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Demi Moore Discusses Extreme Nudity and Violence in Cannes Sensation ‘The Substance’

Demi Moore has opened up about her challenging role in Coralie Fargeat’s body horror film, The Substance, which premiered at Cannes. Co-star Dennis Quaid hailed Moore’s performance as “the beginning of an incredible third act” for the actress.

In The Substance, Moore embraces a “level of vulnerability and rawness” on screen. The film, a gory and campy satire on beauty standards, toxic masculinity, and female self-hatred, features frequent nudity and intense violence. Moore stars as Elisabeth Sparkle, a renowned actress and daytime exercise show host, who is replaced by a younger star, played by Margaret Qualley. The movie includes a graphic and bloody fight between Moore and Qualley, which captivated the Cannes audience and received a warm reception.

Moore praised her co-star, Qualley, stating, “We were obviously quite close at some moments… and naked. But there was also a levity [in shooting those scenes].” She acknowledged that the film pushed her out of her comfort zone but emphasized that the explicit content was essential to the story, handled sensitively by Fargeat.


Addressing comparisons between the film’s narrative and her own experiences in Hollywood, Moore noted that she did not see herself as a victim. Instead, she described The Substance as a critique of “the male perspective of the ideal woman.”

Director Coralie Fargeat explained that the film’s violence symbolizes the emotional and physical violence women endure in their pursuit of unrealistic beauty standards. “I don’t know any woman that doesn’t have an eating disorder or some other thing that they do that does violence to their bodies,” she said, justifying the film’s extreme portrayal of violence.




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