A behind-the-scenes look at Joe Swanberg's new film, Birthday Suit, about a young couple's "on again, off again" sexual relationship. The film uses cutting edge technology developed at the WETA Workshop to create the illusion of graphic sexual content.
- September 30, 2009
- 260k Views
Starring Jason Lewis, Vinessa Shaw, Monika Smith and Pat O'Brien
Featuring Kent Osborne, Julia Sandberg Hansson, Ryan Perez, Ti West, Daniel Kaufman and Matthew Newton
Written and Directed by Joe Swanberg
Sound by Bo Sundberg
Edited by David Lowery
Photographed by Ryan Perez and Drew Antzis
Wardrobe by Leslie Schilling and Diane Herlofsky
Make-up by Shauna O'Toole
Produced by Mike Farah
September 30, 2009
Pat OBrien: All right! In our next segment we are going behind the scenes of an edgy new film that pushes the envelope both sexually and technologically. The spirit of independent film-making meets the technical wizardry of Hollywood, and it's bound to raise more than just eyebrows.
Pat OBrien: Jason Lewis and Vinessa Shaw baring all in their upcoming film Birthday Suit about a young couple's on again, off again sexual relationship. Sounds steamy, right? But all the bumping and grinding might not be as simple as it looks.
Jason Lewis: Having to do the sex scenes is, you know, you're with a stranger and it's uncomfortable to really have to expose yourself, so I think it's a great challenge for any actor.
Vinessa Shaw: I don't really do nudity, so I was a little hesitant to do the film at first, 'cause you know, it's pretty graphic.
Joe Swanberg: Because this film uses sex to tell the story, it was important that we still got all those elements, but we had to find a way to make everybody comfortable and to work inside of the Hollywood framework.
Joe Swanberg: And, action. [Clack]
Marc Ribak: The never-before has actual body on body mapping done before in a movie. That's pretty, pretty cutting-edge. It's gonna revolutionize the way we do, you know, the way sex scenes in general are shot, I think. I hope so.
Joe Swanberg: Essentially what we're doing, is we're mapping some breasts and some male genitalia. And what we're gonna do, is use that to retroactively make the actors seem like they're naked and like they're engaging in graphic sex.
Pat OBrien: To add the explicit details to the finished product, the filmmakers turned to the special effects team at Peter Jackson's WETA workshop.
Joe Swanberg: It was important for me that the CGI contain the same amount of emotion that the real actor would bring to it. And, it's also important to the actors, I mean, when we talked about doing this project, I made a promise to them that the CGI breasts and the CGI genitals would be completely seamless.
Jason Lewis: I have a lot of faith in Joe. I think, you know, it's not really a matter so much of size as it is discretion of what's appropriate.
Vinessa Shaw: Joe's very forthright with what's being asked of me, so I thought 'why not?' Why not really try this new technology with him?
Marc Ribak: Rather than working with fantastical elements of gollums, or ghosts, or whatever, we're really, we're working with you know, I mean, we're working with an a*s, and a butt, and a, you know, a dick, and, um, a boob, and a c*ck, and a dick, and, and, we're working with these things that, things that people know, you know? Everybody knows what a dick looks like. Everybody knows what a c*ck looks like, and so it's trying to match that, you're not, like working with an animated horse or something.
Marc Ribak: It's a com... I mean, every, I know what a dick looks like, I've seen, you know, I mean, everyone knows what it looks like.
Joe Swanberg: If anybody, for even a split second, realizes that that's a digital erection, then we've failed. At our job.
Joe Swanberg: See, this is what I'm talking about.
Jason Lewis: It kind of gives you this whole new level of freedom because it's not really my...
Joe Swanberg: One of the great things about working with professional actors is that they're able to construct that reality no matter what situation they're in.
Vinessa Shaw: Um, you know, I just decided to be brave and go with it and see what comes about. I mean, you know, hopefully it won't ruin my career. [Laughs] You know, I don't know.
Brien: Look for Birthday Suit's premier at the Sundance Film Festival before it opens in theaters next spring.