For Actor Michael Shannon, On-Screen Sex Scenes Are Just Like Sex, But Without the Pleasure

Michael Shannon discusses his first on-screen sex scene — with Kim Basinger in '8 Mile' — and the awkward encounter that followed. In this intimate interview, he also reveals his childhood celebrity crush and the circumstances of his first kiss — which, by the way, was totally unexpected. Because he didn't listen to Bon Jovi.

Released on 2/16/2017

Transcript

00:03
My scene in 8 Mile,
00:04
where I got to have sex with Kim Basinger.
00:06
That was my first love scene.
00:09
That was great.
00:10
I was terrified.
00:11
It was very strange because
00:13
there was a woman there whose job was
00:15
to be Kim's body double while they were lighting.
00:18
And she had to take off her clothes.
00:20
So they brought me to set first,
00:22
and that woman, whose name I can't remember,
00:26
sat on top of me while they made sure
00:28
the lighting was right.
00:30
And then at the very last second
00:31
when everything was prepared,
00:33
Kim came in.
00:34
She had a robe on.
00:36
She's like, You ready to do this?
00:37
I'm like, Uh, sure.
00:39
She threw her robe off and straddled me
00:41
and we did a take.
00:43
And so we're sitting there on the couch
00:45
and I'm trying to avoid, like not make eye contact.
00:48
I'm like sweating.
00:50
The whole thing's just wrong.
00:51
And there's this green pillow,
00:53
a really ugly, hideously ugly, green throw pillow
00:57
next to me on the couch.
00:58
I said, Uh, oh that's a nice pillow.
01:01
And Kim was like, What?
01:03
I said, The pillow, I like this pillow.
01:07
She's like, Oh okay.
01:09
Yeah, it's a nice pillow.
01:10
A few months later I was in
01:12
Louisville, Kentucky doing a play,
01:14
and I got a package in the mail.
01:17
And there was a little envelope that said,
01:18
Dear Michael, I just wanted to say
01:22
I really enjoyed working with you.
01:24
You were such a gentleman.
01:26
And I thought you might like this
01:28
as a memento of our time together.
01:30
And she had sent me the green pillow.
01:33
And I have since lost it.
01:36
Probably the most significant item
01:37
I've ever received,
01:39
and I lost it.
01:40
I always say,
01:42
sex scenes in movies.
01:44
It's just like having sex except without any of the pleasure
01:47
but all the horror, fear, anxiety, sadness,
01:50
and loneliness is all there.
01:52
But when I was a little wee tad,
01:55
Kathleen Turner really did it for me.
01:57
I saw Romancing the Stone and I was like,
02:00
god that woman's something else.
02:02
I don't know if I've ever seen Body Heat,
02:05
to be honest.
02:06
But Prizzi's Honor, that was a sexy movie.
02:08
Her and Nicholson, that was cool.
02:11
My favorite event on my birthday.
02:13
I guess it'd be my thirtieth.
02:15
Yeah, I had a surprise party in Chicago.
02:19
It was cool.
02:19
It was at this bar that I really like, Weeds.
02:22
You know the thing about those parties is you
02:25
if there's not many people there,
02:26
feel kind of like a loser, you know.
02:28
But this was a good turnout.
02:30
It's not hard to get me into a bar.
02:31
It doesn't take a lot of conniving.
02:33
I didn't scream.
02:35
I wet myself though.
02:36
My first kiss was in middle school.
02:40
I was at a dance.
02:41
I'm pretty sure the song Always was involved.
02:45
♪ I will love you ♪
02:47
♪ For always ♪
02:49
That song?
02:49
There was some girl I was dancing with.
02:52
She wanted me to kiss her.
02:53
It was strange, I didn't really think,
02:55
I never thought of myself as
02:57
someone who would be getting kissed.
03:00
I didn't play sports, listen to Bon Jovi,
03:04
and I didn't do the things all the other
03:07
boys seemed to be doing.
03:09
Yeah no, I was a freak.
03:10
Yeah, I was a strange person.
03:12
I guess we're all kind of like that, right?