Ashton Kutcher wants to make it clear that having sex on screen is far from sexy.
“It’s always slightly more complicated than it is in real life,” he says. “You’re always waiting, wondering when the word ‘cut’ is going to be said when you’re doing those scenes. You’re there and you’re doing the scene and you’re like, ‘OK. How far are we taking this?”
His latest film, “No Strings Attached,” called for several such scenes opposite Natalie Portman, and the requests of director Ivan Reitman weren’t exactly making things easier, Kutcher says.
“Ivan would come back and say, ‘I think you need to orgasm sooner,’” he remembers. “So your male machismo is like, ‘No, no, no. It would take me much longer than this.’”
So what’s his secret for making the filming of sex scenes less awkward? “I just start by apologizing,” he says with a laugh. “There’s sort of always that kind of awkward state of, like, ‘Is this OK? Is that OK?’ Then in between it’s like, ‘Let’s act like nothing happened,’ and then you see how good of an actor you are.”
As for the subject matter of the movie — maintaining a “friends with benefits” relationship — Kutcher insists he lacked and real-world experience to bring to his role.
“I haven’t been fortunate enough to try one of those relationships out,” he says. “All the really successful, happy relationships that I know of, the people that are together are friends anyway. And I don’t know that sex always has to have feelings, but I think that friendship always does. So if you’re friends, you’re going to have feelings of some sort, some layer, some level of a deeper feeling. I don’t know that it’s completely possible.”
No stranger to rom-coms
While Kutcher’s co-star has been acting since childhood, “No Strings Attached” marked Portman’s first foray into romantic comedy territory, something Kutcher is much more familiar with. But that didn’t give him the upper hand. “I learned more from Natalie in one day of being on set together than I can ever possibly teach her in a billion years,” he says. “She may not have done a rom-com before, but she’s done so much work on so many different levels. I don’t know that there’s anything I can really teach her.”
So naturally, instead of trying to impart wisdom, Kutcher decided to make fun of Portman.
“It was mostly height jokes and then she would get very much upset with me,” he says of his on-set teasing. “She looks like my child when we stand next to each other. I asked if she could reach the pedals in the car one day. That didn’t go over very well.”