It is no secret that shooting any sort of love or sex scene in a movie can be awkward. There's a camera pointed at you, a director telling you what to do, usually all kinds of crew around and on top of all that you may have to do multiple takes with someone you barely know. This can be a strange and challenging experience for all involved. So, sometimes a little liquid courage goes a long way. This was the strategy employed for the love scene between Franka Potente and Matt Damon in 2002's The Bourne Identity, as director Doug Liman explained:
I'm somebody who, when I was shooting the sex scene in Bourne Identity, which isn't even a sex scene, Matt Damon and I were so freaked out that Franka Potente, who is German, brought Jagermeister in for us to do shots because she saw that Matt and I were so freaked out. In general, my experience is that women are way stronger, in general, and definitely when it comes to doing awkward things like the sex scene.
This is pretty funny considering that, as Doug Liman notes in his interview with SYFY Wire, the scene in The Bourne Identity isn't even a sex scene with nudity. It is just a very intimate hair-cutting scene that turns into a passionate kiss between Franka Potente's Marie and Jason Bourne, but what's implied happens after isn't shown. Yet apparently that was still a bit intimidating for Doug Liman and Matt Damon, who were visibly freaked out. The excellent Run Lola Run actress Franka Potente was apparently unfazed and much better at handling the love scene, so she still helped her co-star and director by providing shots of Jägermeister.
I love that she gave them shots of Jägermeister too, not some smooth vodka or fruity drink, but a true German liqueur. It's a little late now considering The Bourne Identity came out in 2002, but this would have been a great marketing opportunity for the brand. Slogans like 'Jäger: So you can be Jason Bourne ready' or 'Jäger: Helping Jason Bourne get it on since 2002' were ripe for the taking. The Jägermeister shots clearly worked because the scene turned out quite well, as did The Bourne Identity as a whole. Doug Liman still finds shooting sex scenes awkward. You often hear about how strange it is for the actors involved in a love scene, but Doug Liman was quite honest about how weird they are for him as director, saying:
Shooting sex scenes in any form is really awkward. I would say maybe the actors have it easier because they have each other, and I'm kind of the creepy voyeur. I'm particularly awkward about it.
That's an interesting point. As an actor you try to focus on your performance and your interaction with the other person, so perhaps some of the external elements fade into the background. But as a director you are the one watching what is happening and having to judge it as a part of your film and give directions to the actors who are already feeling uncomfortable. That is pretty awkward. Although porn directors do it all the time, so I suppose it just takes practice, or depends on personality.
Doug Liman directed the pilot for the new YouTube original series Impulse. He also recently shot the sci-fi film Chaos Walking, which is set to release next year. He will be directing the Edge of Tomorrow sequel Live Die Repeat and Repeat eventually, as well. For all the latest on how to get through a sex scene and all your movie news, stay tuned to CinemaBlend.