Debra Messing recently recounted her story of being insulted by the director on the set of her first movie, A Walk in the Clouds (1995).
Once Messing was on set she said the director, Alfonso Arau, who she also referred to as an “ass hat,” suddenly tossed a nude scene into the film that was not part of the original script.
Messing alleged that when she asked about the scene, Arau told her: “Your job is to get naked and say the lines. That’s it. You should be grateful to have this part.”
The Will and Grace star claimed Arau said he needed to “set” the sheet covering her naked body before cameras rolled.
“He lifts it, scans my naked body, then drops the sheet on top of me like a used Kleenex. He walks away without a word,” the actress said.
She said after being sized up during shooting, the only part of her unclothed body on view in the film is her back.
“The whole thing was a power play, a game. And the goal, to demean me, to strip me of my power and make me feel on a cellular level his dominance over me.”
During a kiss scene between Reeves and Messing, the actress recalled Arau’s “look of horror” seeing a close-up shot of her face.
“I’d never been on a film before,” said Messing, “I was doing a love scene with Keanu Reeves. We started filming and the very famous director screamed ‘Cut’ and said, ‘How quickly can we get a plastic surgeon in here? Her nose is ruining my movie.’”
“I can’t do this! Look at this!” Arau shouted, she said, pointing to her nose at the monitor where the freeze frame was displayed. She remembered feeling “frozen, horrified, mortified” during the awkward moment on set.
Messing says Arau asked her to help him by hiding her nose from the camera. Messing said she “felt deep shame” for her Jewish heritage.
Messing said she’s now proud of her body and confident. “I have a strong nose. I have small breasts,” said the actress. “I’m a f***ing original. My nose and I have come this far, and like Barbra Streisand, I’m defiantly keeping it.”
Watch Messing’s full monologue here.