Jake Gyllenhaal Revealed Filming Sex Scenes with Jennifer Aniston Was Torture

Jake Gyllenhaal talks about how filming sex scenes with Jennifer Aniston imposed their own special kind of torture.

By Tyler Pisapia | Published

This article is more than 2 years old

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Jake Gyllenhaal jokingly called filming a sex scene with his former crush, Jennifer Aniston, “torture” during a recent interview. 

The actor, who can be seen now on Netflix’s dramatic thriller The Guilty, was doing some promotion for the film on The Howard Stern Show when the conversation turned away from Jake Gyllenhaal’s latest project and onto the obscure 2002 film, The Good Girl, in which he co-starred as a romantic interest to everyone’s favorite Friends alum. Jake Gyllenhaal has mentioned in the past that working on the movie was a challenge for him because he had genuinely been crushing on his co-star for years. 

The role required Jake Gyllenhaal and Jennifer Aniston to simulate sex at one point in the movie. Ever the shock-jock, Stern couldn’t help but ask if it was torture to have to film a professional scene partially nude with someone he, and the world at the time, was crushing on. The actor, 40, jokingly called it “torture” before quickly noting that it was absolutely not torture to be so intimate with Aniston. Eventually, he settled on it being “a mix of both.” It also took the wind out of Stern’s sales to learn that Jennifer Aniston politely separated their bodies with a strategically placed pillow that allowed him to hide any excitement he may have felt during the scene. 

Jake Gyllenhaal threw further cold water on Howard Stern’s question by noting that romantic scenes are hardly what one dreams of when they think about being intimate with someone they’re interested in. He notes that not only is every move choreographed like a dance or a fight scene, but there are about 30 to 50 people on the set at the time watching it all go down, with some even giving notes. 

“That doesn’t turn me on,” he noted with a laugh. 

The film, a dark comedy, follows Jennifer Aniston as a depressed 30-year-old wife from Texas who is rapidly becoming disillusioned with her job at the local Retail Rodeo store as well as her marriage. That’s when she notices a young, new employee played by Jake Gyllenhaal. At first, his romantic overtures and obsession with J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye are charming. As a result, she begins an affair with him. However, over time he becomes significantly less chill about the whole thing, getting reckless and leading to her almost being caught on a few occasions. When he eventually threatens to murder her husband, she pulls the plug on the whole thing, setting off a chain of events that forces her to deal with life, societal confinement and the consequences of her brief vacation from reality. 

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Those are themes that come up a lot in the work of Mike White, who in addition to penning the script for The Good Girl and co-starring alongside Jake Gyllenhaal and Jennifer Aniston, currently has a lot of wind at his back due to his most recent project, the hit HBO series White Lotus, which was already renewed for a second season. 

Unfortunately, good memories are really all that anyone walked away from after The Good Girl finished its run. Box Office Mojo reports that the film only made a little more than $16 million off a budget of 8 million. While technically a success, it’s likely neither Jake Gyllenhaal nor Jennifer Aniston considers the movie a major stepping stone to the illustrious careers they enjoy today.