What It’s Like to Be a Movie Body-Double

Welcome to Sexpositions, a weeklong Vulture celebration of sex scenes in movies and on TV.

A whole lot of stars want Laura Grady’s body. A dancer, model, and actress in her own right, Grady also works as a body double in Hollywood, standing in for the likes of Helena Bonham Carter, Robin Wright, Patricia Arquette, and Marisa Tomei. Usually she’s called upon to do sex or nude scenes, and she’s always hired with the actress’s approval. “It’s not that they don’t have great bodies; they all do,” the gorgeous blonde notes diplomatically. “But sometimes they don’t have time to do a B-camera roll or something like that. It’s not always that the actress isn’t comfortable.” As for her popularity in this department, Grady credits her ballet training, her professional demeanor, and her all-natural body (she does a lot of Zumba). We asked Grady to walk us through her most notable body-double moments, from having outdoor sex with Jason Statham in Crank to making love “like molasses” for Fight Club. (For more information on Laura and other body doubles, go here.)

Slums of Beverly Hills (1998)
Marisa Tomei’s body double
“Marisa Tomei was maybe the nicest lady ever, and she had an incredible body. I think she was trying on bras in a scene with Natasha Lyonne. So it was just a little bit of nudity. Oh, and there was a towel scene, too, she comes out of a shower. But that was fun. Easy.”

Fight Club (1999)
Helena Bonham Carter’s body double
Fight Club was my favorite by far. It was just incredible. There was so much work on that set; it was literally two weeks of just these scenes in bed! You cannot be shy. There was also a body double for Brad Pitt, so we spent two weeks with David Fincher on a set and green-screen, just reenacting all of those sex scenes. I did see Brad Pitt and Helena Bonham Carter throughout the day, but they were never in my scenes — the body doubles did their thing, and then Brad and Helena did their thing. So I never got to interact with Brad, unfortunately. David Fincher is just a master genius. He took so much time with us. He really, really cared about how we looked. And all those scenes — it was the most intricate sex scene I’ve ever done in my life. And it was pretty hard-core. We were all over each other, me and the body double. He wanted us to choreograph it, like a dance. He would come up with these phrases to give you ideas of what he wanted, like, ‘You’re in molasses,’ or ‘You’re in water, it’s streaming.’ And then when you see the movie, it’s just exactly that.”

Coyote Ugly (2000)
Piper Perabo’s body double
“With Coyote Ugly, I had a sex scene with the main actor, Adam Garcia. I remember him being a little bit younger and a little bit shy, but he was very nice. The scene could be half her [Piper Perabo] and half me. Sometimes I have no idea — like in Fight Club, it’s so good, sometimes I can’t tell — is that me? Is that Helena? Is that both of us? I don’t even know.”

Supernova (2000)
Robin Tunney’s body double
“If I get body makeup where it’s really heavy, like in Supernova, then it’s not fun. I’ll take it off and I get very sensitive and then I’m red for a day. I don’t like to be a green color or anything weird, because then it’s really hard to get off. I can’t remember this particular scene, it was so long ago. Robin Tunney was with the aliens or something, and they were in these pods? I just remember they had these pods on set. It was a very long shoot, like three weeks, and there was a sex scene with Lou Diamond Phillips — he was very cordial and nice. And I was just hanging around naked. I think they slept naked in the pods? Maybe something like that.”

Human Nature (2001)
Patricia Arquette’s body double
“I had a part in that where I played one girl who was naked onscreen, and then I was also Patricia Arquette’s body double. I remember that Michel Gondry was a little bit like David Fincher, very artistic. So those two were the most intricate of scenes. I remember Rhys Ifans being very shy. It’s really funny — when you work with another body double, we’re laughing about stuff, like we’re waiting tables. But when you work with the actor, they get so shy. They think because I’m a body double, that I do it all the time, that I’m not shy — but of course I am a little bit!”

EuroTrip (2004)
Jessica Boehrs’s body double
“On Eurotrip, I actually worked with my husband! We were naked together. We were making love in a church. I got him his SAG card that way.”

Crank (2006)
Amy Smart’s body double
“My most fun moment on set was Crank. Jason Statham made me feel so comfortable. I can’t remember exactly what he said, but I remember telling my husband later — something so charming, like, ‘Don’t worry about it, I got ya, love.’ He didn’t make me feel stupid or naked. And I had to be completely topless, and it was this crazy scene outside with all these background actors. But I was like, ‘This is not a bad day. I’m taking my clothes off for Jason Statham. I’ll be okay today.’ I remember getting the call for Crank 2; Amy Smart requested me and I thought that was really nice. But I was pregnant and couldn’t do it, and I was so upset. But you can’t be a pregnant body-double. It’s a liability.”

State of Play (2009)
Robin Wright’s body double
“In that one, I wasn’t used at all. I just sat in my trailer, ready to go, and then at the end, [Robin Wright] decided to do her own scenes. That happens sometimes. Sometimes they just get a body double because they think they might need one, and then all of a sudden the actress is comfortable and she’s like, ‘No, I’ll just do it.’ Or they change a scene and they don’t make it as risqué. I remember just sitting in my trailer, thinking, if I actually go on, I’ll have a scene with Russell Crowe. I mean, who wouldn’t want to be on set with Russell Crowe?”

The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard (2009)
Girl in car
“I was hired to do a sexy scene with Jeremy Piven, and it got taken away from me because he hired his girlfriend instead — or he liked her, or something. It was Gina Gershon, who is uncredited. And I remember I was so upset — I cried — because I got the part! And I loved Jeremy Piven because my favorite show was Entourage. I think I was gonna be naked or kissing him in a car, and then a plane crashes or something like that. And then they said, ‘I’m so sorry, we’re going to pay you, but you’re not going to make it to set.’ And then Gina Gershon got the part instead.”

Unnamed low-budget Movie
“I actually had a horrible time on set, but I can’t remember the movie. It was a sex scene, and he was acting like it was really sex, and I was like, ‘You are crazy.’ I don’t even remember the title and there’s no way I’m credited. It was a nobody actor and it was a stupid low-budget movie. But that was a really bad memory. I remember calling [my agent] Linda and saying, ‘This guy hurt me!’ Oh, he was a Method actor. That was it. And he would go in his dressing room and he would be screaming, and I was thinking, oh God, I’m going to get killed! That was literally my worst time ever. You know, when you go on sets that aren’t big-budget, it’s not as fun. And I really mean that. On a big-budget set, you’re treated like gold.”

What It’s Like to Be a Movie Body-Double