Was it for real? Movie sex scenes they still talk about
With the row over Don’t Look Now, we look at five other famous scenes film fans still wonder about
The 'did they, didn't they?' debate about the bedroom scene between Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland in Nic Roeg's 1973 film Don't Look Now - a former Paramount executive claims he watched the actors having sex for real, while Sutherland still insists they were acting - has focused attention on cinema's most risque sex scenes. Here are five other ultra-realistic scenes which have had cinema-goers asking, "Was it for real?"
9 Songs: Michael Winterbottom's infamous 2004 film is often said to be the most sexually-explicit mainstream film ever released. Telling the story of a couple's whirlwind romance through 9 different songs and a wealth of stark sexual scenes, there is no doubt here – the sex was real. "I got told I was a whore and a slut and how could I do it," recalled actress Margo Stilley, who asked not be named in the early publicity interviews for the film.
Performance: Don't Look Now wasn't Nic Roeg's only film to have supposedly featured real life sex scenes. His 1968 film Performance depicted a host of raunchy encounters between Mick Jagger and Anita Pallenberg, the then girlfriend of Jagger's Rolling Stones bandmate Keith Richards. When rumours circulated that Jagger and Pallenberg were performing the movies' sex scenes for real, Richards took to sitting in his car outside the house where filming was taking place. Video.
Last Tango in Paris: In a scene of scandalous notoriety, a 48-year-old Marlon Brando forced the 19-year-old actress Maria Scheider face-down on the floor as he used butter to lubricate their sexual frisson. It was acted, says Schneider, but traumatising nonetheless for the teenager. "Even though what Marlon was doing wasn't real," she said in 2007, "I was crying real tears. I felt humiliated and to be honest, I felt a little raped". On her death last month, director Bernardo Bertolucci regretted he had never apologised for robbing her of her youth. Video.
Brown Bunny: As the director, producer, writer and star, perhaps it is unsurprising that it was Vincent Gallo who was at the receiving end of the 2003 film's major sex scene. Chloe Sevigny (photographed above with Gallo) is depicted performing fellatio on Gallo's character Bud Clay, an act that was not simulated. Gallo's admittance that he had been "obsessed" with Sevigny ever since she was a pre-teen cast the scene – if not the entire film - in a new light. Video.
Monster's Ball: "There was no real direction in the screenplay, it just had to be animalistic," actress Halle Berry said of the 2001 film's lengthy sex scene with Billy Bob Thornton. "We just went for it. We both agreed to be uninhibited with our bodies." Many have felt that the sex went beyond the normal call of duty for actors. Berry performance won her the Academy Award for best actress that year. Video.