Performing his usual hat-trick of saying three outrageous things in one week, Shia LaBeouf recently announced that he would be having real sex on-camera in Lars von Trier‘s new film Nymphomaniac. That sounded pretty legitimate, since a) von Trier goes there with his films, like the penetrative sex that happened in 2009′s Antichrist; and b) Shia’s other Method acting has been to get drunk and drop acid in upcoming indies. Put those crazy kids together, and it’s sure to get butts in seats! Except, now it sounds like Shia may have misled us a bit. Slashfilm got their hands on a press release from Nymphomaniac, which includes the following clarification regarding the sexytimes contained therein:
Due to reasons of censorship NYMPHOMANIAC will be distributed in different versions. PLEASE NOTE: The sex scenes in the film will be performed with the help of body doubles and visual effects.
Still kinda vague, but Vulture suggests that von Trier might be using the same method as in Antichrist—that is, having the actors simulate sex in wide shots and juxtaposing that with close-ups of adult performers actually doing it. That way, you’re having each set of professionals do what they do best. Now, let’s compare that to what Shia said. He told MTV,
“It is what you think it is. There’s a disclaimer at the top of the script that basically says, ‘we’re doing it for real.’ And anything that is ‘illegal’ will be shot in blurred images. But other than that, everything is happening.”
OK, so that still matches up with the press release, if you’re taking Shia’s “we” to describe the film crew in general and including the hardcore performers. And in talking to USA Today, he shared the amusing anecdote that he’d recently been asked to send a photo of his privates to the producers so that they could hunt down body doubles whose junk resembled his. He also told USA Today that he would be interested in trying out this real-sex thing for the sake of the performance, but that he has limits regarding girlfriend Karolyn Pho (pictured with him above):
“There are rules. I have ethics, I’m not completely out of my mind. But I don’t think there’s anything wrong with sex. Sex is beautiful if it’s done right. And I wouldn’t just do it for no reason… Sex is different than love, and there is a separation, and that middle gap is what the movie’s about.”
So, to sum up: Shia would basically volunteer himself to bone on-camera, but it doesn’t seem like that’s what von Trier has in mind. And yet, I wouldn’t be surprised if the director and/or producers had encouraged Shia to make us all think he was going to have real sex on-screen; consider how much we’ve all promoted the film when it hasn’t even started shooting yet! There shouldn’t be any shame in admitting that it’s all smoke and mirrors. Take, for instance, this piece of trivia from Fight Club:
The sex scene between Tyler (Brad Pitt) and Marla (Helena Bonham Carter) was shot using the same ‘bullet-time’ technique used in The Matrix; stills cameras were set up in a circle around the bed, and each one would take a single shot in sequence. These single frames were then edited together and enhanced with CG, as both Pitt and Bonham Carter were fully clothed in motion capture suits during the shoot.
Honestly, I’m much more fascinated to hear about the mechanics that go into a hot sex scene than to see the kid from Even Stevens railing someone who isn’t his girlfriend.
Photo: Nikki Nelson/WENN.com