How awkward is it to film a sex scene? Celebrities spill the tea
How do celebrities manage to look so cool while being completely exposed? Sometimes sex is not very flattering and yet actors always end up looking good while remaining in character. Sex can be intimidating for some and probably adding a crew & a camera hovering above the bed doesn’t make things easier.
There’s a lot of planning that goes into sex scenes in movies. That natural steamy moment that we all get to see on the big screen has a lot of work behind it. Some of the things that make the scene more believable can actually be awkward for actors. We made a list of some things that make movie sex scenes possible but are definitely awkward.
Choreography or improv
Different directors have different approaches to filming sex scenes. Sometimes the movie allows actors to experiment during intimate takes. If the chemistry is there and the actors are okay with it, improvisation can make a sex scene feel more natural.
For instance, the director of Dallas Buyers Club Matthew said that McConaughey had creative freedom in the sex scenes. It wasn’t scripted that he would turn Reese Witherspoon on her back but it worked so they rolled with that.
There are some sex scenes that need more structure depending on the movie’s context. For instance, when actors have to play roles where they have a different orientation than the one they do in real life, there has to be a more detailed script. Directors can decide to choreograph every kiss, touch, and position to achieve the right vibe.
Daniel Radcliffe said that when shooting Kill Your Darlings, he had to be advised to create a more realistic gay sex scene. He was instructed on how to move and react to everything so the scene would feel more real.
Modesty patches & tube socks
How nude are celebrities really? We’ve all probably witnessed some full nude shot that leaves nothing to the imagination, but most films don’t include such graphic content. Actors can wear special garments to remain somewhat covered while shooting a steamy scene. These include nipple pasties & thongs for everyone.
Modesty patches are used to cover the crotch without wearing underwear. That doesn’t work for people with penises, though. Apparently a good solution is to just wear a tube sock to hide the penis during a sex scene. Both of these sound awkward AF.
Ryan Reynolds said that when shooting a sex scene with Olivia Wilde for The Change Up, Olivia had drawn smiley faces on the pasties so when the bra came off, Ryan was thrown off and he forgot his lines. Also, when Ryan grabbed Olivia’s breast for the scene, the pasties came off and he tried to cover her by grabbing her breasts again. Wardrobe malfunction happens to the best of us.
Most of the time, directors choose to shoot sex scenes in a closed set. This means that only part of the crew is present to make actors feel more comfortable. Just imagine having people moving all around the set while actors are trying to film a passionate take. An open set with the usual staff would probably be very distracting.
It’s hard to imagine celebrities having stage fright. However, shooting a sex scene can be nerve-wracking. Actors need to find ways to gather courage before filming an intimate scene with a colleague. For instance, Jennifer Lawrence & Chris Pratt had a glass of wine before shooting their sex scene in Passengers.
Recently, the film industry has relied on intimacy coordinators to choreograph and guide actors through sex scenes. Ita O’Brien has coordinated the sex scenes in Sex Education which helped the young actors feel more comfortable.
While intimacy coordinators have been used mostly on TV series, we can expect them to start collaborating in films more often in the future.