6 Horrifying Stories Behind Famous Movie Sex Scenes


Cinema is an art form capable of telling stories that can entertain, reflect, and inspire — but let’s face it, 100 percent of us have sat through a whole movie just on the off chance that there would be even a brief glimpse of nudity. (If you have HBO, make that “a whole TV series.”)

But the truth is, shooting even the steamiest sex scene is secretly as awful and uncomfortable as, well, sex in real life. And then you have famously erotic moments that took the behind-the-scenes awkwardness to a whole new level, like in …


The Wolf Of Wall Street: Margot Robbie’s Sex Scene Left Her Covered In Paper Cuts

Paramount Pictures

Margot Robbie got to live out the fantasies of every ’90s teenager who wanted Leonardo DiCaprio to draw them like his French girls when she appeared in The Wolf Of Wall Street, where she shared a number of pretty steamy scenes with him. The movie tells the story of Wall Street huckster Jordan Belfort — which, frankly, works better when viewed as an Inception sequel in which DiCaprio seriously abuses those dream-entering powers.

Paramount Pictures
After firing his whole thief crew and getting a far better one.

Naturally, there’s a lot of sex in the movie, mostly between Belfort and his wife (played by Robbie). At one point they even do it on top of a huge pile of money, because a scene where they copulate on a bed full of electric bills and soiled pizza boxes would be too depressingly familiar for most of us.

Paramount Pictures

Paramount Pictures
That money is now worth twice as much from having touched the butts of attractive people.

Behind the scenes, though, things were decidedly unsexy. Sure, life could be worse than being paid to simulate sex with an Oscar-winner and former Growing Pains cast member (as long as his name doesn’t contain the words “Kirk” or “Cameron”). It obviously wasn’t too bad a deal for Leo either. But for Robbie, the scene had an unintended consequence — when she got up to get dressed, the crew gasped because her back, they said, was covered in “a thousand red scratches,” as if she’d been whipped. Or like she’d been having sex on top of a pack of rabid cats, we guess.

It seems that, while it may look cool (and might be some kind of complex allegory for America), sex on top of money is super unpractical, as it leaves you with more paper cuts than a bloodthirsty Kinko’s employee. Robbie definitely didn’t recommend it; even the back seat of an antique car on a doomed steamship sounds more comfortable. We should note that, in the interest of journalistic accuracy, we carefully examined every available photo of Robbie taken thereafter and couldn’t find any permanent scars, so there’s that.


Last Tango In Paris: Brando Couldn’t Remember His Lines, Wanted To Write Them On His Co-Star’s Butt

United Artists

Last Tango In Paris is the story of a recently widowed man (played by Marlon Brando) having loads of anonymous sex with a young woman in 1970s Paris. It was directed by Bernardo Bertolucci and, we’re guessing, paid for by the Paris Tourism Board.

United Artists
If Paris hadn’t bid highest, this could have been called Last Tango In Sheboygan, Wisconsin.

But despite its groundbreaking, NC-17-rated portrayal of raw sexuality driven by existential grief, things were pretty goddamn silly behind the scenes. This was mainly due to Brando, who was transitioning from his status as the devastatingly handsome greatest actor alive to the lunatic who refused to wear pants and demanded a dwarf sidekick. We’ve talked before about how this acting legend couldn’t be arsed to learn his lines and relied on cue cards, famously reading his Superman dialogue off of baby Kal-El’s diaper.

Well, according to various biographies, Last Tango In Paris was no exception. Brando found dumber and dumber ways to hide his lines, like the time he scribbled some dialogue down on the sole of his shoe, which must have required some rather elaborate positioning to read (then again, it’s a sex movie). Another scene found him gazing to the heavens over his wife’s dead body — but even that poignant moment hailed by critics was him reading off some cards hidden on a far wall. It’s hilariously obvious when you know what’s going on.

United Artists
“Even if a husband lives 200 fucking years, he’s never going to be able to discover
his wife’s real nature. Wet paint. Do not touch.”

Oddest of all, with so many love scenes leaving no garments to hide cue cards, Brando came up with the suggestion of writing his prompts on Maria Schneider’s rear. Bertolucci said no, but it’s still disturbing to learn that Brando wanted to use his young female co-star’s butt as his personal butt-shaped teleprompter.

For those wondering if at least the filmmaker behind the picture wasn’t also crazy: He was quoted as saying that the actors and actresses making the movie were the “prolongation of my penis” and, “Like Pinocchio’s nose, my penis grows.” So, yup, this Oscar-nominated flick was made by a guy who needed script prompts from an ass and a director who subscribed to the most dubious penile enlargement method ever.


Basic Instinct: The Director Tricked Sharon Stone Into Exposing Herself

TriStar Pictures

The early-’90s thriller Basic Instinct is remembered less as a movie and more as an endurance test for the pause buttons of Blockbuster’s perviest patrons. In the most famous scene, Sharon Stone’s character (an accused killer) is grilled by the police and, instead of the good cop/bad cop routine, they employ the little-known tactic of lighting the interrogation room like an underwater Abercrombie & Fitch and staring at her like she’s 3D puzzle art.

TriStar Pictures

TriStar Pictures
Why does this interrogation room have nicer chairs than most presidential palaces?

Of course, we all know what happens next: She crosses her legs and isn’t wearing any underwear — either because she forgot to put on undies while she was busy murdering people or this is a shameless, throwaway bit of nudity. Still, it’s an intensely erotic scene … that also keeps cutting to fucking Newman from Seinfeld, making one wonder if this whole movie isn’t just some kind of academic project researching boner confusion.

TriStar Pictures

TriStar Pictures
To be fair, every ’90s movie was legally required to hire this guy.

Anyway, while a lot of us were surprised to see Stone’s vagina in a movie, so was Stone. According to her, she was talked into going commando because otherwise the white of her panties would be visible in the shot, but her character’s nudity was supposed to be communicated through “innuendo.” She specifically told the director, Paul Verhoeven, she didn’t want to actually reveal anything on camera. She said, “And he’s like, ‘No, no you’re not going to.’ So I gave him the underwear, put them in the pocket of his shirt.” The director put her underwear in the pocket of his shirt? That’s not a film production; that’s an American Apparel shoot gone … well, alarmingly routine.

Even shittier, no one bothered to inform Stone that her scene had been turned into the cinematic equivalent of a sex offender’s iPhone until she was watching it on the big screen with a crowd of people that almost certainly weren’t all doctors. Adding to the sleaze-factor, Verhoeven claimed he was taking “revenge” on Stone for not doing nudity in Total Recall. Thankfully, Stone barged into the projection booth and slapped Verhoeven in his lying face — something the movie-going public would all want to do only a few years later.

“Why isn’t Jessie freaking out about Slater and the SATs? This movie has no respect for canon.”


Eyes Wide Shut: Tom Cruise’s Part Was Originally Intended For Woody Allen

Warner Bros.

In Stanley Kubrick’s sex-filled final movie, Eyes Wide Shut, Tom Cruise plays a well-to-do New York doctor who gets involved in a creepy underground fuck-fest after his wife (played by Nicole Kidman) admits she likes another dude. A real-life couple at the time, Cruise and Kidman appear in a number of surprisingly graphic scenes, but they were probably just happy to point out that there other crazy cults in the world besides the one they belonged to.

Warner Bros.
“Hail Hydra.” (What cult did you think we were talking about?)

In addition to being naked quite a bit and having simulated sex, Cruise famously pops by a crazy orgy for rich people with Phantom Of The Opera fetishes … but another beloved Hollywood icon almost did those things. Hint: His first name is a synonym for “penis.”

ABC Studios
This is exactly as unfeasible as him voicing the lead character in a DreamWorks family movie.

Turns out Kubrick had been developing the project since the ’60s, when Cruise was presumably just a glint in the eye of the alien overlord who psychically impregnated his mother. According to Kubrick’s long-time producer and brother-in-law, Jan Harlan, the original casting choice to lead the erotic thriller was the poster boy for neuroses and marrying your girlfriend’s kids: Woody Allen — which, given what we now know about the guy, might have ended up testing the boundaries of human regurgitation.

The idea was to make a cheap black-and-white art-house movie with Allen, then a burgeoning comedian, playing the New York doctor. Kubrick put the project aside because it was too difficult at the time, but he tried to pursue it again the ’70s … at which point he thought the lead role was perfect for Steve Martin. This was back when Martin was known for being almost inhumanly wacky, long before he started taking more challenging roles like Cheaper By The Dozen 2 and The Pink Panther 2. If nothing else, we’ve learned that Kubrick apparently thought Tom Cruise was fucking hilarious.

Warner Bros.
“So, anyway, there’s this ancient alien soul in your body making you unhappy, and …”


Masters Of Sex: Michael Sheen Was Vomiting Between Takes

Sony Pictures Television

Masters Of Sex is the Showtime program about Dr. William Masters and Virginia Johnson, pioneers in the field of the academic study of getting busy. It stars Lizzy Caplan and Michael Sheen, whom we’re guessing is the actor Martin Sheen tells people is actually his son.

Sony Pictures Television
It looks feasible.

The show tells the story of the real-life Dr. Masters (who for some reason didn’t change his name to Dr. Phd after attaining his degree) and the research assistant who eventually becomes his partner and wife. Since having a show about Masters without sex would be like making Breaking Bad with no meth or The Walking Dead without petty squabbling, there’s understandably a lot of doing it. One key moment in the show comes when the two partners rub their naughty bits against one another under the guise of furthering their research.

Filming the scene, though, was less erotic and more “morning after your 21st birthday” shitty. For starters, Caplan says, as they approached the moment when Sheen had to touch her breast, she noticed he looked “bad” and his hands were shaky and “clammy.”

Sony Pictures Television
“I’m just such a big fan of you. ‘Hot N Cold’ and ‘California Girls’ meant a lot to me.”

This actually helped Caplan feel better about her own nervousness … until Sheen released her boob and immediately walked over to a garbage can and puked. Unbeknownst to Caplan, Sheen was suffering from food poisoning. After finding out that she wasn’t the cause of his abject nausea, Caplan and Sheen got through the scene, proving that you can eat discount seafood the night before filming a love scene and still perform adequately enough.


The Seven Year Itch: Marilyn Monroe’s Iconic Dress Scene Was Originally Full Of Horny Gawkers

20th Century Fox

When you picture Marilyn Monroe, your mind’s eye likely conjures the iconic scene in which she lets the draft of a subway train get to second base.

20th Century Fox
New York’s mole people masturbated themselves into oblivion after this.

The scene is from the Billy Wilder movie The Seven Year Itch, about some guy’s midlife crisis and not a particularly virulent strain of chlamydia. But, despite the timelessness of the image, it has a pretty terrible backstory. The original shoot of the scene was done on location in New York, not to capture a sense of authenticity not possible on a soundstage but to drum up some cheap publicity. A good 5,000 people gathered around — less to watch cinema history be made and more to gawk at Monroe’s legs and take mental images for later use.

20th Century Fox
Their eyeballs now fetch thousands on eBay.

The mostly male crowd shouted things like, “Higher! Higher!” probably referring to her dress and not just the American economy of the ’50s. Of course, a crowd shouting lewd comments is usually antithetical to moviemaking, and not surprisingly the scene had to be totally reshot on a soundstage. But, because his endgame was seemingly creating public interest in his movie even at the expense of his star’s dignity, Wilder continued to shoot the scene because of the newspaper reporters gathered, for at least 15 takes.

Some even suspect that this event may have led to her divorce from Joe DiMaggio, who supposedly stormed off the set because, according to Wilder, he “didn’t like his wife putting herself for display.” Of course, this is coming from the guy who was actually the one putting her on display instead of making the damn movie.

J.M. McNab co-hosts the pop culture nostalgia podcast Rewatchability, which can also be found on iTunes. Follow him on Twitter @Rewatchability.

Also check out The 12 Most Unintentionally Hilarious Movie Sex Scenes Ever and 24 Sex Scenes Too Weird For Anything Other Than Video Games.

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