Lars von Trier’s new project, Nymphomaniac is already inciting controversy for being one of the first films with well-known actors who will engage in unsimulated sex scenes. The film currently has Shia LaBeouf, Charlotte Gainsbourg (Melancholia) and Stellan Skarsgard (Thor) attached to it.
Other “mainstream” movies with real sex scenes in it are Vincent Gallo’s 2003 film, Brown Bunny and British director, Michael Winterbottom’s 2004 film, 9 Songs.
Vincent Gallo wrote, produced, directed, and starred in the indie-art house movie, Brown Bunny. The movie also starred Gallo’s then girlfriend, Chloe Sevigny and premiered at the Cannes Film Festival. The story follows a motorcycle racer on a cross-country drive who is haunted by memories of a former lover. The film had an infamous scene where Sevigny performed an unsimulated fellatio on Gallo.
British director, Michael Winterbottom’s art house film, 9 Songs starred unknown actors Kieran O’Brien as Matt and Margo Stilley as Lisa. The tittle of the film refers to the nine songs played in the movie by eight different rock bands.
The story begins with Matt, a British climatologist in Antarctica looking back on his 12-month relationship with Lisa, an American exchange student, when he was still living in London. The film had scenes of live performances at the Brixton Academy by bands like Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, The Von Bondies, Elbow, The Dandy Warhols, Super Furry Animals, Franz Ferdinand and Michael Nyman. The film shows the couple traveling around London and on weekend getaways in the countryside with footage of the couple having unsimulated sexual intercourse, oral sex and scenes of ejaculation.
Michael Winterbottom who directed Angelina Jolie in A Mighty Heart, thought it was a double standard that novels could have explicit sex scenes and be legit but films could not.