One of the films we’re most excited to see in the next few months is the indie-flick 12 years in the making, “Blue Valentine,” starring Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling and out December 31st. It’s an intimate portrait — almost documentary style — of a relationship/marriage over the course of several years, cross-cutting between different time periods. There was very little rehearsing, lots of time spent together in character before shooting, picking fights on the days they were filming fights. The two actors are on the cover of W magazine this month, with an interview by Lynn Hirschberg inside, in which they discuss, among other things, the very intense sex scenes:
LH: In Blue Valentine, out December 31, you and Ryan Gosling have an extremely raw and very naked sex scene.
MW: We never rehearsed anything, and those were really dark days. We shot the beginning of our relationship first, and it was fun and alive. Then we did the sex scenes and it was…toxic. Ryan and I had stopped relating to each other as Ryan and Michelle. Those scenes took forever. I had a long drive from set to home each night, and I would roll down all the windows and turn up the music as loud as I could and hang my head out the window like a dog and scream. It was my escape.
LH: Did you get nervous during those scenes?
MW: When I work I’m not nervous. Work is this fabulous free zone. There’s no judgment. My problems arrive when I’m not working. At a photo shoot, for instance, I feel like a sham. I feel like they’re trying to cover up what’s wrong with me. It’s probably not true, but just my dirty mind at work.
LH: How about the sex scene? The couple is fighting, and it’s the angriest, most realistic sex scene I’ve seen in a film in years.
RG: You mean the trying-not-to-have-sex sex scene? It was hard…a lot of times actors can trick people into thinking something is happening when it’s not happening, and we had to call ourselves out on anything that didn’t feel honest. Actors become very professional and proficient about watching out for each other’s light and not stepping on each other’s lines. All of these things are artificial, and you have to strip that away if you’re going to achieve a sense of intimacy. In real life sex is messy, and we wanted to get at that wonderful messiness.