"The Passenger": An Actor's Perspective
How I Survived My First Sex Scene

On the set of "The Passenger"
(Part Three)

Maureen Biermann



Sunday, April 3, 2005
10:30 am

I arrive at the Hastings Street Ballroom and Tangent Gallery for today's shoot. Two scenes to shoot today: a club scene and a bedroom scene, which is actually a sex scene. A very tasteful sex scene (no nudity in the shots), but a sex scene nonetheless. The type of thing I would be uncomfortable about if it ever fell into the hands of, oh, say, my mother.

From a professional standpoint, I am also a bit nervous. I have never filmed a sex scene before. Will I be believable?

11:30 am

I am costumed up and ready to go. I run through my lines. Some of them make me blush. I apply extra make-up.

12:36 pm

I make small talk with an extra who is wearing dark glasses and a black leather suit. He calls me baby and asks if he will be able to watch the impending bedroom scene, or if it will be a closed set. I say that it will be a closed set.

12:37 pm

I excuse myself from the conversation with the extra, nonchalantly make my way to Corianne, the Producer, and whisper-ask her if the bedroom scene will be filmed on a closed set. I whisper-tell her that I would prefer that it was. She whisper-answers that it will be. The extra in the leather suit waves to me from across the room.

3: 04 pm

Five cups of coffee later and it is time to shoot the first scene, the club scene. Close-ups, long shots, shots from below and shots from above, again and again we shoot the scene, from every angle imaginable, and every way possible. I am starting to get a bit more nervous about the forthcoming bedroom scene.

6:14 pm

Corianne the Producer has been hit (accidentally) on the head with a slab of falling particleboard. She has been concussed. She is a little dizzy, but she assures me that she can still manage her tasks: organizing dinner for the cast and crew, adding finishing touches to the set, generally making sure things run smoothly, and ensuring that the bedroom scene will be filmed on a closed set. She tells me not to worry. I tell her not to fall asleep.

7: 15 pm

All scheduled scenes have been filmed, except for the bedroom scene. Extras and non-necessary persons have been cleared from the set. Corianne has posted burly men at all entrances to ensure that the set remains closed. These burly men have also promised not to peek; they are trustworthy burly men, members of the band "Helvetica" from the film soundtrack and old friends of Corianne, who is still awake and less dizzy. She is my hero.

7: 35 pm

My scene partner Edward and I make small talk while waiting to film the bedroom scene. I admit that I am nervous, not because I have any personal inhibitions at all whatsoever, but because I am afraid that, someday, my mother may see this movie. Edward says to tell her to fast-forward through this part.

7:49 pm

We get to it. Via strategically placed blankets, lighting, and camera angles, the illusion is created. In actuality, physical contact is minimal. The whole process is painless, hygienic, fairly respectable, and (surprise) fun. Wish it happened like this more often in real life. Three hours later we are finished. I conclude that it is the best sex I never had.

(Look for further updates on the progress of this film in these pages.)


Maureen Biermann doesn't just act. Her latest directing project, "The Teachings of Don B.", can be seen at the Planet Ant Theatre as a Late Night show following "Usher," Thursday April 7 through Saturday April 9.

Information about Thought Collide and The Passenger can be found at their site www.thoughtcollide.com.

For the first installment of our coverage of the making of The Passenger, click here.

For the second, click here.

For Jamie Sonderman's responses to thedetroiter.com's famous Four Questions, click here.


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