Kirsten Dunst: Female directors are better at filming sex scenes in a few takes


Kirsten Dunst was at CinemaCon last week promoting her Sofia Coppola film, The Beguiled, which comes out in June. She wore this little Gucci print dress on the red carpet and I think it’s really cute. I don’t like the bow thing at the neck or the sweatband cuffs on the sleeves but the cut and pattern are darling on her.

The Beguiled (trailer below), a remake of the 1971 Clint Eastwood film, is about a group of pious and seemingly chaste women living in the Civil War era South who come to be locked in their home with Colin Farrell. You can see their problem, of course – remaining chaste while locked in a house with Colin Farrell is a challenge to great for most to meet. The pious part would be okay, I’d thank God every day. Anyway, the movie gets quite racy with several of the ladies falling prey to Colin’s character’s charms, which results in many love scenes. Going off the trailer, it looks like the consent with each lady varies. Marc Malkin from E! interviewed Dunst during CinemaCon about her sex scenes in which she is shown on the floor having her clothing ripped off. She said that she doesn’t like to do sex scenes but prefers a female director because women are more sensitive to the situation.

If you’ve watched the trailer for director Sofia Coppola’s The Beguiled, you may have noticed that it looks like Colin Farrell and Kirsten Dunst have quite the sex scene.

“I am on the floor and my clothes are being ripped,” Dunst explains.

No surprise, but Dunst is never that comfortable shooting such scenes.

“I don’t like it, I don’t like it,” she told me recently at CinemaCon. “To be honest, I’m like, ‘Let’s get this over with as fast as possible.'”

Fortunately, this time around, she was working once again with Coppola. Their previous films include The Virgin Suicides and Marie Antoinette. Male directors want “to shoot it from every angle,” Dunst said. “At least Sofia’s like, ‘We’re going to get this done quick, we’re just gonna shoot it here, we’ll do three takes, be done.'”

[From E! News]

As the article states, Dunst and Coppola have worked together before so that must be a relief to Dunst when considering a role like this. Many actors have said they dislike filming love scenes and I can see why. It really bothered me what Dunst said about male directors wanting to go until they get every angle. It just reads like someone who is getting more out of the experience than a shot.

As for Farrell, he recognizes that women have traditionally been exploited more than men when it comes to love scenes. His approach is to, “just [do] whatever your female dance partner needs.” He goes on to say that includes not relinquishing all control to the women if she feels it’s patronizing. Basically, Farrell is promoting listening to his scene partner as to which approach makes her comfortable. I feel like Farrell gets it because when he started to answer the question, he said, “look – all jokes aside.” I make jokes about wanting to be locked in a house with Farrell but truthfully, I would be uncomfortable as hell filming any kind of love scene. Were I to film one, I would far prefer a director and a co-star who were considerate of that fact.

Now watching loves scenes, that’s another story…

Here is The Beguiled trailer:



Photo credit: WENN Photos and Getty Images

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46 Responses to “Kirsten Dunst: Female directors are better at filming sex scenes in a few takes”

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  1. original kay says:

    which begs the question, why do we even need to see love scenes? surely people can imagine what is happening?
    I don’t, personally, need to see 2 actors pretending to have sex, make love, especially in light of how often we hear they feel exploited.

    • ichsi says:

      I’m a bit torn about this. Some sex scenes like the “romantic” yes-they-really-love-each-other ones, or the male-tough-hero-gets-his-reward scenes I could do without. There are so many ways to show that they just frickle-frackled without having an actress undress in front of half the male crew. Never mind that I hardly ever find these scenes sexy or inspiring since they mostly look cheesy, uncomfortable or plain painful. If the sex however is a proper part of the storyline, if it’s used to show manipulation or seduction for example, in a not too exploitative way, they can be really interesting. If done well.

      • ell says:

        yeah it’s the difference between gratuitous and a scene that is actually part of the plot. that said, even then there’s no reason to be too graphic and make the actors uncomfortable.

    • QueenB says:

      There is nothing wrong with it per se but “love scenes” are usually just “look at celeb naked” scenes. Most movies could very well do without a love scenes and so many movies get romantic storylines shoehorned into them that dont even make sense. You can make movies without that. But it sells well. I mean Hollywood is mostly about being sexy not about acting skill or storytelling.

    • Adrien says:

      I am torn. I watched Lust, Caution In an Asian filmfest and I thought, “wow, too many unnecessary, gratitious sex scenes. Good thing I am a gay guy otherwiseI would have been titilated with all the hetero sex (shame, Ang Lee held back in sex scenes in Brokeback). Then saw it again years later but this time they edited out most of the explicit scenes, I felt short-changed. I felt the scenes were needed. Nudity and graphic scenes of HBO shows are cut out in some countries but I don’t feel I am missing out when I see the edited version.
      Last month, I re-watched two foreign films, Y Tu Mama Tambien and Blue is the Warmest Color. The sex scenes were absolutely necessary in YTMT. Otoh, I felt the girls were exploited in BITWC.

      • NotSoSocialButterfy says:

        I watch many Netflix series, and here is where you will find an absolutely ridiculous amount of gratuitous sex. It becomes burdensome to the story and I get to a point where I fast forward to it to get back to the meat of the plot. It’s rather annoying, so now I have become hooked on their Euro-policier dramas, often the subtitled ones. Hotel Beau Sejour was fantastic! Much more entertaining.

      • teacakes says:

        The girls of BITWC actually did feel exploited, and said as much. I’m not surprised.

    • teacakes says:

      Except that sex, and how people behave when they’re having sex or how they feel in the moment, can actually be important to tell you something about a character. I mean, imagine, say, Y Tu Màma También with the sex scenes – and all the dialogue in those scenes – cut out. If it’s done in a way that respects the actors, it’s not an issue for me.

      (Also please note – I said it CAN BE important and essential to character development – not that it is. There are plenty of gratuitous sex scenes that really serve no point, I could do without those.)

    • Tiny Martian says:

      I don’t really like sex scenes either, to be honest. although it really depends on the plot and the way the scene is shot. I actually get bored with lengthy, graphic scenes, and just want them to get on with it, lol! Obviously, if the scene advances the plot, then it is necessary, and I’m fine with brief scenes that actually help to tell the story. But I get really turned off when it seems overly detailed and gratuitous, because then I just feel like I’m watching the actors be exploited and that makes me sad.

      Then again, I feel the same way about violent scenes, or scenes involving bodily functions like vomiting or using the toilet. I have an imagination, and I’d honestly be happy to never again see an actor getting his/her face smashed in, or spewing vomit, or wiping their bum, etc. There are plenty of ways to imply what’s happening without literally showing it to me, and for the most part, seeing it does absolutely nothing to enhance my experience.

  2. ichsi says:

    “You can see their problem, of course – remaining chaste while locked in a house with Colin Farrell is a challenge to great for most to meet.The pious part would be okay, I’d thank God every day.” BAHAHAHAHA, that just made my day. You’re funny and spot on about the jokes aside part.

  3. Patricia says:

    You know how some actors elevate a film just by being in it? Yeah… Nicole Kidman is the opposite of that. I’m sure she’s a lovely person, she truly seems to be. But her presence in any movie makes it feel far less serious and deep to me. She just feels so corny and wooden and plastic.

    • chick b. says:

      I think she’s done some really good work in the past but I have to say I avoid films when I see her name in the credits. A small part of that may have been due to the TC association, but I do find her overly mannered and her although I think she’s beautiful her appearance can put me off a bit.

      I knew someone who spent some time on the set of The Interpreter. They said they’d never seen anything like the way Kidman was shielded; she appeared that way physically and emotionally. They also said they had to trash the love scenes because Kidman could not move her face to convey any type of pleasure (to be fair, the scene was with Sean Penn so fillers may not have been the only factor).

      • Jeesie says:

        The Interpreter was shot 13 years ago. She’d just started dialling up the Botox, but her face was still perfectly expressive then (and she had plenty of emotional scenes in that film, so a love scene wouldn’t have been the biggest problem even if her face wasn’t expressive).

        She didn’t start going overboard until a couple of years later, around the time she filmed Australia.

    • NotSoSocialButterfy says:

      She cannot really emote anymore with her plasticized and frozen face.

    • Millenial says:

      Oh, I feel the complete opposite! Nicole is a great actress. Please read Anne Helen Petersen’s recent article “How Many Times Does Nicole Kidman Have to Prove Herself?”

      • Patricia says:

        I don’t really need to read an article to have an opinion on an actress’ work. I’ve seen her in plenty of films, i only somewhat enjoyed her in “The Others”. She has not proven herself to me.

      • Rocio says:

        I agree. Nicole is a solid performer, not matter her botox or plastic surgeries. She’s always committed in her performances and she can carry a movie.

    • Jeesie says:

      Huh, I think she’s a fantastic actress who’s done a lot of really interesting work. Dogville, Fur, Birth, Stoker, Rabbit Hole, To Die For, The Human Stain, Eyes Wide Shut, Margot at the Wedding, The Others, Portrait of a Lady, and of course The Blue Room.

      Her success rate with bigger films is low, but I always get excited about the smaller films she’s connected to.

  4. littlemissnaughty says:

    I can’t watch the trailer right now because I’m at work but the plot sounds so strange.

    I enjoy Kiki’s style a lot. Somehow it never looks like the clothes are wearing her.

    ETA: I’m a terrible employee, I just watched on mute at least. Goddamn. I always forget how damn CHARMING Colin Farrell is even with the sound off!

    • Esmom says:

      Ha, I came here to say the same thing about Kiki’s style, I love it.

      And I get why she’d be more comfortable with a female director, especially Sofia since they have a relationship. I am more comfortable with female masseuses and doctors.

    • tegteg says:

      I love her style too! Somehow she avoids looking too TWEE, even with bowties and flowery patterns.

      I still don’t understand how certain people (Riri, Kiki, to name a few) can just WERK clothes. What’s the secret? Posture? Confidence? Or is it simply knowing what works on your body?

      • littlemissnaughty says:

        Drives me mad. I love fashion but you wouldn’t know it if you met me. I mean I can dress myself, I even reach “oh nice!” levels sometimes but I’m NOT fashionable or trendy or anything. I like timeless on me. Mostly because I don’t like to shop and want to be able to wear things for years.

        Having said that, I would LOVE to be one of those ladies who just know how to wear clothes. Some people in the public eye look like someone dressed them (which someone did) and others just have style. Dang.

      • Esmom says:

        I think confidence has a lot to do with it. It doesn’t hurt to have an innate sense of style either. Carolyn Bessette Kennedy was my favorite style icon back in the day, she could make anything work, from jeans and knit winter hats to couture gowns, and she always looked perfect and perfectly effortless.

    • teacakes says:

      Kiki is one of my eternal style faves, she just has a way of pulling things off.

      I think it helps that she has actual personal taste that goes beyond ‘let’s show off my boobs/legs’. I mean, I can’t name too many style darlings who’d go to the Oscars in their own shoes as she did.

    • Tiny Martian says:

      I’m not sure whether this version adheres to the plot of the original or not, but the 1971 “Beguiled” with Clint Eastwood is one of those movies that I will never forget watching. It’s a very bizarre, ominous and disturbing film that still makes me shudder just to think of it. I was happy to hear that Colin Farrell will be playing the lead, because I think he could definitely pull it off.

    • Rocio says:

      People rave Audrey Hepburn or Grace Kelly styles but imo they’re a bit outdated nowadays. I think a modern style icon would be Kiki and not those fashionistas like the Palermo girl. She always looks on point and I love that she keeps wearing her favourite shoes and sometimes her own dresses. Style is more about the person than the clothes per se.

      • teacakes says:

        yeah, those Palermo etc girls are always jumping on the next trend and looking like fashion victims.

        Kiki otoh may get a lot of stuff borrowed or use a stylist, but her taste has been consistent enough over the course of a decade and several stylists, that it’s fairly evident her personal style is actually reflective of her and not just a stylist. Though I think what really tips her over into modern style icon category is that she seems comfortable with herself and enjoys her clothes.

      • Mocha says:

        Rocio, you nailed it. Olivia Palermo looks like a fashion victim all the time. That’s not what fashion is about. I remember her wearing this PJ striped outfit on some NYC sidewalk and she just looked ridiculous. Someone fashion-boring to the fashion elite such as Sandra Bullock apparently is one of the best dressed according to surveys of fashion plebs/civilians and her red carpet dresses always get the most requests from fashion plebs. I agree Kiki is one of the most interesting ones but I’m probably biased because I appreciate her acting. Colin Farrel is also a very good actor.

    • Zuzus Girl says:

      I remember the original movie (I’m an old fart.) It was kind of odd and disturbing in a way. The male character is a Yankee soldier and he’s very manipulative. The women mostly turn on each other. Something about it crepped me out as a teen so I doubt I’ll be watching the remake.

  5. Mannori says:

    I was just talking about this with a filmmaker some days ago. He specifically mentioned a scene on House of cards of an episode directed by Robin Wright. To those who watch the series: remember the scene of Remy fingering Jackie? It was sublimely shot, the sensibility and the subtle sensuality made it absolutely one of the hottest scenes without even showing a nipple. I hate that I have to write this: you could tell that such approach to sex comes from a woman at the helm.

  6. Mia4s says:

    I am glad that the vulnerability of actresses in these situations is being more acknowledged and hopefully addressed. I do feel for the actors (well the good guys) too though. Even the most gentlemanly and well-meaning actors when simulating certain movements is likely to…well…respond. I liked Samuel L Jackson’s line “I want to apologize in advance for getting excited….or I want to apologize in advance for not getting excited.” 😏

  7. Svea says:

    That makes perfect sense to me.

  8. jlee says:

    My favorite movie sex scene is in Stealing Beauty. Liv Tyler did a beautiful job in that film.

  9. Shambles says:

    This sounds sexy. I’m into it.

  10. Rocio says:

    I wonder why they still film sex scenes. Not a prude but if you want to watch “pretended” sex, watch porn. I don’t think performers enjoy them. I don’t.

    • Jae says:

      You think porn performers, at least most of them, enjoy it?

      Like, sorry, but the idea that a better substitute would be watching much less protected and much more exploited (and quite often much worse compensated) people, most of them women, be used in much more extreme and degrading ways is… disturbing.

  11. Bridget says:

    Not trying to be mean, but what’s with the write ups lately from authors who aren’t familiar with the subject? The Beguiled isn’t just about a few women trapped in their home with Colin Farrel.

  12. diamondRottweiler says:

    I am so hoping Coppola does something with this other than produce another “bitches be crazy” gothic drag fest. This trailer makes me very nervous. Because it’s definitely being pitched that way….

  13. adastraperaspera says:

    If I woke up tomorrow as a straight woman, Colin would be my ideal partner choice, no lie.

  14. Margo S. says:

    Just saw the trailer. Looks amazing. Loving the female director (we need more!). I’ve always liked Kirsten. And Nicole Kidman looks perfect in this part. Looking forward to seeing this!

  15. Her H!gn3ss says:

    she looks HAWT in the black dress, luv her!!!!

  16. Elle says:

    It’s simple. TV series and movies with sex scenes bring in viewers. Folks are quick to blame “Hollywood” or “the industry” but it’s audiences who bring in revenue and drive most content.

  17. Jenn4037 says:

    I’m disturbed watching Collin kiss Elle. Too May-December for me.

  18. serena says:

    I really look forward to this movie coming out..

  19. Mocha says:

    Sadly I’ve been reading celeb news to remember when Colin Farrel was the up-and-coming actor in HW and doing all these interviews about humping everyone in sight in HW, and how Kirsten Dunst was saying how gross he was. I wonder how they got on on set.