12 Actors and Directors on Shooting Sex Scenes

Alison Nastasi explores the thoughts and feels of 12 Actors and Directors and their thoughts of working with intimate scenes.

Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams

Derek Cianfrance’s film about a crumbling relationship contained one of the most realistic sex scenes ever put to film. The MPAA tried to brand the intimate moment between Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling unsuitable for an R-rating. Gosling called them sexist, reminding them it was a married couple making love, and the NC-17 rating was successfully appealed. That controversy wasn’t the only thing that grabbed people’s attention. Interviews with the actors revealed an intense, emotional on-screen relationship. Gosling talked to Wmagazine about how he approaches filming a sex scene:

“Actors become very professional and proficient about watching out for each other’s light and not stepping on each other’s lines. All of these things are artificial, and you have to strip that away if you’re going to achieve a sense of intimacy. In real life sex is messy… “

When asked if shooting sex scenes made her nervous, Williams admitted they’re difficult, but don’t necessarily shake her:

“When I work I’m not nervous. Work is this fabulous free zone. There’s no judgment. My problems arrive when I’m not working. At a photo shoot, for instance, I feel like a sham. I feel like they’re trying to cover up what’s wrong with me. It’s probably not true, but just my dirty mind at work.”

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