Let's talk about sexxx: Daytime stars open up about filming love scenes

Posted Friday, February 08, 2019 11:46:17 AM

How comfortable do soap opera stars really feel while filming love scenes? Soap Central asked some of daytime's hottest stars for the truth about creating love in the afternoon.

One would think that jumping between the sheets and doing a little on-screen mattress mambo is all in a day's work for most soap opera stars. After all, the genre is known for its steamy love scenes. But just how comfortable do daytime stars really feel about jumping between the sheets with their costars? Are they more like Jennifer Lawrence, who admits she turned to alcohol to make it through her first love scene with Chris Pratt for Passengers? Or are they more like Hugh Grant, who admits he finds filming sex scenes to be a turnon? Since it's Valentine's Day, Soap Central asked some of the biggest stars from soap operas past and present to find out.

SOAP CENTRAL'S QUESTION: How comfortable are you filming sex scenes, and how much of your comfort level depends on your partner?

Hunter King (Summer Newman, The Young and the Restless)
I am the worst at love scenes! I think they're awful. And I will laugh the whole time when I'm uncomfortable, so I'm an actor's worst nightmare. I just think they're so weird and awkward. But it does help when you have someone who will laugh with you and try to get through it with you. It definitely does help when you have a scene partner who helps make it a little less intimidating and a little less awkward. I mean, we have weird jobs, if you think about it. It's just a weird job!

Laura Wright (Carly Corinthos, General Hospital)
I'm totally comfortable shooting love scenes; I've been doing it for so long. You can't show anything on daytime, and you're not going to show anything on anyone over forty hardly at all except for shoulders and back anyway. I only hate when they try to push the envelope so much to showing nudity. That drives me crazy, because I don't think that's our medium. We have incredible lighting on our show, but in general, I just don't think it's our medium.... A lot of times when you do a love scene, the director is talking to you over the speaker, because you can wipe all that and put music over the top of it, and he's like, "Okay, now move her arm out of the way. Now kiss her neck, act like you like it." I mean, it is so not intimate on any level. At all. And I don't really care about how it looks, if it looks realistic. I'm like, "No, it shouldn't, anyway, because that's not my person!" ... And they know that, and no one is offended. Maurice [Benard, Sonny Corinthos] is like my brother, and he doesn't care. When I see it in a script, I'm like, "Woooo, we get frisky next week, Maurice!" And he's like, "I know. I'll take out carbs for a week." [Laughs]

James Scott (ex-E.J. DiMera, Days of our Lives)
It depends a lot on your partner -- a tremendous amount. I suppose it's probably like sex in real life to a certain degree, where if you're with somebody who feels really awkward and uncomfortable, it doesn't matter how enthusiastic you are, it's awkward and uncomfortable. It falls to the lowest denominator. So there has to be a comfort zone. I've done sexual scenes with girls who I don't think wanted to be there with me, and maybe rightly so, but it certainly made it very difficult. But it's always slightly awkward. I don't know how porn stars do it.

Vincent Irizarry (ex-Deimos Kiriakis, Days of our Lives; ex-David Hayward, All My Children; ex-David Chow, The Young and the Restless; ex-Lujack Luvonoczek, Guiding Light)
I'm very comfortable with them, and I don't have a problem with them. You always want to make sure the person you're working with knows that you're respectful of them and their space and what their limitations are. When I was on All My Children, working with someone like Esta TerBlanche (ex-Gillian Andrassy), she was a younger actress and new to the medium. So, I let her know, "You let me know if there is anything you're not comfortable with and how you feel." Because that's important. It's very important to people that you're respectful of them, of their space, and what their limits are. I've been doing this for so many years, and I've worked in other mediums, as well, where I've done that, love scenes with people. And there are times when you're working with somebody, and the person has some concerns. And it's important for them to know that you're there in support of them -- even with objections from the director! [Laughs]

Lexi Ainsworth (Kristina Davis, General Hospital)
I'm totally cool with them, but I think it depends on the show. With cable, it's a free for all... I'm one hundred percent comfortable doing it on GH. I haven't done any nude scenes ever in my career, and I don't know if I see that in my future. I'm not saying I wouldn't, but it would have to be something very big for me to do it.

Kate Mansi (Abigail Deveraux, Days of our Lives)
A lot of my comfort depends on my partner. I would say 90% of it, because it's like a dance. Stunt work, love scenes, they're very much like dance. I was a dancer growing up, so it feels like when it's choreographed, you're only as good as your partner. Like real love [situations], you have to be very in tune with your partner and really emotionally available and open with them, but also respectful... I'm such an over-communicator, anyway, and as you're going through the blocking of it, I just always use that time to talk to my costars and be like, "Okay, between action and cut, we're both invested. I love my boyfriend, you love your girlfriend, but let's be really present." And, "Do you have any boundaries that I need to be aware of?" I think that just surrendering to what you're doing, and being communicative about it, makes it so much better.

Jessica Morris (ex-Jennifer Rappaport, One Life to Live)
They can be strange. As an actress, you want to access genuine emotions needed for each scene. So, in a love scene, ideally, I want to feel stimulated and attracted to my partner in the scene because I want it to be believable and good. But it can be awkward to bring that heat, and then, as soon as the director says cut, we are back to chatting about our own personal relationships as friends. It's not a normal or easy situation to navigate at times. Having an acting partner who is devoted to the scene, as well -- but can also be a professional and respect boundaries once the scene is over -- is very helpful.

Melissa Claire Egan (ex-Chelsea Lawson, The Young and the Restless; ex-Annie Lavery, All My Children)
I don't really get nervous, believe it or not. I've been in this medium for over ten years, so I've done more love scenes than I can count. You kind of get used to it. The stress is more about feeling, "Oh, shoot, I have to be really good about what I eat this week! Can I suck in my belly and find the right angle so my arm looks skinny?!"

Nadia Bjorlin (Chloe Lane, Days of our Lives)
I would say I'm pretty comfortable, just because, lord, Chloe has had to be naked a lot! [Laughs] At this point, I'm like, "Eh, whatever." I think when Chloe became a prostitute, it was like, "Okay, now I can't care anymore." [Laughs] It really does depend on your partner, who you're working with, and it's nice when there's a good trust there. It's nice when it's someone you're working with and you're friends, because you're just going to protect each other and be looking out for each other. When you don't know the person, like with the prostitution stuff, I didn't have to do a lot, but I didn't want to kiss a guy I didn't know! That was weird. You just sort of meet someone the day of, and you're like, "Hey, nice to meet you," and they're like, "And, go..." That was kind of gross. But working with people who become your friends on the show, you look out for each other. And the funny thing is, I think men tend to be more uncomfortable with the scenes than the women, honestly. That's always been my take on it. I think it's also because the men kind of get affected by it a bit more; they're usually shirtless and this and that, and I feel like they have more pressure to make it look good and sell the idea. And there is [the fact that they could actually get excited]. I can't tell you how many times somebody has had the talk with me where they go, "I apologize if that happens, and I apologize if that doesn't happen." You're like, "It's totally fine. It's cool, don't worry about it." And also, the sex scenes are the most technically complex things that we do. They're so choreographed, when so much of the other stuff isn't, so there's so much you have to think about that it never really becomes sexy. It's more like, "Oh, my gosh, am I facing the right direction? Am I showing enough but not too much? Does this look good? Oh, I forgot what I'm supposed to do next." It's really like a choreographed dance, so sometimes it can feel a bit awkward, but I would say I'm pretty comfortable in general. I think it's good to have a good sense of humor about it and kind of joke around about it. That's what I do. I remember I was working with Bren Foster, the Australian guy who played Quinn, and it was his first week at work, and it was a shocking day for him. They were shooting Quinn and Chloe going at it in a hotel room, and it was his first week, and he had all these scripts and all of this material, and he was nervous about it, and I remember him asking me, and I guess he hadn't really acted much, and it was his first experience on a soap, so he said, "So, how much do I have to show?" [Laughs] He didn't know, God bless him, so I said, "Well, we're naked. We're totally naked. But don't worry about it, it's fine. They're good and they shoot really well." And you could just tell he turned white as a ghost and was like, "Oh, my God, what did I sign up for?!" And I said, "Yeah, just take it all off. No underwear. It's fine." I had him going for about 30 minutes, but I couldn't do it more than that. He was terrified, and I was like, "Dude, I'm kidding! This is daytime soaps. You can't show that much!" He was like, "Oh, my gosh, the only thing I could think of was that I was going to show my bum to my mum." I think it's good to have a good sense of humor about it.

Walt Willey (ex-Jackson Montgomery, All My Children)
I'm not Cameron Mathison (ex-Ryan Lavery, AMC) when I take off my clothes -- that's not what's standing there. [Laughs] It's not about that, anyway, as far as I'm concerned. You can have a sex scene and have the camera never go anywhere outside the top of your forehead and the bottom of your nose. So, it's nice when you know somebody, and you're comfortable with them, and you have some kind of relationship, perhaps outside of the thing, but sometimes that could make it more uncomfortable. But I've never had that, never had a problem with that. Thankfully!

Jason Thompson (Billy Abbott, The Young and the Restless; ex-Patrick Drake, General Hospital)
It's probably not one without the other, for sure. I feel like everybody is very respectful [at Y&R and GH]. We try to be, whether it's me being respectful to the other actor or vice versa, or it's the director or even within the script, you try not to make people uncomfortable. But at the same time, as long as it is done tastefully in a way that is true to the character in that moment, then I've got no problem with it. When you're working with someone that you do trust and vice versa, you can have fun with it. And I don't mean that in any other way than just as two actors trying to get true to these two characters. That is a challenge, whether you're wearing clothes or not.

Anthony Montgomery (Dr. Andre Maddox, General Hospital)
I'm as comfortable as one can be with a bunch of cameras around and somebody stopping you and telling you how to be organic and then telling you to forget everything is there and just make it natural. [Laughs] So, I'm as comfortable as I can be. And for me, it's always about the scene partners. I work very hard to make sure my scene partners are comfortable -- it's not just about me being comfortable, because that's just the kind of man that I am. I'm a giving lover [in real life], so I want to make sure the person I'm with... is good. It's not just about me, and I don't approach it that way. It's not, "Okay, she's doing this, so now I can be the best that I can be." No, I'm about the actual connection, and when you're doing these love scenes, we have to bring our most authentic self to that process that we can under the lights and under the scrutiny and everything else, and it's not always the easiest. It may be completely easy for some people, but it doesn't always feel like it to me. So, I just say: "Okay, you keep finding that space that feels right to you, connect with your scene partner, and hope that the cameras catch the magic that you two are creating."

Tamara Clatterbuck (ex-Alice Johnson, The Young and the Restless; ex-Barb Reiber, Days of our Lives)
Well, I'm comfortable with love scenes. [Laughs] It's always great to have a great relationship with the other actor that you're having that scene with, to be comfortable with them. I did some scenes way back in 1998 -- I did a movie called Set It Off with Jada Pinkett -- and I had a couple of love scenes in that, and my scene partner and I didn't know each other, [but I didn't] have any inhibitions. When I was on Days of our Lives, I worked with Paul Logan, and he was my husband [Glen Reiber] on DAYS, and they had us a lot of times making out. I remember the first time we did a scene and had to make out, and it was just the rehearsal, and we were making out for the rehearsal, and they said, "You know, you don't really have to make out for the rehearsal!" And I was like, "Oh, oops, okay!" [Laughs] That was my first time on daytime where I had scenes where I was making out. I'm okay with it. It doesn't bother me.

Abhi Singha (ex-Ravi Shapur, The Young and the Restless)
I think, as actors, we like to project a lot of emotions onto others sometimes, even when we don't mean to, so a lot of my comfort depends on how my partner feels. But I've done shirtless scenes, and I've done kissing scenes, but I've actually never done a full-on sex scene, so I might have to get back to you on that. But I [think I'd be comfortable] -- just as long as I had a month's notice so I can stop eating!

Mary Beth Evans (Kayla Brady, Days of our Lives)
I would say comfort depends on your scene partner a lot. A lot in all areas! Especially now that we're older. [Stephen Nichols, Steve Johnson] and I were so comfortable with each other with that. It's no big deal. But we're lucky like that. It would be hard to be with new people, because everybody, when you get right down to it, we all have something about our body that we don't like or something we don't want to show, or something we're concerned about. But because Stephen and I know each other so well, we already know what those things are with each other, number one, and number two, we're just so comfortable with each other, so we were just happy. He would always tell me I'm beautiful, and I'm always like, "Oh, my arm is out, eek! Cover it up, aagghh!" I always thought the fans liked him better because he has a chubby wife! [Laughs]

Alicia Minshew (ex-Kendall Hart, All My Children)
That's actually a really good question. I'd say I'm pretty comfortable with love scenes. I've done so many of them -- not to sound slutty or anything [laughs]. But listen, I was on All My Children for ten years and after that did some other things. I've done so many. And they're very technical. It's like, "Now the camera is going to shoot up her leg, to your thigh, he's touching your belly," so I'm definitely comfortable doing it, but there is a certain level that depends on your partner. I've been lucky that I've had great people. I had Thorsten Kaye (ex-Zach Slater, AMC; Ridge Forrester, The Bold and the Beautiful] and Cameron [Mathison, ex-Ryan Lavery], and then in Tainted Dreams, Michael Lowry [ex-Jake Martin, AMC; ex-Ross Rayburn, One Life to Live; ex-Dr. Hillman, The Bold and the Beautiful]. And everyone has been very respectful. I think if you have that, if you have someone who is very respectful of you and who makes sure that you feel comfortable, then it's as easy as can be. They're right there with you.

Bryan Craig (ex-Morgan Corinthos)
I'm very comfortable with them, but a lot of your comfort depends on your partner. If you have someone who's also very comfortable doing them, it's a lot easier rather than someone you've got to kind of carry through it. I've worked with both kinds of people, people that are very comfortable and people who were doing it for the first time. And they kind of needed a little bit of nurturing, and you have to crack jokes and try your best to make it not awkward. But we get through it either way.

John-Paul Lavoisier (ex-Philip Kiriakis, Days of our Lives; ex-Rex Balsom, One Life to Live)
My comfort level overall in general is fine. I work out eight hours a day, so I'm always ready to take my shirt off. It hasn't had to come off so much lately, so I guess I've been lucky. But I'm ready! I can do it! [Laughs] I'm always ready to go if you need the shirt off, and I'm overall pretty comfortable. The only little bit of concern that enters my head is the first time you have to kiss somebody. You don't want to talk about it ahead of time, because that makes it awkward. We're two grown-ups, we've kissed before, blah, blah, blah. But if you've never kissed them before, fake kiss, I mean, everyone has their own style, and everyone kisses kind of differently, I have found. And you don't tend to kiss in rehearsals, so your very first kiss is usually on tape, and it's usually the tape that takes. So, the first time that Martha [Madison, Belle Brady] and I ever kissed is what the audience saw. The first time Nadia [Bjorlin, Chloe Lane] and I ever kissed is what the audience saw. So, in my head, I'm thinking to myself, "Okay, it's uncharted territory. I've never kissed this person before, and here we go." You just don't know, "Do they move their head this way? Where does this go? Are they gonna involve things that aren't just the lips?!" [Laughs] You don't know! And you don't want to talk about it, because talking about it is just weird. So, that's the only concern that ever enters my head. But you know, in three seconds, it's over. You're like, "Okay, I got it!" And that is exciting.

Marie Wilson (ex-Summer Townsend, Days of our Lives; ex-Meg Snyder, As the World Turns)
Ah, the love scene question! I'm sure you've heard it many times: it is so technical. Make sure your elbow isn't blocking the camera, don't get too close and create a shadow on the other person's face, make sure when you move around, the camera doesn't see your nude undergarments, etc. Yup. So, it is very much appreciated when your fellow actor has your back and works with you in this technical "dance." I have been fortunate to have worked with generous actors that make this process seamless.

Christian LeBlanc (Michael Baldwin, The Young and the Restless)
I think it all depends on your partner. And I've been very lucky in this business. You hear stories of the people who don't get along, but you have to do the love scenes because it's your job. You hear it famously in movies! But with Tracy [Bregman, Lauren Fenmore], I think we're the most married couple in daytime, and it was instant in that we were physically comfortable with each other, and that's, I think, just a chemistry thing, like any relationship. There was a complete trust. But I've been very lucky. Michelle Stafford [ex-Phyllis Summers, Y&R; Nina Clay, General Hospital] and I had that. Eva Longoria [ex-Isabella Brana, Y&R] and I had just met when we had to do a love scene, and you have a talk beforehand, and you both just start laughing, and you ask, "What's good? What are you comfortable with? What are you not comfortable with?" and then you go for it. It's all ballet. It's all choreography. So, I had just met Eva, because she was not in my storyline initially. It was all about Christine [Lauralee Bell] and Paul [Doug Davidson] and I and sexual harassment, I think. But that happened several times. Jennifer Gareis [ex-Grace Turner, Y&R; Donna Logan, The Bold and the Beautiful] and I had just met each other, and there was a full-blown love scene. It's your job to make the other person comfortable, in any scene -- a love scene or not. My job is to make you want to do your best work with me and vice versa. So, you sense what the person needs, and you give it to them.

Stacy Haiduk (ex-Patty Williams, The Young and the Restless; Kristin DiMera, Days of our Lives)
I'm very comfortable, but as I get older, probably less! [Laughs] But I'm very, very comfortable with that, and yes, it definitely depends on your partner. You try to work together and make sure each one of us feels that we are not going too far, you know. It's a balance. It's definitely a balance, and most of the time, I've been blessed with working with good partners. You always want the other person to cover you and be there always, and usually you get cool actors. I think only once in my life I worked with someone who was not very kind, but that was okay; we worked through it, and I just walked away from it. I was a professional. But it's always nice to have somebody who is watching your back, and you can watch theirs as well.

Chloe Lanier (ex-Nelle Benson, General Hospital)
A lot of it depends on your partner! If they're creepy, then it gets really weird. Like, if they act creepy toward you in between scenes -- not necessarily when the cameras are rolling. But as long as everybody is professional, it's a good time.

What do you think of the way the above soap opera stars feel about filming love scenes? Did any of their answers surprise you? Whose answer did you enjoy the most? We want to hear from you -- so drop your comments in the Comments section below, tweet about it on Twitter, share it on Facebook, or chat about it on our Message Boards.

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