Jonathan Bailey And Naomi Watts Bond Over Filming Masturbation Scenes And 'The Line Between Feeling Comfortable And Feeling Not'

 Jonathan Bailey and Naomi Watts.
Credit: Netflix/Harper's BAZAAR

One thing that Bridgerton’s Jonathan Bailey and The Ring’s Naomi Watts have in common is their experience with steamy scenes. In one of Netflix’s best shows, Bailey’s character, Anthony, is known for his power of seduction. One of Watts’ best roles was in the sexy thriller film Mulholland Drive, where her character has seductive scenes of her own. The two British performers bond over filming masturbation scenes and when to draw "the line between feeling comfortable or not."

It’s one thing for audiences to watch sexually explicit movies on Netflix in theaters or other services on your streaming schedule. Filming these scenes is a whole other story. Jonathan Bailey spoke on Variety’s Actors on Actors about having to do a masturbation scene for his historical romance miniseries Fellow Travelers and channeling Naomi Watts’ Mulholland Drive masturbation scene. After the King Kong actress spoke about how that particular scene "traumatized" her in the David Lynch movie, Bailey spoke about what filming his masturbation scene was like:

Yeah, so was I. And it was really similar, actually. Anyway, I just remember giggling quite a lot, and the line between feeling comfortable and feeling not, when the stakes are that high.

I can imagine it feeling embarrassing having to portray solo sexual pleasure for the camera. It can also be very challenging when you’re trying to get into character, but you can’t help but feel like laughing in a moment that’s supposed to be very sensual. Still, it proves that filming physical scenes like that can be a mix of feeling comfortable and a bit out of place.

Naomi Watts’ masturbation scene in Mulholland Drive wasn’t as pleasurable for her character, Diane, as you may imagine. With distressful tears and frustration on Diane’s face while she touches herself, this is the character’s vulnerable moment when she’s trying to take back control after feeling like everything is going wrong for her. Filming that challenging scene was no picnic for Watts herself. She explained to Bailey just how jarring it was:

I remember having to go to the bathroom multiple times because I think I might have been having explosive something or other. I was so in butterflies. I was freaked out and David knew that, but he didn’t want to not get the scene. I kept sort of attempting it and going, 'I can’t do this, David. I can’t do it.' He was always off at the other side of the room in a black tent or something, and actually he made it very private for me.

The St. Vincent actress mentioned that there may not have been intimacy coordinators on set, but David Lynch helped her feel safer by creating a private environment for her. On the other hand, she couldn’t stop crying during the masturbation scene, which was not Lynch's intention. The Oscar-nominated filmmaker wanted the British actress to convey anger in her struggle to reconnect with the world in what’s supposed to be a sexually satisfying moment. Having to rush to the bathroom many times after accomplishing scenes like this sounds like such a pain. Fortunately, Watts handled these emotional scenes like a pro.

As Jonathan Bailey and Naomi Watts bonded over filming masturbation scenes, we learned that taking part in sensual scenes like this can either make you giggle or take multiple trips to the bathroom. These suggestive scenes may not have been easy to do, but both performers were able to get the job done well.

Jonathan Bailey’s miniseries Fellow Travelers is available to watch on your Paramount+ subscription. Make sure to also see Naomi Watts play Babe Paley in FX’s series Feud: Capote vs. The Swans with your Hulu subscription.