Many actors won’t get naked on-camera. After all, it’s hard to maintain privacy as a celebrity. Another reason actors avoid filming sex scenes is because pretending to have sex in front of cameras and crew members can be awkward.
Despite the cons, many actors will film sex scenes for the sake of art (or a fat paycheck). The following actors shared weird things about pretending to do the deed on-camera. (Neil Patrick Harris’s co-star dishes about their “inappropriate” sex scene on page 9.)
1. Elizabeth Berkeley: ‘I was appreciated by the crew.’
She said: “I was appreciated by the crew. They gave me tips out of their per diem … But I gave it back.”
The star of the 1995 erotic drama Showgirls was straightforward with the crew, as she told David Letterman. On the first day of filming, Berkeley acknowledged how much of her body they’d see for the next four months of filming, and told them “they’d better get used to it.”
Playing a stripper-turned-showgirl felt so comfortable, it seems, Berkeley jokingly said she received “tips” from the crew during her performances. That’s awkward.
Next: This hilarious actress came on strong.
2. Jennifer Lawrence: ‘I’m a predator.’
She said: I was terrified of coming across as a predator … You don’t [talk about the sex scene ahead of time] because it’s so uncomfortable. I’m not gonna be like, ‘So what do you think? Are you gonna hump me once? Are you gonna be on top?'”
Beloved actress Jennifer Lawrence faced her first sex scene with a bottle of whiskey. After telling Seth Myers on Late Night that she and Passengers co-star Chris Pratt didn’t discuss the scene ahead of time, she elaborated, saying she got drunk before filming. “I was incredibly hungover,” she laughed.
Next: This actor’s racy sex scene injured him.
3. Michael Douglas: ‘I started getting a back spasm.’
He said: “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 staying in one position take after take. And I got a lot of ribbing on that one.”
Unfortunately, the male lead of the 1984 action movie Romancing the Stone experienced a middle-age problem during his sex scene with Kathleen Turner. But it didn’t stop the then-39-year-old from nailing his breakout role.
Next: This on-screen couple famously “never let go.”
4. Kate Winslet: ‘He’d be tickling me, groping me, winding me up.’
She said: “We’d do the most ridiculous things to each other. He’d be tickling me, groping me, winding me up. And I’d be doing the same thing back, sort of grabbing his bum.”
Leonardo DiCaprio and Winslet filmed one of the most iconic sex scenes ever. (How can anyone forget the Titanic scene with the sweaty palm against the car window?) They had fun making it, too. Their friendship even brought them together to film another movie, 2008’s Revolutionary Road.
Next: Filming an outdoor sex scene is even worse.
5. Amy Smart: ‘It was definitely stinky at times.’
She said: “Jason and I are lying in the middle of a racetrack, with horses galloping past and racing fans loving every minute … 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.”
In the sequel to Crank, Chev Chelios (Jason Statham) must give his battery-powered heart jolts of electricity to keep going. The actor and Amy Smart have a public sex scene, with the racetrack only making things more awkward.
Next: This heartthrob took sexy to a slippery level.
6. Bradley Cooper: ‘We kept our socks on.’
He said: “We kept our socks on. The big tube socks. We put a lot of that sweat stuff, you know, that glistening gel. And then we were up against — yeah, it was nuts.”
Netflix’s 2015 release of Wet Hot American Summer took Cooper outside his comfort zone. In the camp-comedy revival, he and Michael Ian Black play two adolescent boys hooking up in a tool shed. After rubbing each other in fake sweat, they kept their socks on while mimicking the deed, notably one of the more serious moments of the show.
Next: This pretty woman’s body had a terrible reaction.
7. Julia Roberts: ‘They’d say “kiss” and I’d get hives.’
I had never done this kind of stuff before … They’d say “kiss” and I’d get hives. But this [crew] became so close to one another that by the time a scene like this came up — everyone knowing my values about it — that by the time we got down to anything that was a bit scary everybody was more nervous about it than I was.
Pretty Woman was 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.
Next: This English actor’s confession may scare his future costars.
8. Hugh Grant: ‘I’ve always found filming sex scenes to be quite a turn-on.’
He said: “The conventional response to sex scenes is that they’re horrible and not sexy and it’s all so unnatural. But I’ve always found filming sex scenes to be quite a turn-on.”
The awkward thing about Grant’s confession is how comfortable he feels mimicking sex. The actor told W magazine how much he prefers sex scenes over love scenes. Grant went on to say, “I like the experience of being in a sexual position when you’re not supposed to be.” Interesting.
Next: Sex is harder to film when it involves murder.
9. Rosamund Pike: ‘You’re alone with a man who’s not your husband who also has a husband.’
She said: “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.”
For Gone Girl, Pike filmed a shocking sex scene with Neil Patrick Harris. Her co-star explained: “We had to rehearse the [Gone Girl] sex scene, like every inch of it. ‘Then you put your mouth on his dick here and then this number of thrusts and then you ejaculate.’”
Next: A practical joke during a sex scene
10. Ryan Reynolds: ‘Like an idiot, I put my hands right back on her breasts.’
She takes my hands and puts them on her breasts … 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.
In the comedy The Change-Up, Reynolds plays a single man who switches bodies with a married father of three kids. The actor has a sex scene with Olivia Wilde, who hilariously broke the ice.
Next: This on-screen couple pushed bedroom boundaries.
11. Jamie Dornan: ‘I had to do stuff to her that I’d never choose to do to a woman.’
He said: “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.”
In Fifty Shades of Grey, Dakota Johnson plays Anastasia Steele, who has an S&M relationship with Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan of The Fall). The movie required sex scenes in the “red room.” So Johnson took her mom’s advice on how to approach filming these scenes.
“It was a very closed set,” Johnson said. “My mom [Melanie Griffith] told me 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.
Next: This actress had to portray a LOT of sexual tension.
12. Kirsten Dunst: ‘I am on the floor and my clothes are being ripped.’
13. Jon Hamm: ‘There’s awkwardness about being in a weird flesh-colored thong.’
There’s awkwardness about being in a weird flesh-colored thong, bouncing on top of an actress. I am not a small human being … 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.
In Bridesmaids, Kristen Wiig’s character has a casual relationship with Jon Hamm’s character. The actor may be hot, but his character was pretty insulting, even in bed.
Next: Filming a couple recording a sex tape is twice as awkward.
14. Cameron Diaz: ‘A lot of prosthetics.’
She said: “That was a really tough day for me. A lot of prosthetics.”
The comedy portrays a couple who loses their sex tape. This meant Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel had to strip down for the sex scene. Diaz revealed her hardest day was being the role of body double for Segel’s headstand.
But the duo said it was easy to film together. “It wasn’t particularly awkward for either of us,” Segel told The Daily Beast. “We really felt like teammates. As Cameron says, it was a locker room vibe.”
Next: This actress’s first threesome scene wasn’t what she expected.
15. Sofia Vergara: ‘She told me, “Just follow me, I’ve done this many times.”‘
She said: “I’ve never done anything like this, not in real life or on camera. So it was a little nerve-wracking. When I arrived on the set, Sharon [Stone] was very supportive. She told me, ‘Just follow me, I’ve done this many times, it’s going to be fine, just relax.'”
In 2013’s Fading Gigolo, Sofia Vergara, Stone, and John Tuturro’s threesome made headlines. Vergara relied on Stone’s prior experience in movies like Basic Instinct to guide her through the awkward scene between the gigolo (Tuturro) and his two female clients.
Next: This famous duo tried to prevent rug burns.
16. Paul Sparks: ‘I remember constantly having to put down kneepads.’
He said: It’s not often you get to have sex with and then die underneath Robin Wright, so it was pretty spectacular … I remember constantly having to put down kneepads for Robin so she wouldn’t get rug burns.
Playing Tom Yates opposite Robin Wright in House of Cards, Paul Sparks had to film a steamy sex scene — including death by poison — while receiving direction from his counterpart. Wright served as director of this episode, so she was in charge of Paul’s every move.
Next: Sex scenes aren’t a “game” for this actress.
17. Natalie Dormer: ‘Anyone who says they’re laid-back about sex scenes is a fibber.’
She said: “Anyone who says they’re laid-back about sex scenes is a fibber. 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.”
Sex scenes are part of almost every episode of this fantasy TV show, but it doesn’t mean the Game of Thrones actors get used to it. Natalie Dormer, who plays Margaery Tyrell, must seduce two kings throughout her reign as queen.
Next: This actor covered all his bases for his sex scene.
18. Ashton Kutcher: ‘I apologize if I get aroused and I apologize if I do not get aroused.’
He said: “When in doubt, use Sir Laurence Olivier. I think he said something to the effect of, ‘I apologize if I get aroused and I apologize if I do not get aroused.’
The 2011 romantic comedy follows two people in a casual sexual relationship, so multiple sex scenes took place with Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman. Scared of offending his acting partner, Kutcher gave a funny apology.
19. Lizzy Caplan: ‘You gotta boner! You do!’
She said: “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, ‘You gotta boner! You do! You got one!’ It was horrible.”
Caplan used liquid courage to prepare for her first sex scene in Masters of Sex. And it seemed to help; she portrayed Virginia Johnson for the show’s four seasons.
Next: Comparing sex scenes to slavery seems extreme.
20. Lena Dunham: ‘I’m lying there kind of being slammed by a naked body.’
She said: “I will be lying there 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.”
Leave it to the creator of HBO’s Girls to compare acting to sex slavery. Many know Lena Dunham for her weird sex scenes. And some wonder why she does it, including herself.
Follow Nicole Weaver on Twitter @nikkibernice.
Additional contributions by Ali Harrison.
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