At this point, we already know exactly how much sex is in "Fifty Shades of Grey" -- and then some. But since the DVD with all its sure-to-be-spectacular "behind the scenes" stuff is yet to be revealed, we still don't know how director Sam Taylor-Johnson, Dakota Johnson, and Jamie Dornan made all of that between the sheets magic happen... or do we?
The New York Times published a very interesting piece on sex scenes on Thursday (February 26), in which "Fifty" cinematographer Seamus McGarvey, "Girls" producer Judd Apatow, and more explain how they made their movie magic happen. A lot goes into it, but here are our seven favorite facts about BTS sex scenes:
The thrusting has to be improvised.
“If it’s overly rehearsed or overly thought through, it seems like a bad soft-core porn on Cinemax," Apatow explained.
For "Fifty Shades," however, some rehearsal was necessary.
"We did have rehearsals and to make the actors feel comfortable initially, look at how we might photograph the sex," McGarvey explains. "Also, that suited the first few sex scenes, to have a slight awkwardness to them; the camera would be more at a distance. In the Red Room, when things heat up a little bit, that was less choreographed. Sometimes we would use a remotely operated camerahead so the actors wouldn’t have an operator leaning in."
Push-ups lead to believable muscle contractions.
The muscle contractions your arms make in push-ups look similar to the muscle contractions in real sex... so actors do them right before takes to look the part.
Just like IRL, alcohol helps.
According to "Fatal Attraction" director Adrian Lyne, Glenn Close and Michael Douglas had champagne and margaritas to loosen up before their passionate, extramarital love scenes.
Junk can be edited out in post... sometimes.
Per Lyne, Douglas' testicles were a problem on "Fatal."
"We noticed in the cutting room literally one frame where his testicles were visible. You couldn’t cut it out — it’s very, very brief."
As for "Fifty Shades," "Jamie [Dornan] had a cover over his penis. Dakota [Johnson] had kind of a patch that went over her pubic area, and right round her whole body," McGarvey explains.
Pubes can be added in post.
That impressive down-there mane you saw on Johnson in "Fifty Shades?" Err, not real.
"We were in the curious situation, in postproduction, of adding [pubic hair]," McGarvey says. "I wouldn’t say it was one of the highlights of my career, but it certainly was one of the most surreal scenarios. We did have a butt double for Dakota. I had the pleasure of casting a nontattooed bottom — Surreal Scenario No. 2."
OH, and do you want to know what else was added to "Fifty" in post? "Some of the whipping!"
Sometimes, three's company.
Or four... or five. According to the panel of movie sexperts, even though crews are scaled back to make the actors more comfortable, the small number of crew who do show up can get very up close and personal... like, in the bed personal.
"I have done sex scenes before that have more abandon, for instance, in 'We Need to Talk About Kevin,'" McGarvey says. "When I did that scene with Tilda Swinton and John C. Reilly, with a 5D [camera], I was literally under the covers."
Even actors fret cellulite.
And boobs, and butts, and everything in between.
Lyne says an actor on one of his films needed to be reassured about his "manhood," while Amy Schumer admits she skipped a solid meal or so for her latest sex scenes.
"Beforehand I tried to look good; once they’re rolling, it’s the last thing on my mind," she says. "[But] I definitely skipped Taco Tuesday that day."