Quite a few actors refuse to get naked in front of a camera; they want to keep some parts of themselves private. After all, when you’re a celebrity, it can be hard enough to maintain a sense of privacy. But another big reason actors avoid filming sex scenes is because pretending to have sex for a film can be a very awkward experience.
What we see as a private moment between two people is really awkwardly staged in front of cameras, bright lights, and crew members. Despite the downsides, many actors will film sex scenes for the sake of their art (or a fat paycheck). So what did some of these actors say about filming sex scenes? These 15 actors shared about pretending to do the deed in front of a camera.
15. Michael Douglas on Romancing the Stone
Michael Douglas starred with Kathleen Turner in the 1984 action movie Romancing the Stone. Unfortunately, the then-39-year-old actor experienced a common middle-age problem during a sex scene. Douglas told Entertainment Tonight, “We were twisted a certain way in lighting it — I saw it, it was really beautiful, sensual, sexy, looks gorgeous — I started getting a back spasm from one way from staying in one position take after take. And I got a lot of ribbing on that one.”
Next: This on-screen couple famously “never let go.”
14. Kate Winslet on Titanic
Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet filmed one of the most iconic sex scenes in movie history. (How can anyone forget the sweaty palm against the car window?) Their friendship even brought them together to film other movies. Winslet shared her thoughts with Rolling Stone about filming their sex scene for Titanic:
The Rose in me was reaget
lly sort of loving the Jack in him, actually. And even though I didn’t feel that way about Leo, it was quite nice to sort of feel that way in the scene. It was quite lovely. And then, y’know, the camera stopped rolling, and he gets up and walks off, and the scene’s done. And I remember lying there thinking, “What a shame that’s over.” Because it was quite nice. It was.
Next: This on-screen couple pushed boundaries in the bedroom.
13. Dakota Johnson on Fifty Shades of Grey
In Fifty Shades of Grey, Dakota Johnson played the shy Anastasia Steele, who gets into an S&M relationship with the rich, Christian Grey. The movie required filming multiple sex scenes, especially in Christian’s “red room” so Dakota Johnson got advice from her mom on how to approach filming these scenes.
The scenes in that room were definitely the most vulnerable scenes in the movie. But it was a very closed set — my mom [Melanie Griffith] told me that it’s my right to ask for that during intimate scenes, so it seemed like [Jamie Dornan and director, Sam Taylor-Johnson and I] were in this little world together.
Jamie Dornan, the actor who plays Christian Grey, then chimed in, “Some of the Red Room stuff was uncomfortable. There were times when Dakota was not wearing much, and I had to do stuff to her that I’d never choose to do to a woman.” Well, it sounds like the actor isn’t really into S&M himself.
Next: Few things are more awkward than a flesh-colored thong.
12. Jon Hamm on Bridesmaids
Kristen Wiig plays Annie, a character who has a casual sexual relationship with Jon Hamm’s character. The actor may be hot, but his character was pretty dumb and insulting, even in bed. What was it like filming those scenes? It was definitely awkward, according to Hamm’s interview with Playboy.
I mean, sure, there’s awkwardness about being in a weird flesh-colored thong, bouncing on top of an actress. I am not a small human being. I weigh at least 200 pounds and I’m six-foot-two. And Wiig is a twig; she’s a skinny little thing. It’s weird and uncomfortable at first, but then all the awkwardness melts away and you think, All right, we’re doing this, so let’s have fun with it. You know what I mean? You’re in that moment and it’s happening and it’s not going to get any better, so you might as well enjoy it.
11. Julia Roberts on Pretty Woman
Pretty Woman was Julie Roberts’ first foray into a sexier movie involving intimate scenes. She and co-star Richard Gere received many accolades and became a legendary on-screen couple. Roberts explained filming the sex scenes to ABC News:
I had never done this kind of stuff before. And I was really nervous, and I’d get hives. They’d say “kiss” and I’d get hives.
But the funny thing is that we’d become such a family, this particular crew, we became so close to one another that by the time a scene like this came up — everyone knowing the way that I felt and you know my value ideas about it and then my own personal ideas about it and my problems with it — that by the time we got down to anything that was a bit scary everybody was more nervous about it than I was.
Next: Filming an outdoor sex scene is even worse.
10. Jason Statham on Crank: High Voltage
In the sequel to Crank, Chev Chelios has to give his battery-powered heart jolts of electricity to keep going. Jason Statham has a public sex scene in this movie, which only made things more awkward. As Amy Smart explained to Parade:
Jason and I lying in the middle of a racetrack, with horses galloping past and racing fans loving every minute of it. I’m sure people snuck in their little cell phone cameras. So I have no idea if people have little home videos now of what we did on the horse race track. But, while I was lying there I tried not to think of what was in the dirt that we were rolling around in or I would have been sick. It was definitely stinky at times.
Next: This popular series was notorious for sex scenes.
9. Lena Dunham on Girls
Leave it to the show creator to compare acting to sex slavery. Many know Dunham for her weird sex scenes on the HBO show, Girls. And some wonder why she does it, including herself. “I will be lying there,” she told Conan O’Brien, “kind of being slammed by a naked body, thinking, ‘I want out of this bed. I want out of this scene. I want out of this life. Who did this to me?’ And I realized, I’m my own boss. I’ve written it. I’m directing it. I’m the person holding myself in sexual slavery.”
Next: Sex scenes are harder to film when they involve murder.
8. Rosamund Pike on Gone Girl
The thriller follows a woman who has gone missing, and her husband who is a suspect in her disappearance. Rosamund Pike had to film a shocking sex scene with Neil Patrick Harris for the film, which was awkward for many reasons.
“That is when it feels highly inappropriate,” Pike told Seth Meyers. “You’re alone with a man who’s not your husband who also has a husband … he’s in his underwear, you’re in your underwear and you’re sort of dry humping on a bed.”
Next: Sex scenes aren’t a “game” for this actress.
7. Natalie Dormer on Game of Thrones
There are many sex scenes on the fantasy TV show, but that doesn’t mean the actors get used to it. “Anyone who says they’re laid-back about sex scenes is a fibber,” said Dormer. “The choreography of a sex scene is so unsexy and unglamorous, it’s all about camera angles, you have to recreate the moment so many times. It’s just timing and technical.”
Next: Is the best time for a practical joke during a sex scene?
6. Ryan Reynolds on The Change-Up
In the comedy, Ryan Reynolds plays a single man who switches bodies with a married father of three kids. The actor also has a sex scene with Olivia Wilde, but she played a funny trick on him, which he revealed on the The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
So, in the scene, she’s sitting there and I take her top off and the bra off, and she has those pasties on, but she’s drawn these adorable little smiley faces on them. And I forget every line in the scene — not just from this movie but from every other movie I’ve done. At some point in the scene she takes my hands and puts them on her breasts. So, they’re there. Palms [are] a little sweaty. I don’t know what’s happening. … And I’m trying not to look at her like a 14-year-old boy that just won the lady lottery.
I take my hands away and I look down at my hands and there’s two frickin’ smiley faces on them and I have no idea what to do. The scene is over now. … And I reflexively, like an idiot, just put my hands right back on her breasts. And I think I’m doing it to cover them up, but I’m realizing now that it’s a very fine line between chivalry and, you know, workplace sexual assault.
Next: Filming a couple recording a sex tape is twice as awkward.
5. Cameron Diaz on Sex Tape
The comedy shows a married couple who accidentally lose their sex tape. Of course this meant the stars, Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel, had to strip down to film the sex scene. They actually said it was easy for them to film together.
“It wasn’t particularly awkward for either of us,” Segel said according to The Daily Beast. “We both went into it with the mentality of being as funny as possible, so we really felt like teammates. As Cameron says, it was a locker room vibe.” Diaz revealed that the hardest day of work for her involved fulfilling the role of the body double for Segel’s headstand. “That was a really tough day for me,” she said. “A lot of prosthetics.”
Next: This actor covered all his bases for his sex scene.
4. Ashton Kutcher on No Strings Attached
The romantic comedy follows two people in a casual sexual relationship, so multiple sex scenes took place between stars Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman. Scared of offending his acting partner, Kutcher gave a funny apology.
“When in doubt, use Sir Laurence Olivier. [laughs] I think he said something to the effect of, ‘I apologize if I get aroused and I apologize if I do not get aroused,'” he joked according to Coming Soon. He then continued, “But there is sort of always this awkward state of, is this okay, is that okay? And then in between it’s like, just, let’s act like nothing happened.”
Next: This famous duo did their best to prevent rug burns.
3. Paul Sparks on House of Cards
Playing Tom Yates opposite Robin Wright’s Claire Underwood in House of Cards, Paul Sparks faced the double awkwardness of filming a steamy sex scene — including death by poison — while receiving direction from his counterpart. Wright served as director of this episode, which means she was in charge of Paul’s every move. He did not seem to mind.
Sparks told Entertainment Weekly:
It’s not often that you get to have sex with and then die underneath Robin Wright, so it was pretty spectacular. And she was directing too, so if you add in the fact that death scenes are, along with sex scenes, probably the hardest things we do as actors, it was… [Laughs] it was pretty monumental. It was good … And I remember constantly having to put down kneepads for Robin so she wouldn’t get rug burns. [Laughs] So there’s that.
Next: This iconic actress had to portray a LOT of sexual tension.
2. Kirsten Dunst on The Beguiled
Next: This actress needed liquid courage to film her first sex scene.
1. Lizzy Caplan on Masters of Sex
Lizzy Caplan got drunk in order to prepare for her first sex scene in Masters of Sex. “I was so nervous and then I was so drunk that after I shot the scene I was going up to the crew members — I had just met all these people the day before — and I was going up to all of them being like [imitates drunk self], ‘You gotta boner! You do! You got one!’ It was horrible.”
Follow Nicole Weaver on Twitter @nikkibernice
Additional contributions by Ali Harrison.
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