Prostitutes have plied their wares in many a film, TV show and play, so we're celebrating a few of our favourite actresses who've played the tart. Plus a couple of game fellas. (Or, rather, fellas on the game…)
1. Mel C as Mary Magdalene in Jesus Christ Superstar
That’s right Spice fans, Sporty turned Slutty for the 2012 tour of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s big show, in which piano-playing funnyman Tim Minchin also starred as Judas, and Radio 1 DJ Chris Moyles was King Herod! Mel donned a leather jacket and dreadlocks for the role as the oldest tart in the (Good) book. Tell you what she wants, she really really wants… A darned good wash.
2. Anne Hathaway as Fantine in Les Miserables
Move over Susan Boyle, Anne had us all bawling our eyes out as as she sang I Dreamed a Dream as prossie Fantine in the 2012 movie-musical. The young actress cut off her hair and lost 25lb for the role of the down-at-heel factory worker who sells her locks, her teeth and then the rest of her body in order to look after her young daughter…
3. Julia Roberts as Vivian in Pretty Woman
Mercy! Those PVC-boot-clad legs went on forever – though they were actually posed by a model for the movie posters. Meanwhile Richard Gere gives a squeak-y clean performance as uptight kerb-crawler Edward. Viv lives the high-life with her new squeeze… He even takes her to the opera to see La Traviata, which – well waddya know? – is all about a prostitute who falls in love with a wealthy man… By the end of the film, our Viv has a gold Amex to match her heart.
4. Nicole Kidman as Satine in Moulin Rouge
Ooh la la! French fancies in 1899 Paris, where all sorts of absinthe-fuelled shenanigans go on at the Red Windmill. We love the courtesan’s saucy-corset costumes, plus Nicole’s wonderful voice, in Baz Luhrmann’s 2001 extravaganza. Diamonds – and an Oscar nomination – were this girl’s best friend. Unfortunately Nicole fractured two ribs and injured her knee in one of the dance routines and some scenes were filmed from the chest up because she was in a wheelchair!
5. Jodie Foster as Iris in Taxi Driver
Martin Scorsese’s hard-hitting 1976 classic has a young (VERY young – just 12 in fact) Jodie, living in Big Apple squalor. Oscar-nominated Foster plays skinny, vulnerable but street-smart child-prostitute Iris, who may or may not be ‘saved’ by depressed cabbie Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro). Too young to play many of the more explicit scenes, Jodie’s real-life big sister Connie was brought in as her body double. Jodie starred in Bugsy Malone the very same year…
6. Billie Piper as Belle de Jour in Secret Diary Of A Call Girl
The ITV2 series (2007-2011) based on the anonymous books by Brooke Magnanti – a child-health scientist who supplemented her doctoral studies by becoming a high-class London call girl. The series was well received by critics but less so by feminist viewers… And lots of viewers were shocked to see ‘Rose from Doctor Who’ getting her kit off – but bet you didn’t know that David Tennant was originally lined up to be one of Belle’s clients. Sadly it fell through – shame! (Insert joke about sonic screwdriver here…)
7. Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Grown women have been known to weep when the penny drops that sweet, funny Holly Golightly is actually a common tart… Surely she just likes to party, doesn’t she?! Marilyn Monroe was originally going to play Holly but her agent decided the working-girl image was not for her – so, hey, we got the gorgeous Aud in her little black frock instead!
8. Richard Gere as Julian Kaye in American Gigolo
Mr Gere again – but this time playing hooker rather paying client. He’s a male escort who gets real job satisfaction from fulfilling his clients’ every need, and knows how to choose a super tie/shirt combo. All is going well until he becomes prime suspect in a murder case. Ah, sex and death – the perfect movie combination.
9. John Voight as Joe Buck in Midnight Cowboy
Country-boy Joe packs up his stetson and moves from Texas to the bright lights of New York, to flog his bod as a male prostitute. Sadly, the newbie doesn’t have much luck with his high-class clients and everything starts getting a tad sordid. Fortunately, help is on hand in an unlikely pimp, Ratso Rizzo (Dustin Hoffman). And a strange but beautiful friendship blossoms…