Got a Gay Orgy Scene to Shoot? Martin Scorsese Called This Choreographer

Courtesy of Paramount Pictures
'The Wolf of Wall Street'

Michael Arnold ('The Wolf of Wall Street,' 'The Normal Heart') has five things to keep in mind before staging group sex in film and TV.

This story first appeared in the Feb. 20 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

Choreographer Michael Arnold (The Wolf of Wall Street, The Normal Heart) has five tips for plotting the bacchanalia including ice-breakers before the shoot: "This way, on set, nobody's going, 'Oh, hi, nice to meet you. I'll be screwing you.' "

1. Paint a vivid picture

Gay orgies are "not in Marty's wheelhouse," so Michael Arnold's interview to work on Martin Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street got straight to the point about a scene in which Margot Robbie's character arrives home to find her butler reveling in group sex: "This wasn't a time to be shy, so I said, 'Maybe one guy's sitting in the chair, jerking off, there's two couples 69-ing on the sofa and there's a guy, bent over, getting screwed from behind over there.' I guess that booked the gig."

2. Know your players

"I interview everyone to see what they're comfortable with. Some will go topless but not bottomless, or they'll simulate sex but won't be nude. It's a lot of troubleshooting."

3. Build trust

"I have to make sure everyone has touched each other and rehearsed different versions," notes Arnold, who plans (clothed) trust falls and other physical ice-breakers before the shoot. "This way, on set, nobody's going, 'Oh, hi, nice to meet you. I'll be screwing you.'"

4. Get your hands dirty

Staging one scene on a plane for Wolf, Arnold had to physically place some actors. "At one point, I was lifting a naked girl with knee-high boots onto [Leonardo DiCaprio's] waist because she couldn't bend her knees. ... Leo was incredibly gracious and comfortable with everybody. Such a gentleman."

5. Prepare for interference

Outdoor shoots present unusual obstacles. While staging Normal Heart's four-way in Fire Island's "Meat Rack," home to al fresco man-on-man encounters since at least the 1960s, Arnold witnessed one overly eager passersby: "It couldn't have been more authentic. The cameras were moving in, and this guy walked down the path to find all of these cute, half-naked actors. He thought he won the lotto."

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