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Michael Douglas on how to choreograph a sex scene

By Agence France-Presse Published May 18, 2023 9:53 am

Veteran movie star Michael Douglas knows a thing or two about shooting a sex scene, having starred in some of the steamiest films of the 1980s and 1990s. 

Speaking to an audience at the Cannes Film Festival on Wednesday, May 17, the star of Basic Instinct and Fatal Attraction was dismissive about the new trend for intimacy coordinators, which are used to ensure actors feel comfortable during filming.

"Now you can't do anything without an intimate coach," the 78-year-old said.

"But the secret—since I've become the expert on sex scenes, I guess—is rehearsal. Like you do a fight scene, you have to work out the choreography. You start very slowly and work your way up to a faster pace," Douglas continued. 

"If you're doing a love scene, it's important for the lady that you don't take advantage, so you tell them beforehand I'm going to put my hand here, you put your hand there and then we kiss-kiss."

"If you're successful, it looks impulsive, but it's all very choreographed." 

Douglas received an honorary Palme d'Or at the festival on Tuesday in celebration of his storied career, which has included hits like Fatal Attraction, The American President, and his Oscar-winning turn in Wall Street, as well as producing one of Hollywood's most beloved movies, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.

He has brought five films to Cannes—and said the most awkward was certainly Basic Instinct in 1992.

The film's lead actress, Sharon Stone, has since criticized director Paul Verhoeven, claiming he tricked her into the intimate shots filmed during the infamous interrogation scene.

The film's explicit sex scenes were "unique even for France," Douglas said. 

"Watching those sex scenes on the biggest screen I'd ever seen... we had a very quiet dinner afterwards. Everyone was digesting it," he added with a laugh. 

He had warmer memories, too—especially since his father, legendary actor Kirk Douglas, met his second wife Anne Buydens at the festival. 

"Before social media, we had more secrets, quiet gatherings without anyone knowing," he said. 

"I was talking to Leo DiCaprio about this—now you get a sighting and the next thing you know there are 1,000 people. You don't have the freedom we had before." (AFP)