sundance 2015

Chris Messina Got Very Naked at Sundance

Let’s recap the R-rated bounty we’ve already received at what Vulture Kyle has dubbed “The Sundance of Sex”: Sebastian Stan was involved in the most gymnastic penetration ever captured onscreen; Jack Black hooked up with a certain paramour of Liz Lemon’s; Alexander Skarsgård took his clothes off to aid the sexual awakening of a teenager; Jason Sudeikis digitally pleasured a bottle of green tea; and Adam Scott and Jason Schwartzman danced full-frontal while swinging their prosthetic dicks with joy.

As of today, add Chris Messina to that august list. Fans of The Mindy Project will be thrilled to know that Messina strips down completely in Joe Swanberg’s Digging for Fire. Messina’s part isn’t large, but what you see … I’m blushing too much to finish this sentence, but trust that unlike the full-frontal in The Overnight, it’s all real. Swanberg works without a script, so his actors operate on instinct within the parameters of a ten-page outline — and apparently Messina’s instinct is to get naked. His character is part of a hard-partying group — including Sam Rockwell, Anna Kendrick, and Brie Larson — who disrupt Jake Johnson’s house-sitting stint. Cocaine comes out and, eventually, so does Messina’s penis. I saw the movie at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday. It’s a helluva way to wake up.

“Well, I’m all about male nudity, which isn’t in movies enough,” Swanberg said at the post-screening Q&A. “You know, there’s a lot of legal shit that goes into having people naked in a movie — there’s contracts involved and things like that — so obviously we didn’t do that because I didn’t know he was going to take his clothes off. So I wrote him afterward and I was like, ‘Well, I think I’m going to use it. What do you think about that?’ He said, ‘Well, send it to me. I don’t want to be just an extra in your movie who got naked.’ And I was like, ‘All right.’ So I sent him a Vimeo link, and he was like, ‘I love it! Use the cock!’”

An audience member raised his hand: “So, following up on what you just said … ”

“We’re just going to talk about Messina’s penis the whole Q&A,” Swanberg interrupted, laughing.

Johnson pretended to anticipate the next audience question: “So what was Chris thinking when he showed his penis?”

Another audience member asked Johnson to explain the difference between acting for movies and for TV. “I guess on New Girl,” he replied, “you’re not going to see Chris Messina’s dick.”

“You have to watch The Mindy Project for that,” said Swanberg.

Johnson imitated a TV previews announcer voice: “Stick around half an hour and Danny Castellano’s dick comes out!”

The talk about Messina’s member ended there at the screening, but luckily, I had another chance to catch up with Swanberg, Johnson, and their co-star Rosemarie DeWitt for an interview later in the day. I thanked them for starting my morning out right with the nudity-focused Q&A. “We should try and start off most mornings that way,” Swanberg said.

What was Johnson’s experience like during that scene? “I wasn’t in that scene!” he told me. (Which could be true. I was very distracted.) “You thought I was, like, hiding in the bushes,” he continued, laughing. “I wasn’t hiding in the bushes like, ‘Yeah!’ But I was really excited.”

“He’s going to love to see that all over the internet,” said DeWitt, blushing and laughing. “I mean, he would bring it up.”

“It was nice to talk about it,” said Swanberg.

“It was nice to talk about it!” DeWitt concurred. “You need to email him that it was nice to talk about it.”

Chris Messina Got Very Naked at Sundance