How does an actor like Jake Gyllenhaal handle sex scenes with the likes of Jennifer Aniston in the 2002 movie The Good Girl when Aniston was at the top of her game as one of the most desirable women in the world and part of a Friends show being watched by 34 million people?
The actress proposes the pillow technique. What’s the pillow technique? Gyllenhaal, appearing this week on the Howard Stern Sirius XM show, explained how Aniston, a complete pro, suggested a pillow to keep Jake at a safe distance. Yeah, that’s right, she was pillowing up so Jake popping wood didn’t cause…drama.
“I do remember a pillow,” Gyllenhaal told Stern. “Yeah, the pillow technique was used. That was just preemptive, and used — generally, always — when actually in a horizontal place in that movie. Everything else is whatever it was. I remember those two characters did a lot of making out on like, boxes in the back room.”
“I think that was actually a Jennifer suggestion,” Gyllenhaal added. “I think she was actually very kind to suggest it before we began… She was like, ‘I’m putting a pillow here.’ That was it, that was all she said.”
When asked if Jake gave Aniston a heads up that there might be a “protrusion,” as Stern put it, the actor laughed it off and explained how movie sets are packed with people watching these makeout scenes and how actors have to treat it like a choreographed fight scene.
According to Insider, nudity and simulated sex are written into contracts before casting starts. “SAG-AFTRA, the entertainment-industry labor union, designates a nudity rider as a requirement in contracts for roles that require ‘nudity, partial nudity or simulated sex acts,'” Insider’s Kristie Renae writes.
Some sex scenes are planned and, as Hollywood Reporter noted in 2020, Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan came up with their own plan of attack for the movie Ammonite.
“I just think Saoirse and I, we just felt really safe. Francis was naturally very nervous. And I just said to him, ‘Listen, let us work it out,'” she said. “And we did. ‘We’ll start here. We’ll do this with the kissing, boobs, you go down there, then you do this, then you climb up here.'”
And there you have it, a quick glimpse into how these passionate sex scenes play out like 4th and 1 plays on the football field.