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Michelle Williams bares all for her art

The ”Dawson’s Creek” star talks about being naked on stage and screen — and why she won’t be exploited

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Michelle Williams
Marc Kayne

She plays a promiscuous high school student on ”Dawson’s Creek,” but Michelle Williams has been growing up even faster during her summer hiatus from the show. For a two-month run in the Off Broadway play ”Killer Joe,” the 18-year-old actress has bared all, and in the upcoming HBO movie ”If These Walls Could Talk 2,” she has a lesbian love scene. ”I’ve wanted to find things that create a risk and force me to go out on a limb,” Williams tells EW Online. ”Doing the nudity in the play was cathartic and freeing, really the best thing that ever happened to me.”

But it may not be the best thing that ever happened to the play, in which she replaced Fairuza Balk (”The Craft”). ”The importance of the play was overshadowed by my getting naked, which was absurd to me,” says Williams. ”It’s a great headline, and I’m sure it will sell papers, but it’s not what the play was about.” (If you care, the play is a dark comedy about Oedipal violence in a Dallas trailer park.)

Fans buying tickets in hopes of seeing a peep show, however, were likely disappointed. ”The scene lasted, like, two minutes, and it was lit by a single candle on stage, so you could hardly make out anything,” Williams explains, adding that her upcoming big screen lesbian encounter isn’t exactly titillating, either. ”My only condition was that the last thing in the world I want to make is a very sexy, erotic scene between two women that men will get off to,” she says. ”I want people to find out what the character’s pain or joy or hope is within the scene, not what her breasts look like.”

Even though Williams feels lucky to have pushed the envelope with roles that ”grabbed and scared” her this summer, she says she was recently pushed over the ”fine line” between sensuality and exploitation during a Maxim magazine photo shoot. ”It was really upsetting for the entire point not to be about capturing anything about who I am, but about getting my breasts as far into the shot as possible and getting tugged and pulled into the shortest, tightest things they could find,” she says. ”I felt cheap, and I felt used.” Well, on the bright side, this experience should make it easier for her to get back into character for ”Dawson’s” this fall.

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