Ewan McGregor on Filming Sex Scenes: “Sometimes it’s messy, sometimes it’s guilty, sometimes it’s embarrassing, and you’ve got to tap into that”

I recently got a chance to see Perfect Sense, and I was particularly fascinated by the film’s premise: a virus causes humanity to gradually lose each one of its senses.

Starring in it is Ewan McGregor, who plays a chef, and since that job particularly involves the use of the senses he is particularly affected by the troublesome state of the world.

Opposite him is Eva Green, a woman who lives above the restaurant he works in and with whom he builds a relationship as the world crumbles around them.  McGregor talks about the role with New York Magazine, focusing on training to become a chef and filming sex scenes with Eva Green.

As it turns out, McGregor actually racked up some hours in the kitchen in preparation for the role, and it wasn’t easy — especially when he was drafted to assist!  He says, “I worked with an old friend of mine, Guy Cowans. He has a place called Guy’s in Glasgow, and he’s also a movie-set caterer in Britain. He became the chef advisor for the movie, for all of the sequences in the kitchen. So I worked with him for about a week, observing, about two or three hours a night, and I actually ended up helping out. I spent a few nights doing service, when it got really chaotic. [Laughs.] I used to be a dishwasher and a waiter when I was 14, 15, 16, so I do have some experience with that, but it’s fascinating to watch them keep the orders straight — what steak to cook for how long and all of that. It’s really quite something to see. So I was taught how to make several dishes that we incorporated into the scenes. Guy orchestrated most of it; we wanted it to be realistic, for our movements to make sense, so it looked like we knew what we were doing.” 

Of course, probably far more enjoyable were the sex scenes with Bond girl Eva Green.  McGregor says he has no problems with sex scenes, especially since some actors seem to portray them so unrealistically.  He explains “I don’t shy away from being naked… If instead of being naked, you’re clutching at a bed sheet, that’s nonsense. But I don’t like to see the generic Hollywood sex scenes with the bodies glistening — sex is not like it is in some Hollywood movies! Sometimes it’s messy, sometimes it’s guilty, sometimes it’s embarrassing, and you’ve got to tap into that.”

…Did McGrergor just use the term “tap into that” when talking about a sex scene?  Yes, yes he did.

Perfect Sense is now in limited release and expands on February 10.  It is also available on Amazon Instant Video and iTunes.

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