Why Ally Sheedy Burst Into Tears While Filming the Sex Scene in ‘St. Elmo’s Fire’: ‘I Was Absolutely Out of My Mind, Horrified’

One of the most memorable scenes from St. Elmo’s Fire is when Kevin (Andrew McCarthy) finally confesses his feelings for Leslie (Ally Sheedy.) After Leslie finds a stack of photos of herself in Kevin’s apartment, he tells his best friend that he has been “hopelessly” in love with her for years.

This confession is followed by a passionate lovemaking scene that stands out as one of the more unforgettable moments in the film. But as romantic as the scene is, the filming process was a nightmare for Sheedy. It got so bad that she eventually “burst into tears.”

St. Elmo's Fire
A view of the Original Motion Picture sound track album of “St. Elmo’s Fire” in 1985 | Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Kevin was madly in love with Leslie throughout ‘St. Elmo’s Fire’

In the cult classic 1985 film, Kevin puts on a front where he cynically states that “love is a lie.” We later find out that he is such an anti-romantic because he has fallen for his best friend Leslie, who is committed to another man. Toward the end of the film, Kevin finally tells Leslie how he really feels about her.

Ally Sheedy and Andrew McCarthy
Ally Sheedy and Andrew McCarthy | Ann Clifford/The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images

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“You’re all I think about,” he professes to Sheedy’s character. “And I think that the reason I’m not interested in other women, and why I haven’t had sex in so long, is because I am desperately, completely in love with you.” 

While this scene manages to pull on our heartstrings, Sheedy was “horrified” throughout the filming process.

Ally Sheedy says she was ‘dead scared’ while filming the lovemaking scene

Andrew McCarthy and Ally Sheedy reunited
Andrew McCarthy and Ally Sheedy reunited | Djamilla Rosa Cochran/WireImage

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According to Sheedy in the Brat Pack memoir titled You Couldn’t Ignore Me If You Tried, filming the sex scene was awful. “I could not wait for that to be over,” she confessed. “I didn’t actually know that Andrew was going to have to be on top of me in a chair, looking as if we were actually having sex.”

Sheedy says that she thought it would just be “kissing and then a romantic fade out, and then that’s it.” 

She adds, “I didn’t know I would have to take my clothes off. I didn’t know any of that until the day of.” 

Luckily, Sheedy didn’t have to be fully naked for the scene. “I had a little bodysuit,” she says. Yet still, this left her feeling “emotionally exposed.”

“I was absolutely out of my mind, horrified,” she admits. “I was dead scared.”

Joel Schumacher made Ally Sheedy burst into tears

Ally Sheedy
Ally Sheedy | Michael Stuparyk/Toronto Star via Getty Images

Schumacher (the late director) was a bit too harsh on Sheedy during the scene. When he didn’t find her performance to be steamy and passionate enough, the director screamed out, “You’re F*CKING! Action!”

After his comment, McCarthy remembers, “Ally burst into tears. And I just stood up, naked, and said, ‘What the f*ck is the matter with you?!’ and Joel said, ‘Oh, I’m sorry.'” 

Ally Sheedy
Ally Sheedy | The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images

“I mean, I love Joel,” says McCarthy. “But it was not the appropriate thing to say at that moment for that actress, or for me.” 

And luckily, Sheedy had the support of her co-star throughout the vulnerable shoot. She says McCarthy was “extremely protective” of her, adding, “I really, really needed it.”