You may be green with envy when you see your favorite stars getting hot and steamy on the big screen -- it always looks so good, so perfect, so smooth -- but this isn't always the reality.
The stock answer from today's media-savvy stars always seems to be the same -- that love scenes are unsexy, boring and not half as exciting as they look on-screen. They insist they're embarrassed about getting romantic with a co- star when surrounded by technicians and film crew standing around, and taking orders from directors on how to get the image just right.
But a growing number of screen idols are prepared to confess that getting intimate with a relative stranger is definitely as much fun as we imagine it to be!
Whether it's secretly getting turned on by the sexy moves you're performing, feeling over the hill when you realize your romance partner is younger than your children, or getting to grips with your first-ever gay hookup, the world of the sex scene is full of juicy secrets.
Hugh Grant is one of Britain's biggest male stars in Hollywood -- and with his status as the quintessential "English gent," he's been lucky enough to enjoy love scenes with some of Tinseltown's most beautiful actresses, including Renee Zellweger, Sandra Bullock and Julia Roberts. With his typically direct style,bachelor-boy Hugh candidly admits that he loves sex scenes -- and even gets physically aroused by them! He says, "I've always enjoyed sex scenes, though you're not really supposed to. The classic answer is -- 'Oh, it's not sexy at all because there are so many technicians standing around'. But I've always found them extremely arousing." And Hugh's co-star in current Brit-flick smash Love Actually, Martine McCutcheon, also made it perfectly clear how much she enjoyed their on-screen romance. She says, "I have to say it was an honour to kiss Mr Grant. I had to go again on numerous occasions."
In current flick The Fighting Temptations, stunning Beyoncé Knowles has an on-screen romance with Cuba Gooding Jr. The 22-year-old Destiny's Child singer is one of today's most lusted-after stars, and 35-year-old married Cuba couldn't wait to get his hands on the Bootylicious babe. He gushes, "When you are married for nine years like me, you look forward to that kind of thing. Lord -- she was wonderful." But Cuba was careful not to get too carried away and anger her fiancé, rapper Jay-Z. He adds, "We had a couple of kissing scenes and I had to put the lips on her. Not the full routine -- I wasn't trying to get a brother shot by Jay-Z."
Free-spirited Cuba also reveals a cheeky love for on-set nudity, even when it's not required: "Butt Naked was my nickname for a long time on movie sets because when I had a love scene, I'd run butt naked through the set just to show them, 'Who cares?'"
Perhaps the best-known star for getting his kit off on a regular basis is Ewan McGregor. From his explicit sex scenes with Kelly MacDonald in Trainspotting, The Pillow Book, and recent movie Young Adam, there's almost no instance where Ewan isn't happy to bare all. But the Scottish star explains that his love of on-screen nudity has a more serious aim. He jokes, "I'm doing my bit for the women's movement. The women have always been naked in movies and now I'm just desperate to take my clothes off as much as possible."
Ewan's love scenes in Young Adam are some of the most graphic he's ever done, but the happily married star believes that gritty, 'dirty' sequences are more believable than glossed-over Hollywood sex. He says, "The scenes in Young Adam are quite hardcore and I think that's a good thing, that gone are the kind of Eighties glistening body-f*** scenes in Hollywood where everybody comes together."
But perhaps even more controversial than Ewan's penchant for the full frontal, was an oral-sex scene between Boy's Don't Cry star Chloe Sevigny and movie maverick Vincent Gallo in his independent film The Brown Bunny. Critics were shocked when the film was screened at the Cannes Film Festival -- but quirky Chloe insists that the scene just depicts something natural and 'romantic'. She says, "It's a really intense romantic scene, really beautiful. It's not gratuitous, it's deep. I do it in everyday life. Everybody's done it, or had it done to them." But Chloe - who previously dated Gallo -- does confess it was difficult to prepare for the explicit scene: "It was the toughest thing I've ever done. It was funny and awkward, we both laughed quite a bit. And we'd been intimate in the past, so it wasn't that strange."
Despite the recent uncertainty surrounding Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez's relationship -- and her fiery Latina reputation! -- Ben insists that his fiancée doesn't get a case of the green-eyed monster when he gets up close and personal with co-stars: "Jennifer is really not very jealous. She's pretty confident, and she's been in the business, she's done sex scenes. If it really bothers her she'll say something." But what happens if your co-star begins to take the scene a little too, er, personally? Again, 'Bennifer' seems to have the answer: "I actually did a love scene with Jennifer before we ever got together, interestingly enough, in Gigli, so we both know that we conducted ourselves professionally. It's an interesting way to build trust because I think there are some actors who want to blur the line for the sake of the performance or whatever else but I'm just not one of them."
But for every actor who insists that there's 'no problem' with sex scenes, there's half a dozen who insist they'd rather extract their own teeth!
Colin Firth had a traumatic moment on the set of his new movie Girl With a Pearl Earring, when he realised that screen lover Scarlett Johansson was only 17 when they were filming! Colin, 43, says, "Somebody pointed out to me that she was born the year I did my first film, Another Country. That was very distressing. Actually it made me feel like a dirty old man in the role. Cinematic convention forgives an awful lot that real life wouldn't -- I think it helped a great deal that she didn't seem like a young 17-year-old, which is what she was at the time. Otherwise it would've been a pedophile story."
And sexy Latina star Salma Hayek found her first movie love scenes in Desperado almost impossible to get through because she kept thinking about her family seeing her nude. Salma remembers, "I nearly got fired. I cried throughout the love scene. That's why you never see long pieces of the love scene. It's little pieces cut together. I didn't want to be naked in front of a camera. The whole time, I'm thinking of my father and my brother."
Friends stars Jennifer Aniston and Matt Le Blanc kept the world on tenterhooks with their character Rachel and Joey's 'will-they won't- they?' romance. British viewers were thrilled by the kiss that ended the last series -- hinting at more romance in the future. But Matt's awkwardness at filming the passionate lip- locks could mean Rachel and Joey aren't for keeps. He says, "(The storyline has a) huge ick factor. It felt so inappropriate and wrong to even touch her in that way. Rachel is Ross's girl. But the kissing was pretty good. I think Brad Pitt knows I enjoyed it."
As Hollywood becomes more accepting of depicting gay relationships in the movies, increasing numbers of actors are also having to prepare themselves for same-sex love scenes. Alec Baldwin is currently readying himself to portray gay fashion designer Roy Frowick Halston in a new movie -- and is debating how easy he'll find it to do the kissing. Alec says, "It's a chance to really transform myself. I could have a full-blown love scene with my boyfriend. I'm like, 'Hmm, can I get naked and get it on with a guy?' I wonder about that."
One person that could answer Alec's question for him is former Beverly Hills, 90210 heart-throb Jason Priestley. He was left with a severe case of stubble rash during the filming of his new movie Die, Mommie, Die after having to kiss a male co-star. Jason moans, "It was the first time that I ever got beard burn, it really was. Because it was about 4:30 in the afternoon and he had a little stubble going!"
And Jason Biggs certainly didn't enjoy his screen snog with Seann William Scott in this summer's gross-out comedy American Pie: The Wedding. "It was definitely different from kissing a girl. He had a bunch of stray hairs on his lip. The worst part was that we had to do 30 takes," laughs Jason.
But it seems that girls just wanna have fun when it comes to same-sex-scenes on screen. Charlize Theron found getting romantic on screen with Christina Ricci while filming their upcoming movie Monster was not a serious business! Charlize says, "I'd love to see the out-takes from it because Christina and I laughed way too much. We drove the sound guy bananas by giggling into his mike."
No matter how difficult the stars might find kissing each other in front of a group of strangers-- spare a thought for supermodel Heidi Klum. The German runway star was thrilled when she heard she'd be kissing Pierce Brosnan for a new James Bond computer game, only to be bitterly disappointed when she discovered the Irish hunk was being digitally simulated! Heidi laments, "I have this big kissing scene with Pierce but all I ended up doing was kissing my hand. I just had to make the noises, kissy noises for the game's sound effects."
So, when it comes to the movie love scene, it seems Hollywood stars deal with them in a variety of different ways. But no matter whether they love 'em or hate 'em, there's one piece of good advice that everyone should abide by. Over to Brittany Murphy, who's locked lips with the likes of Ashton Kutcher and Eminem: "I generally have a mint within close proximity." Wise words indeed...