What Filming a Sex Scene is Really Like: DeeDee Luxe and Calamity Chang Explain 'Shame' Threesome
Michael Fassbender has gotten some deserved awards-season buzz for his towering role in "Shame" -- a film where he famously bared all. If you've seen the movie, you know Fassbender wasn't the only one to strip down for its gritty sex scenes -- perhaps the most memorable act involves his threesome with two women. So who are those women, exactly?
They're professional burlesque dancers DeeDee Luxe and Calamity Chang. I reached out to them separately, hoping to get the skinny on what really goes down during a Hollywood sex scene. Turns out, they've become fast friends since their on-camera tryst -- they immediately texted each other and decided on a spot where we could all meet.
And so it was at a swanky West Village wine bar that I found myself sandwiched between two gorgeous, glamorous women, giggling and sipping Malbec as we discussed on-screen vs. off-screen chemistry, first-time female-on-female makeout sessions, and what kind of a kisser Fassbender is. Girls will be girls, as it happens -- here are eight things I learned, straight from the source.
1. YOUR DIRECTOR MAY GET A LITTLE BASHFUL, EVEN IF YOU'RE NOT
Did you have to take off your clothes for the audition?
Calamity Chang: Yes. But [director Steve McQueen] was so polite, he was like, "Uh, I'm going to turn this way, just let me know when you're ready." [DeeDee laughs] You know, like, we're accustomed to being naked in public!
You're accustomed to being naked, but not FULLY naked right?
DeeDee Luxe: I am. But that being said, I guess doing that when you're not on a stage -- instantly I felt comfortable with him. If I didn't, I wouldn't have done the movie.
On the day of shooting, was it nerve-wracking having a bunch of crew members watch you?
DDL: It was a closed set. It was Steve, the filmographer Sean Bobbitt...
CC: So there were really five of us in the room.
I was going to say -- and then you're going to lunch with all of them!
DDL: Honestly, I don't think I would've had a problem with that.
CC: Me neither!
DDL: Once you get in the scene, you block it out. Just like when you're on the stage. I'll get nervous right before I go on, and I think that I felt the same way before we shot the scene, but once we started doing it you really get into your character.
CC: I think it says a lot about Steve's decorum and respect for the actors that he's working with -- to have it closed. We would've done it anyway, because that's what we signed up for.
2. CONSIDERATION IS KEY
What did you each do to prepare for being naked on camera?
DDL: Shower and shave! [Calamity laughs]
CC: I shave, I moisturize. Brush your teeth. We brought gum.
DDL: Yeah, we brought mints and stuff.
CC: Michael was doing that, too ... he was using the little toothbrush thing.
DDL: We were all very conscious of that. They made us break for dinner and I was like, "No! We already freshened up! Now I gotta go eat?"
CC: Yeah, so we were like, "No garlic, no red onions or anything."
3. GET TO KNOW YOUR COWORKERS BEFORE YOU GET TO KNOW YOUR COWORKERS
Did you two hang out before the scene was filmed?
Calamity: Yeah, and I'd heard of DeeDee before I knew her and so when we were both picked for the roles by the person from the burlesque agency, she said, "Oh, well, DeeDee Luxe is going to be your partner." So then we synched up. DeeDee came by to my show ... and we chatted really quickly, and I was so glad because I didn't know who I was going to be acting with, if she was going to be some crazy, like --
DDL: You were so chill!
CC: And you were too!
DDL: It was pretty much we got cast and they were like, "Can you do it Friday?" It was like, "All right! I don't have time to get my nails done!" It was like, bam! I think that's kind of how [McQueen] operates. He likes to have people just ... you know, real.
The casting director has mentioned how difficult it was to get people to be in this movie -- and I'm sure part of it is that people had to take it on faith that the subject of sexual addiction was going to be handled properly. And if you're not someone from the film world or you don't know about Steve's material, it could be scary.
CC: I did my research before. I looked him up. And of course I knew who Michael Fassbender was because of "Inglourious Basterds." So I knew that this is a real film, this is not like the casting couch for a porno.
How did they pitch the movie to you?
CC: They said the film is a major film by an award-winning director. They didn't give us any names until we were selected.
DDL: I know after I left I had a little packet they gave me, all stuff about Michael, and I had already looked up Steve ... and I was really impressed. So I knew he was an artist.
So you both met the night before the scene, but how did you meet Michael? The day of shooting?
DDL: We met while we were in hair and make-up.
CC: We introduced ourselves and then we just sat there and did our hair and make-up, and we chitchatted.
DDL: He's human, he's meeting people for the first time too and he's going to be naked -- so I think we all made each other feel comfortable, because we were casual and we were joking around. Between takes we'd just sit on the bed and talk about stuff. It didn't hurt either that it was easy to make out with him.
4. EVEN PROFESSIONALS CAN BE FIRST-TIMERS
CC: If anything, I was more nervous about making out with DeeDee because I've never made out with a girl. This was the first threesome -- in every sense of the word, in real life or on film -- I've ever had! So with Michael I was like, "Oh, whatever it's just a guy."
Did you tell DeeDee that before the scene?
CC: I told her that the night that we first met.
Did you guys just kiss and get it out of the way before you were on camera?
CC: No, we waited until we were on camera.
5. HAVING A BURLESQUE BACKGROUND GIVES YOU AN EDGE
DDL: Our scene was re-shot ... it was originally shot with two different actresses and Steve didn't like how it turned out, so they re-cast it.
I wonder if those other actresses had burlesque experience -- I bet that really made a difference.
CC: She and I have the same energy. I think going into it we were comfortable with our bodies and we weren't too worried about how we'd be portrayed.
DDL: I think because we're performance artists that nudity to us isn't a big deal. But he's an artist and we're artists and it just felt really natural.
And as far as the scene goes -- how much direction did Steve give you before you went in there, and then during filming? Was he calling stuff out to you or did he just let you do your thing?
DDL: At certain points he would be like, "Move this way" or "Just keep doing what you're doing" or maybe "Change angles a little bit." I'd say at certain points we collaborated, we talked it out.
CC: It was really funny because DeeDee and I were like, "OK -- this is what we're going to do to, Michael." [laughs] "We're going to kiss each other, and then you're going to go that way and I'm going to go this way, and then we're going to switch." But that's the burlesque side of us coming out, because we were choreographing it like an act.
6. SOME OF THE NUDITY INVOLVED MOVIE MAGIC (AND RESULTED IN AMNESIA!)
Were you guys covered at all during the scene, or were you completely naked?
DDL: We were covered. They gave everybody flesh-colored panties.
CC: Why do people always ask that? It's so weird.
I mean, it's clear that there are angles -- that things are shot a certain way and there's a certain amount of movie magic, but there are some parts where you all get in there, and it makes a person curious! I remember there's a part with you, Calamity, where Michael just sticks his face in your butt.
CC: Was that my butt? No, it was your butt. [Nods to DeeDee]
DDL: [laughs] Oh yeah, no, it was my butt. [DeeDee and Calamity laugh]
Sorry! At a certain point there are just body parts flying! I remember watching it and thinking, "How did they do that without DOING that?"
DeeDee: I said that too, because I was like, "When did that happen?" [DeeDee and Calamity laugh]
7. THE LIVELINESS ISN'T RESERVED FOR THE MOMENTS BETWEEN "ACTION" AND "CUT"
What happened when you guys cut during the scene?
CC: We always high-fived each other and were always like, "Great job!" They were so cool, they just hung out.
DDL: Yeah, we'd joke around and talk smack. We had to be there at 6 p.m. for hair and make-up ... and then, I don't know when we started, maybe two hours later? Until like two in the morning.
CC: I think we all had a really good time. We were all very comfortable with each other and we joked around -- there was rapport. Because there was a couple of takes that we all started making out before the cameras started rolling, because we were like, "Oh, OK, let's start!" [Calamity and DeeDee laugh]
DDL: And then Steve would be like, "Guys -- I'm not rolling yet!"
8. IT'S YOUR DUTY TO KISS AND TELL
I don't mean to state the obvious, but you ladies are kind of the envy of women everywhere. You're one degree from Michael Fassbender -- you're the closest I'm ever going to be to the man! So you have to dish, because I'll never get to make out with him!
CC: He's a good kisser! His body's pretty cut.
DDL: Yeah, I agree.