake of the #MeToo movement.

“I think it takes a conscious interest and effort to take a feminine point of view when you are living fundamentally in a masculine world,” she says.

In season three, the Times Square sex scene is dying. The seedy video stores and vacant store fronts have been targeted for urban renewal.

Just as VHS overtakes film as the primary medium for porn production and distribution, the lure of the California sunshine, New York City’s aggressive takeover of commercial sex properties and the devastating impact of the AIDS epidemic mark the end of an era.

The ‘Deuce’ actress has two daughters Ramona, 12, and Gloria, seven, with husband Peter Sarsgaard .

Nudity on commercial television is still largely non-existent, but on cable and streaming channels almost anything goes. HBO has long been a leader in airing productions that are more in line with European productions.

Nudity is much more socially acceptable and Europeans are far more casual about it.

But even cable channels like HBO sometimes come under fire for excessive skin exposure in shows like “Game of Thrones.”

The series, which wrapped this year, was known for its realistic portrayal of barbarity in an ancient mythical kingdom. But blood and gore aside, nudity also made the series a must watch.

Emilia Clarke who played Daenerys Targaryen on the hit HBO show was embroiled in an uproar over nudity during the series.

“I’m British, so I cringe at that sort of thing anyway — I can’t stand it,” she told London’s Daily Mail.

“I don’t want to have sex thrown in my face and I’ve always thought the suggestion is so much more titillating than the act itself,” she reportedly added.

“Most sex scenes you see in films or on TV are gratuitous and they’re usually just to attract an audience.”

She later clarified her remarks in an Instagram post and said she was okay with nude scenes as long as they were integral to the plot.

Check out the video below and look for season three of “The Deuce” in the Fall.