Screen nudity and explicit love scenes have never been a problem for Keira Knightley. She filmed her first nude scene when she was only 15 in The Hole and since then has appeared topless, naked and in various stages of undress in Silk, Atonement, Domino and The Edge of Love. Yet the 26-year-old actress balked at what director David Cronenberg wanted her to do for her latest film, A Dangerous Method, because she thought the scenes were too outrageously explicit. But then, she says, after talking at length with Cronenberg and her co-star Michael Fassbender, she changed her mind and went through with them, helped by inhibition-easing shots of vodka. In the fact-based film she portrays a hysterical, tic-ravaged mental patient with masochistic tendencies who becomes sexually involved with her psychoanalyst, Dr Carl Jung, played by Fassbender. As well as some explicit sex scenes, the script also called for her to enjoy being tied to a bed and spanked with her breasts exposed. “When I first read it I loved the script and really wanted to play the character, but I didn’t want to do those scenes, and I phoned David Cronenberg and said I was going to have to turn the role down,” she recalls. “He said he really wanted me to play the part so he would take the scenes out but I said, 'Whoa!’ because I knew they were incredibly important to the story. “He said he didn’t want the scenes to be sexy or voyeuristic; he wanted them to be clinical and a complete exploration of what she was feeling. So we kind of came to an agreement with Michael as well because he had questions about the scenes, too. I wanted it to be as shocking as possible without going over the top.