I read an article the other day about how Nicole Kidman says she felt uncomfortable doing the sex scenes with then-husband Tom Cruise in the movie Eyes Wide Shut. The author of the piece conjectured that if Kidman didn’t want to be close with her own husband something must have been off in the marriage. He writes, “A lot can be read into Nicole Kidman making these comments, as they certainly don’t help alleviate Tom Cruise’s alleged homosexual rumors.”
I think that’s a bit of a leap. Professional ethics aside, how many people would be “comfortable” in that situation? That stuff is supposed to be private.
This article got me thinking again about a topic I’ve pondered off and on during the years—in the film arts, where does the line between acting end and reality begin? At some point these two must meet, because an actor can’t effectively act without his mouth saying certain things and his body doing certain things. For example, as an actor, I can’t portray a foul-mouthed racist without uttering certain words, and I can’t portray someone’s love interest (at least nowadays) without kissing and touching that person to some degree.
Language is one thing, and you can argue that while an actor is cussing up a storm and spewing all sorts of nasty, the intent is not there, and the actor’s heart doesn’t believe the things he’s saying. But when you’re talking about the body, it either is or isn’t doing certain things. So, while an actor may not think his on-screen love interest is attractive, his lips are still voluntarily kissing hers anyway. Which brings me to my second question—is it cheating when an actor kisses someone other than his spouse during the making of a film?
I forget what I’d seen (maybe the big lust scene in Hawthorne with Jada Pinkett Smith and Marc Anthony, I don’t know), but the next day I asked one of my coworkers, who is married and a good Catholic, “If you’re an actor and you kiss someone, is that cheating?” and I’m thinking he’s gonna have a thoughtful answer for me, but what does he say? “Depends. How much am I being paid?” Okay, scratch that.
My cousins and I are huge fans of the television show Scandal, and we often text and email each other about the latest episode. Now that the President has been shot, we’re wondering, what’s next? My cousin texted me “I hope he doesn’t spend the rest of the season in a coma.” I thought her comment was hilarious, because I could imagine Tony Goldwyn’s wife telling show creator Shonda Rhimes, “Look, I don’t care what you have to do—I do NOT want that woman [Kerry Washington] and my husband doing any more love scenes! Got it?” because you can feel the heat between Goldwyn and Washington in your living room, and I don’t give a damn what anyone says, ain’t nobody that good of an actor.
So, my conflicted feelings about this issue continues, because on one hand, I’m as in love with love as the next gal, and seeing two people on screen with such palpable chemistry is exciting. On the other hand, if that were my husband with his tongue down Washington’s throat and his hand on Washington’s backside, I’d be pitching a fit, because “while it’s just acting,” his tongue is down her throat and his hand is on her backside.
Where do you think the line between acting ends and reality begins? Tell me, please! (Or at least tell me if you think I should stop wondering about this stuff and just switch off the television …)