‘Masters of Sex’ star Lizzy Caplan’s Advice on Shooting Nude Scenes: “You should feel protected by your crew and the actors around you”

lizzy-caplan-masters-of-sexLizzy Caplan has had a successful career for a young actress, but getting there hasn’t been easy. In an interview with BGB Mag, the Masters of Sex star talked about the struggles of being “on avail” for a role and how the auditioning process never gets any easier.

Caplan plays the groundbreaking sex pioneer Virginia Johnson in the Showtime series. She was attached to the part for months before the contract was officially signed. The 31-year-old actress shared what that endless wait was like.

“It was not the most fun process, as you know. It took a while to be officially signed on to the show. It remained unofficial for months. So I mostly walked around with the news that I was to play Virginia as a secret, since I didn’t want to suffer the humiliation of telling everybody I got the part, then having to call all those same people and tell them that it didn’t work out. Which I’ve had to do before,” she said. “All actors and actresses seem to have their ‘firing story’. Pilot season happened while I was waiting to hear officially about Masters, and I didn’t have the easiest time convincing my agents and managers that even the POSSIBILITY of getting to do Masters of Sex was infinitely more appealing to me than the real, tangible pilot jobs that were being presented to me. But (somewhat miraculously), it all worked out.”

Caplan is also familiar with the naked territory that comes with her role. She’s previously had to do nude scenes in her six-episode appearance on True Blood. The Mean Girls actress offered some advice to approaching those vulnerable moments.

“My advice would be that it’s much scarier anticipating shooting a sex scene for the first time than it is actually shooting it. You should feel protected by your crew and the actors around you. And remember, you’re surrounded by people who work very hard to light you well and find flattering angles of you. Your crew are your teammates, and everybody wants you to look good…unless, I suppose, the script calls for the opposite,” she explained.

Even with Caplan’s successful career, she has dealt with times when the acting work has dried up and that can be a tough obstacle for any actor to deal with. She shared what got her through those challenging times.

“I have no college degree. No skills in any other area. I think I needed to feel like it was all or nothing for me in this business, because, of course, there are periods when quitting starts to sound pretty good. Or the logical option. You just have to believe (during the hard stretches, the unemployed stretches) that eventually people are going to start picking up what you’re putting down — because this business has many varied and interesting ways of busting up your self-esteem.” said the Showtime star. “Every time I was told ‘no’ for a job I’d really wanted/needed, I used it as fuel for the fire. More incentive to prove them all wrong. I think in the past, I needed to get that dramatic about it in my head in order to keep going.”

While the auditioning process doesn’t get any easier whether you are a new or veteran actor, Caplan offered some sound advice for young artists in the entertainment business.

She shared, “Everybody in those rooms wants you to do well, not fail. And figure out a way to not be nervous for the big auditions. And when you figure that out, please let me know the secret.”

Masters of Sex airs on Sundays on Showtime.

1 Comment

  1. Thomas Maier

    October 15, 2013 at 6:47 am

    If you’d like to know more about Masters and Johnson — or my book “Masters of Sex” which is the basis for the television series — please contact ThomasMaierBooks [dot] com. On this website, there is a lot of material about the making of this new show from my biography. You can also obtain the book “Masters of Sex” at the Showtime website.

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