Why Jake Gyllenhaal Says Filming Sex Scenes With Jennifer Aniston Was ‘Torture’

Jake Gyllenhaal said filming sex scenes with Jennifer Aniston was like “torture” on the set of their 2002 drama The Good Girl. And it’s because Gyllenhaal had a crush on her.

Filming sex scenes is incredibly awkward. Actors have to make out and perform choreographed movements that look like sex all in front of a full crew, which can include dozens of people. It’s not sexy, but it’s intense, especially when you have a little crush on the very famous actor your sex scenes are with. 

As a guest on The Howard Stern Show, Gyllenhaal opened up about how he felt about his intimate scenes with Aniston almost 20 years ago. At the time, Friends was still on the air, so Aniston was as famous as ever. 

“[Filming the sex scenes] was torture—yes it was,” Gyllenhaal said. “But it was also not torture. I mean, come on, it was like a mix of both.”

The Good Girl—directed by Miguel Arteta and written by Mike White (creator and writer of HBO’s The White Lotus)—follows Justine (Aniston), a cashier at a discount store in a small Texas town who is dissatisfied with her life, including her husband. She starts to notice a young new cashier, Holden (Gyllenhaal), and they have an affair. 

“Weirdly, love scenes are awkward, because there are maybe 30, 50 people watching it? That doesn’t turn me on,” Gyllenhaal said. “It’s oddly mechanical. And also it’s a dance—you’re choreographing for a camera. You can get in it, but it’s like a fight scene, you have to choreograph those scenes.”

Jake Gyllenhaal added that Jennifer Aniston made the sex scenes more comfortable for both of them by suggesting what is known as “the pillow technique,” which means a pillow was placed in between them during the scenes.  “I think that was actually a Jennifer suggestion,” he said. “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.”

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