When a movie calls for full-frontal male nudity, it's usually a blink-and-you-miss-it scenario.
Just last fall, moviegoers took to the Twittersphere to debate whether they'd actually gotten a glimpse of Ben Affleck's manhood during a shower scene in "Gone Girl." The moment was so fleeting that one blog even created a guide devoted to "How to See Ben Affleck's Penis in 'Gone Girl.'"
Yes, there have been a few memorable moments: Mark Wahlberg's sizable prosthetic in "Boogie Nights," Jason Segel's naked towel-drop in "Forgetting Sarah Marshall." But for the most part, we don't see a lot of male genitalia in movies — there's not even any dropping trou in this summer's "Magic Mike XXL," a film about male strippers.
Enter this weekend's "The Overnight," a bold comedy about a dinner party that turns into an evening of bacchanalia. The movie follows a couple (Adam Scott, Taylor Schilling) who are new to Los Angeles and looking to make new friends when they're invited for a meal at the home of a more — how shall we put it? — uninhibited couple (Jason Schwartzman, Judith Godrèche). Schwartzman plays the ultimate Eastside hipster dad: He's created a star projector for his kid's room, smokes from a 2-foot-long bong and is extremely comfortable being naked.
So when he and his wife start skinny-dipping, the more conservative couple is taken aback. Scott's character, as it turns out, doesn't want to strip because he's insecure about his size — especially compared with that of his new friend, who is extremely well-endowed.
Both actors donned prosthetics in the film, but their near-nudity is still a rarity for the big screen, particularly because the two men end up discussing male body issues. In separate interviews, Scott and Schwartzman, both 34, spoke to The Times about the experience of almost baring it all.
How did you settle on the appropriate prosthetics?
Scott: The producers, director and I had a long email chain where we'd get photos of prosthetics with iPhones next to them for scale. When we got the picture of the small one, Mark [Duplass, who produced the film] and I were like, "Really? Is that what people think small is? Because I feel like it should be quite a bit smaller than that." We were all questioning our place in the world.
You must have been anxious about putting those things on.
Scott: We were both nervous, even though Jason's is the more generous of the two. Nudity is not fun. But then, once we put them on, we were weirdly more comfortable than we thought we would be. It's not real, even though it looks real, so there's a psychological barrier. It was pretty chill, just hanging out on set.
Schwartzman: I'm kind of modest. I wouldn't just take my clothes off. But there was something about the penis — or being totally naked, whatever you want to call it — that was actually easier to do for my brain. Let's say there was no nudity, but a scene where we all hang out by a pool in our bathing suits. In a way, I'd be more nervous about that than walking around with a prosthetic penis on. Once I put that thing on, I was so excited to show people. I wanted it to be a part of everyone's life on that set. I said, "Anyone who wants to touch it can touch it."
What was it made of?
Schwartzman: It was made of a memory foam — or maybe even a thicker, harder Tempur-Pedic. I referred to it as Temper-Penis. It wasn't rubber. It was, like, in the middle of rubber and Tempur-Pedic. And the inside of it — you know those breast cutlet type things? It almost had that on the inside. So it wasn't too bad. It was kind of squishy.
So it wasn't too uncomfortable.
Scott: I was happy to take it off, but it wasn't horrible. We spent most of the time in the pool, anyway. Mine got waterlogged, so we had to squeeze the water out of it.
Schwartzman: It got waterlogged. By the end of that movie, it was a whole different penis. I ended up actually wearing it a lot of times when you don't even see it on camera. There was something about the character, and I figured, look, we have this prosthetic and it's a big part of this character — no pun intended. So I didn't have them glue it on me, but just tape it on me, and I would just wear it under my clothes sometimes.
In your experience, do adult men openly discuss their body insecurities?
Schwartzman: It's probably more of a high school phenomenon. Puberty and teenage-hood is a hard time for people. Adam has a speech in the movie where he's like, "I didn't know it was small until high school, being in the showers." That's where everyone is comparing. I'm sure it's constantly there in every urinal.
Scott: I think it's mostly private, but even the most private things shape how you see yourself. That's why I thought it really took guts to write about this in the script. It's all real, intimate stuff. I was a chubby kid from late elementary school all the way through junior high, and there was a lot of teasing, plus the fact that I didn't get any attention from girls. A huge part of my personality was formed in those years, I think. Males have those body issues; they're just not as prevalent or talked about.