Working as an actor requires being open to some crazy things. Having to film a love scene can give even the most courageous and reputable actors some stage fright. But imagine if you had to do it for real? I mean, full on penetrative intercourse. You’d think it would be illegal, but plenty of movies have incorporated real sex between actors in order to establish a sort of genuine authenticity to the film.
While some may think that esteemed actors engaging in that kind of behavior for an movie is gratuitous and inappropriate, many actors have agreed to the conditions. Racy and controversial director Lars von Trier has utilized unsimulated scenes for several of his films, including his raunchy movie Nymphomaniac.
These types of scenes in film can be crucial to the story that writers and directors are trying to tell. But at what point is the boundary between real and fantasy crossed? For a lot of artists, both behind-the-scenes and in front of them, there is no line.
You may never have heard of many of these films. That’s probably because their rating has made distribution relatively difficult. But in the age of the Internet, these sexually graphic films are fair game. Some you may be surprised to find easily recognizable titles here. Maybe it wasn’t visibly shown, but the intercourse was indeed real. This is a roundup of some of the most infamous films where actors really did it on sets for the camera. Keep reading to find out who they are.
Nymphomaniac: Volume I
Lars von Trier’s controversial two-part Nymphomaniac featured no small amount of unsimulated scenes. When actor Shia LaBeouf signed on as a love interest opposite Stacy Martin, rumors spread about their performance for the film. Lars von Trier had already mentioned his film would feature the real deal. LaBeouf initially said he agreed to participate in the scenes. However, when the film finally premiered, it was revealed the actual deed was performed between two adult actors. LaBeouf and Martin’s bodies were superimposed with CGI for those scenes.
Actors: Uma Thurman, Willem Dafoe, Shia LaBeouf, Christian Slater, Stellan Skarsgård, + more
Gaspar Noé’s 2015 film, Love, featured real love between actors Karl Glusman and Aomi Muyock. But Noé took his romance film to the next level by producing it in 3D! Love is first and foremost about sex in 3D and only secondly about the dramatic love story between the two protagonists. Most of it was not choreographed and Noé admitted he hoped his film would make men and women both feel, well, “excited.”
Actors: Karl Glusman, Klara Kristin, Aomi Muyock
Robert Pattinson’s “O” face (as Salvador Dalí in Little Ashes) seemed a little too real to audiences. And they weren’t wrong. Pattinson admitted he touched himself onscreen for the scene in order to make it realistic. According to Pattinson, faking the scene “just doesn’t work… My… face is recorded for eternity,” he said.
Actors: Robert Pattinson, Arly Jover, Matthew McNulty, Simón Andreu, Esther Nubiola, + more
Penthouse Magazine founder Bob Guccione produced the intense historical drama Caligula about the fall of the Roman emperor of the same name. It can’t be all that surprising the founder of an adult men’s magazine wanted to make a movie with unsimulated sex. The movie, starring Helen Mirren and Malcolm McDowell, featured after-the-fact scenes Guccione filmed in private. Although the leads of the film didn’t do it with one another, Guccione’s personal Penthouse Pets filmed unsimulated scenes for post-production.
Actors: Helen Mirren, Peter O’Toole, Malcolm McDowell, John Gielgud, Patrick Allen, + more
The Brown Bunny
The Brown Bunny is the independent Cannes film that made Chloë Sevigny a household name. It’s also the film where she notoriously gave costar and director Vincent Gallo very real and very graphic oral treatment. Many were suspicious about the authenticity of the scene between the two stars, but Sevigny herself has admitted it is indeed real. The movie polarized audiences at Cannes, but it has lived in infamy for the scene that blew Sevigny onto the Hollywood landscape as a fashion icon and successful actress.
Actors: Chloë Sevigny, Cheryl Tiegs, Vincent Gallo, Rick Doucette, Mary Morasky, + more
Yet another Lars von Trier film, Antichrist stars Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg as two characters struggling to come to terms with their toddler’s accidental death. The film takes on a whole new definition of horror, and features intense sex scenes between Dafoe and Gainsbourg. One scene in particular has been credited as unsimulated. However, it did not feature the two actors, but instead utilized body doubles for the scene. It’s hardly sexy and mostly remembered for being beyond creepy.
Actors: Willem Dafoe, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Storm Acheche Sahlstrøm
Pink Flamingos is considered one of the grossest movies ever made. It starred a drag queen named Divine who has been labeled “the filthiest person alive.” Unsurprisingly, this movie is mostly known for its crude scenes and even cruder sex scenes. In likely the film’s most famous moment, Divine services a man who is playing her son in the film. The movie was banned in several countries, including Australia and Canada, for this scene alone.
Actors: John Waters, Divine, Mink Stole, Edith Massey, David Lochary, + more
Michael Winterbottom’s 9 Songs came under fire for featuring real intercourse between actors Kieran O’Brien and Margo Stilley. And not just once – a few times, and in different angles. While production filmed nine live performances from prominent rock bands, it’s mostly remembered for the deed – not the dudes.
Actors: Alex Kapranos, Margo Stilley, Kieran O’Brien, Michael Nyman, Nick McCarthy, + more
Wetlands is not a film for the faint of heart. It stars Carla Juri as an extremely “active” teenager who refuses to uphold even the most fundamental hygienic standards of cleanliness. She also engages in some lewd activities, including gettin’ down with vegetables. In one scene, a group of men relieve themselves on top of a pizza, which was in no way sugarcoated for the big screen.
Actors: Meret Becker, Axel Milberg, Edgar Selge, Harry Baer, Christoph Letkowski, + more
Intimacy tells the story of two strangers who engage in anonymous sex. Actors Mark Rylance and Kerry Fox participated in unsimulated scenes for the roles. The film, which features Fox giving Rylance the oral treatment, is surprisingly considered mainstream.
Actors: Marianne Faithfull, Timothy Spall, Mark Rylance, Kerry Fox, Susannah Harker, + more