Shooting a sex scene with Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis -- a how-to guide from 'Friends with Benefits' director Will Gluck


Getting big stars to strip down to their skivvies and simulate lovemaking is a tough job, but someone has to do it. In the case of Friends with Benefits (hitting theaters July 22), that someone was Will Gluck — and in the new issue of Entertainment Weekly, guest columnist Gluck explains the art of the sex scene, from creating chemistry to letting pasties be your guide. Check out an excerpt of his column, after the jump.

I never went to film school. I learned most everything I know by working on failed TV shows I created. A lot cheaper for me, but a whole lot more expensive for the networks that funded those misses. In retrospect, Fox and NBC should have just sent me to NYU and saved themselves millions in production costs. And that way I might have taken a class in how to direct a love scene instead of finding myself in virgin territory (ahem) on the set of my new movie, Friends With Benefits. Whether I did it right is for the ticket buyer to decide—hopefully on the opening weekend of July 22. The other movie opening is Captain America, which, if you think about it, is really just a retread of No Strings Attached. But I did learn a lot and I’ll share it with you in case you have to film a love scene anytime soon. Legitimate or not.

Lighting Make sure your film stars genetically perfect specimens like Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis so you don’t have to waste any time lighting. There is not one angle in any kind of backlight, top light, sunlight, or klieg light in which this pair does not look stunningly gorgeous. I could have filmed them with a Flip camera and a headlamp, and they would have still looked amazing. If you’re not lucky enough to have Justin and Mila, use candlelight, put the camera as far away as possible, and shoot through a piece of cheesecloth. This new HD format is very unforgiving.

Chemistry Give your actors time to get to know each other. Justin and Mila had never met before, but instead of making them do trust falls or a ropes course I decided to shoot the first half of the movie in New York City. I figured spending 16 hours a day working together out in public, surrounded by 8 million people, would give them time to foster “chemistry.” What I didn’t figure was how hard it was going to be. Tourists in Central Park, Grand Central station, and Times Square don’t exactly “respect the creative process.” To say it was a zoo would be unfair to the Bronx Zoo. When you see the movie, try to picture thousands of people screaming and taking pictures right outside the frame of every single scene shot in New York…

To read Will Gluck’s entire guide to shooting a love scene, pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly, on stands Friday, July 15

Comments (18 total) Add your comment
  • Jill

    He could have asked Ivan Reitman for tips.

  • aa915

    Didn’t we just see this movie six months ago? Isn’t this just a raunchier version of No Strings Attached, the Ashton Kutcher/Natalie Portman movie that came out earlier this year? So original.

    • Nick

      Funny enough, this movie was actually written and in pre-production before No Strings Attached. No Strings Attached even had to change from it’s original name because of this movie.

      • Captain

        Having seen both, I liked NSA way more. I love random humour and I felt that the movie never kid the audience into believing A/N weren’t going to end up together unlike FWB.

      • mick

        Totally disagree with Captain. I saw NSA and was lucky enough to see an early screening of FWB. No comparison. FWB is, by far, the superior movie. You’ll laugh from beginning to end. The whole audience did at the theater I was at. One of the best rom/com’s I’ve seen in many years.

    • Mike

      Remember the tried and true Hollywood formula, “Why have one movie when you can have two at twice the price”. Deep Impact/Armageddon anyone?

  • Christine

    This movie is wayyyy better than N.S.A. I saw a preview screening last week and it was really, really funny and it had great heart. Go see it!

    • Amy

      I have to agree with Christine. I saw a sneak preview of FWB earlier in the week and I would definitely see it again. Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake actually have chemistry with one another and the supporting cast was great, too.
      Also, although JT is not the best actor, he’s a millions times better than Ashton Kutcher.

  • Woot

    How is it that so many people on this thread have seen preview screenings?

    • Roekest

      Because so many in the thread like crap-movies?

      • Edward Nigma

        The worst porno Ive ever seen stared Roekest’s mother.

  • aa915

    I’m sorry, but every time I see a comment with “NSA” I think, “National Security Agency”! Not a lot of yucks there. FWB is no doubt MUCH funnier!

  • Laura

    NSA was horrible. Natalie and Ashton had no chemistry, and the movie was garbage. The previews for FWB look really good, so I’m looking forward to it!!

  • rajanmphilip

    Hot bedroom sex seen

  • nikeshox

    Thanks for interesting blog post. You guys are always provide information that it makes it impossible not to want to buy your next product ;I cant wait to see what you guys come up with based on all your research and data that you gather.

  • voilet

    Sorry to say but it should had been a blonde chick not a brown haired chick we all no blonde girls would go better with a movie like that and next time make a clean movie like something kids would like u will make a lot more money grown UPS or not that in to movie but kids and teens will always watch something stop making sex movies not saying anything wading with it it looks hot but just saying

  • Nilantha

    please can anybody tell me , about the sex scenes in this movie , are those real I mean justin and Mila reall were really naked and had sex in the set or was it some camera tricks or what????

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