What's the Real Deal Behind An On-Screen Hookup?

You know how actors always say "it was awkward?" 

If it's just acting then why sometimes does it turn so real? Angelina Jolie and Brad PItt, Kyra Sedgwick and Kevin Bacon, Kristen Stewart and Rob Pattinson, the story is as old as time. They all call it "awkward," but you know there's something there.

You’ve watched Abby and Jake McCarthy (played by Lisa Edelstein and Paul Adelstein) get hot and heavy as they navigate the separated life on Girlfriends Guide To Divorce. And we're sure you thought to yourself, "they can't be faking it."

Most actors say with all the lights, crew, and blocking, kissing on screen is more like a choreographed number than a makeout sesh. “It’s all technical,” they declare. But seriously, passion must get stirred up a little when tongues co-mingle? You may be surprised to find out how some actors respond when they have to kiss under the red light.

“I think that actors and dancers view the body as a tool, so they tend not to be so uptight about it,” says Samantha von Sperling, who stars in the short film First Impression. In one scene, she and her onscreen boyfriend hide in a bathroom from gangsters.

“I had to make out with my co-star who I had never met before that day, and we were supposed to be getting it on hardcore. It was enough to give me butterflies in my stomach.” The thespians spent most of the day exchanging pleasantries. “We could feel the tension, so we decided, we’re grown-ups, and this could be hilarious, so let’s go for it. The kissing was real, no fake kissing without tongue, we went all out.”

Samantha was married, and her co-star had a girlfriend.

“Some of the excitement came from being allowed to do what you’re not allowed to do in real life. If you’re in a monogamous relationship, you can’t kiss someone else. It felt forbidden, but that’s what we were there for – we’re supposed to grope other people on camera. It wasn’t the best kiss or the most passionate, but it was fun.”

Kristos Andrews stars as Pete Garrett on the digital drama series The Bay, where he gets to kiss his leading lady Karrueche Tran (yes, Chris Brown’s ex) on the regular.

“A kiss can feel quite real,” shares Kristos, who won a Daytime Emmy for his work in 2016 (we’re sure those realistic liplocks played a part). “I feel like any good actor who really cares about his work will fully commit himself to the kiss. So for the moment, you do feel sparks.”

Kristos admits that he feels chemistry with his co-stars – when they are on set. “When it’s on, it’s on. When it’s done, I turn it off again.”

A little real-life flirting also makes an onscreen kiss worthwhile. “It’s kind of a healthy thing, it’s character development,” he chuckles. And just like any good suitor, he gets to know the gal he’s working with – just to make it more comfortable onscreen and off. “I find a reason to be in love, I study my co-stars, and it’s not even very hard to do. I’ve been quite fortunate, and sparks fly when we kiss.” Of course, there’s one step he never forgets. “First we use Listerine pocket mist,” which Karrueche always shares.

Ellie Foumbi, who stars in the breakout digital comedy series #AfriMericans admits that kissing can be “a little weird, even if you’re attracted to your scene partner. In most cases, you are strangers being asked to engage in this incredibly intimate act. Most people don’t realize how awkward that is, especially given the fact that you’ve got a crew of people staring at you as you do it.”

And Ellie confesses, it not the most comfortable position to be in, “though it helps to have a scene partner you have good chemistry with and a director who creates a safe environment for you to work in.”

Her co-star Rhym Guissé agrees. “It’s is such an odd experience. Because it's such a choreographed task, every movement is calculated. I find myself focusing on making it look ‘natural.’ It's a moment where I constantly think to myself what a bizarre profession I have!”

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