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12 Actors Who Asked For (And Got) Changes To Their

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“If there’s a sex scene, I can’t do it.”

1. Michelle Rodriguez threatened to walk away from her role as Letty Ortiz on The Fast and the Furious if her character cheated on her boyfriend with another man. Rodriguez told the Daily Beast, “It was more of a Point Break idea. They just followed the format without thinking about the reality of it. Is it realistic for a Latin girl who’s with the alpha-est of the alpha males to cheat on him with the cute boy? I had to put my foot down.”

Universal / courtesy Everett Collection

She went on, “I basically cried and said, I’m going to quit and, ‘Don’t sue me, please — I’m sorry, but I can’t do this in front of millions of people.'”

Universal / courtesy Everett Collection

Rodriguez’s co-star Vin Diesel helped her make her case to director Rob Cohen. Said Rodriguez, “Vin was the first one to pull me to the side while I was crying, and he just looked at me and said, ‘I got your back. Chill out and let me handle this, and you’re right — it makes me look bad anyway.’ And there you go. That was the beginning of the Letty fairytale.”

Universal Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

2. In Season 7 of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Jake Peralta (Andy Samberg) and Amy Santiago (Melissa Fumero) welcome a son (named after the main character in Die Hard, naturally). The couple weren’t originally going to have children, but Fumero herself advocated for the storyline.

Fox / courtesy Everett Collection

Showrunner Dan Goor told E! News, “We had been thinking about it for a while because, you know, there are natural stepping stones in a relationship — not that our relationships have to go in that direction, but after marriage, having children is one direction it could go. And I really was firmly of the belief that it’s a workplace show, and their relationship exists in the workplace, and I wasn’t keen on them having kids. I just felt like that wasn’t necessary.”

20thCentFox / Courtesy Everett Collection

Then he spoke to Fumero about it. Said Goor, “I said, ‘I can’t think of a compelling reason,’ and she had one. Her reason was ‘I feel like Amy — this is Melissa speaking — is a person who wants to get an A on every test, and getting pregnant is a test you can’t study for, so if she has difficulty getting pregnant, it could drive comedy and be really compelling.’ Immediately, I was like, ‘Oh yeah.’ She knows that character so well, and that is so true. And so we decided, at that point, before the season started and before I knew she was pregnant, to make her and Jake decide to try and have a kid.”

20th Century Fox / Courtesy Everett Collection

3. One of cinema’s most famous declarations of love, or lack thereof, was written by an actor as an alternative to what was already in the script. Just before Han Solo (Harrison Ford) is frozen in carbonite and possibly lost forever in The Empire Strikes Back, Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) tells him, “I love you.” To which Han famously replies, “I know.” Ford came up with this cool-as-a-carbonite-cucumber reply himself.

Courtesy Everett Collection

According to J.W. Rinzler’s book The Making of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, the scene in the original script is much less terse. In it, Leia tells Han, “I love you. I couldn’t tell you before, but it’s true.” And Han responds, “Just remember that, ‘cause I’ll be back.”

Courtesy Everett Collection

A conversation between Ford and director Irvin Kershner that is transcribed in the book reveals how the line came to be. Ford told Kershner, “I think she ought to just say, ‘I love you,’ as I’m passing by her.” Later on, he added, “If she says, ‘I love you,’ and I say, ‘I know,’ it’s beautiful and it’s acceptable and it’s funny.”

20th Century-Fox Film Corporation / courtesy Everett Collection

4. According to Uproxx, John Krasinski wrote in the book Welcome to Dunder Mifflin: The Ultimate Oral History of The Office that he refused to film a scene that would’ve had his character, Jim, cheat on his wife Pam (Jenna Fischer) by kissing a coworker, Cathy (Lindsey Broad), while they were traveling for work.

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Krasinski wrote, “My feeling is there is a threshold with which you can push our audience. They are so dedicated. We have shown such great respect to them. But there’s a moment where if you push them too far, they’ll never come back. And I think that if you show Jim cheating, they’ll never come back.”

NBC / Courtesy Everett Collection

Series creator Greg Daniels ultimately agreed to cut the scene, though he pointed out that it may still have been beneficial from a narrative point-of-view. Daniels wrote, “I feel like that kind of worry was good in terms of the fans’ engagement. I think they knew what was coming. They were very comfortable with the show they were getting, and I needed to worry them that maybe I was going to give them a bad ending so they were happy when they got a good ending.”

NBC / Courtesy Everett Collection

5. Anna Kendrick told Harper’s Bazaar UK that she turned down a romance between her Pitch Perfect character, Beca, and a music producer named Theo (Guy Burnet) in the third film of the franchise, since the pair’s professional relationship would make it “kind of fucking problematic” for them to get together.

Universal / courtesy Everett Collection

Kendrick added, “And they still wanted to have a version at the end when we kissed, and I still said no.”

Universal / courtesy Everett Collection

6. Maya Hawke revealed during a red carpet interview that her Stranger Things character Robin wasn’t always a lesbian, and that the decision to have her come out as gay was the result of a “collaborative conversation” between her and the show’s creative team. Hawke said that Robin’s sexual orientation wasn’t decided on until the fourth or fifth episode of the season, only a few episodes prior to her immediately beloved bathroom stall coming out scene.

Netflix / Courtesy Everett Collection

And in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Hawke recalled, “Throughout filming, we started to feel like she and Joe [Keery, who plays Steve] shouldn’t get together, and that she’s gay. Even when I go back and watch earlier episodes, it just seems like the most obvious decision ever.”

Netflix / Courtesy Everett Collection

7. During one episode of The White Lotus, Armond (Murray Bartlett) and Dillon (Lukas Gage) are walked in on while they’re in a compromising position. Namely, one in which Dillon is, as Gage put it to the AV Club, “getting his salad tossed” by Armond.

Originally, they were supposed to be having sex, but Gage said that he and Bartlett suggested changing the nature of their characters’ encounter to series creator Mike White. Gage said, “We said, ‘Wouldn’t it be more interesting if [Dillon’s] getting his salad tossed? I mean, how often do we see that on TV?’ I think it’s much more interesting and more jarring to walk in on.”

Bartlett and Gage worked with an intimacy coordinator to film the scene.

8. During an appearance on the Vulture TV Podcast, Rita Moreno revealed that she asked the writers of One Day at a Time to not shy away from her character Lydia’s sexuality.

Netflix / Courtesy Everett Collection

Said Moreno, “I asked the writers when I was talking to them on the phone initially, before there was even a script, I said I’d like her to be sexual. Because you don’t see that. Once people turn a certain age, that gets completely ignored by writers, and it’s a shame. I’ve always been a very sexual person. That doesn’t mean I’m going around feeling my breasts and pressing myself against men, but I’m a sexual being. I’m 85, and I’m still a sexual being, or a sensual being.”

Netflix / Courtesy Everett Collection

She went on, “And that appealed to them, and of course the audience loves that. Including, by the way, the younger people because I think unconsciously they see there’s hope that it doesn’t all suddenly go away, your ovaries just turn to dust overnight simply because you can longer conceive. It doesn’t mean that you don’t have sexual allure or yearnings.” Moreno joked that Lydia would “flirt with a fence post.”

Netflix / Courtesy Everett Collection

9. Jack Reynor, who played Christian in Midsommar, told the L.A. Times that he “advocated for as much full-frontal nudity as possible” during a sex scene, both to tap into his character’s mental state and to experience the sort of vulnerability women are often subjected to in horror films.

Amy Sussman / Getty Images

Said Reynor, “You don’t see that stuff happening to male actors in films very much. Although it’s not pitched at the same level of violence, it does flip that dynamic on its head a little bit, and it was an opportunity for me to experience something of that as a male actor.”

He went on, “And to shoot a scene where I was going to have to be exposed — I advocated for as much full-frontal nudity as possible. I really wanted to embrace the feeling of being exposed and the humiliation of this character.” While filming the scene, Reynor said he “felt really, really vulnerable, more than I had actually even anticipated.”

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10. During a 2020 appearance on Common’s Mind Power Mixtape podcast, Mahershala Ali revealed that he would’ve turned down a role in 2008’s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button if director David Fincher hadn’t agreed to rethink a sex scene between him and his co-star Taraji P. Henson. Ali, a Muslim, explained on the podcast that he wanted the scene changed because he was “just trying to hold a space of respect for my religion.”

Paramount / Courtesy Everett Collection

Ali recalled that when his agent told him he booked the part, he told her, “If there’s a sex scene, I can’t do it.” Fincher made the scene less graphic, and according to Ali, he and Henson simply “fall out of the frame” after kissing.

Paramount / Courtesy Everett Collection

11. Sydney Sweeney told the Independent that while she was playing Cassie in the most recent season of Euphoria, she asked series creator Sam Levinson to leave out some gratuitously revealing shots.

Said Sweeney, “There are moments where Cassie was supposed to be shirtless and I would tell Sam, ‘I don’t really think that’s necessary here.’ He was like, ‘OK, we don’t need it.’ I’ve never felt like Sam has pushed it on me or was trying to get a nude scene into an HBO show. When I didn’t want to do it, he didn’t make me.”

Euphoria employs an intimacy coordinator, just like The White Lotus does. HBO, which produces both shows, announced in 2018 that they would require the presence of an intimacy coordinator for all sex scenes moving forward.

12. And finally: Taron Egerton, who played Elton John, made it clear while promoting Rocketman how important it was to him that the sex scenes he filmed made it into the final version of the biopic. According to the Daily Beast, there were rumors during production that the studio hoped to significantly edit or remove a gay sex scene outright, but that didn’t end up happening.

Paramount / Courtesy Everett Collection

Egerton told Entertainment Weekly that he was worried that sex scenes between Elton John and his manager/partner John Reid (Richard Madden) would be cut. Said Egerton, “Until I saw the final cut of the movie, I never really relaxed. We see him in some fairly compromising scenarios. I always was probably frankly slightly paranoid about those parts of the story being filleted in the editing room or gradually being removed from the script over the course of the shoot. But to be honest, it just never happened.”

Paramount / Courtesy Everett Collection

And Egerton told the Daily Beast, “We wanted the LGBTQ community to feel a sense of ownership over the film and be championed by it. We are, sure, celebrating a pop star’s life, but we are also celebrating a standard bearer of that community’s life. Scrutiny is going to be a part of that.”

Paramount / Courtesy Everett Collection

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