Amanda June Bell @amandajunebell
The quality of a movie kiss can make or break a film. A good cinematic kiss can transport the audience right into the heart of a budding romance and help viewers care about the characters’ connection, but a sloppy screen smooch can sabotage the whole theatrical experience and render a supposed love story unwatchable. Luckily, there are a few films that fans can always turn to when the need for gooey, emotional goodness strikes — because they contain some of the best first kiss scenes to ever hit the big screen.
Even the most perfect first kiss scenes in movies have a story behind them, though. From kissing cast members whose real life relationships were purely platonic, to unexpected difficulties capturing the big moment on camera, to on-set encounters that were just plain awkward for everyone involved, here’s a look at the true story behind some of cinema’s most iconic first kiss scenes.
Winslet would later remember, “We shot that scene… about four times, and to be honest with you, by the end of it, we were just like ‘Ugh, we can’t kiss each other anymore.’ It just got so boring, and I had his makeup on me, and he had my makeup on him.” In other words, as swoony as the scene is on-screen, it was just another grueling day at work for the stars involved.
The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
According to Fisher’s final autobiography, The Princess Diarist, the two had engaged in an affair during production on the films, so they were well-prepared to lock lips during that day of shooting. As she wrote, “He took my arm and drew me into the back of a taxi, moving us closer and closer until we were two faces, four eyes, one kiss, going to the place where we could rehearse that kissing we would be doing a year and a half later in The Empire Strikes Back. These were the early days and nights of the Force.” As they say, practice makes perfect.
For Tobey Maguire, however, the moment wasn’t nearly as lovey-dovey as it looked. He told the BBC that while co-star Kirsten Dunst did most of the screen work in the shot, he was suffering in silence. “Because of all the water pouring down I couldn’t breathe,” he remembered. “The rain was pouring up my nose. Then she was kissing me and I couldn’t breathe out of my mouth! So, I had to hold my breath while I was kissing her. I would sneak little breaths out of the corner of my mouth.” Who knew a kissing scene could be the riskiest bit of an action movie?
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011)
For Emma Watson and Rupert Grint, who’d been working together since childhood, it was simply awkward. As Watson described to MTV News, “I was like, ‘Do I use tongue? Do I not use tongue? Do I cover my teeth? What do I do? Do I go first? Oh my God!’ I ended up pouncing on Rupert. I was so desperate to get it over. After the first take he was like, ‘Whoa, there! Where did that come from?‘ I was like, ‘Sorry!'” Luckily for everyone, that desperation seemed to have a different meaning from the audience’s perspective, so all’s well that ends well.
He told MTV News that it’s the one scene he would re-do if he could because, even though it was also the audition scene with Kristen Stewart that would earn him the role, he had trouble pinning down exactly when to pull away. “That was a hard scene,” he remembered. “I was always kind of preempting — the pull back — so I’m not sort of leaping away correctly.” Twilight fans might beg to differ, of course, because it was a good precursor for a whole Saga of hesitation to follow. But it looks like the actors involved don’t particularly relish revisiting this moment, even though it may have help make their screen careers.
Romeo + Juliet (1996)
The young lovers steal a forbidden kiss just inches away from being caught in the act — it’s all so torrid and innocent at the same time. Put simply, the two share some kiss chemistry that simply could not be feigned. Or could it?
Not only was the set of the film riddled with problems, including rampant illnesses suffered by the cast and crew, but when they first began filming this scene, per Entertainment Weekly, they encountered numerous unexpected hurdles. First Danes accidentally broke off a piece of the set. Then, Luhrmann told the young actors to leap into their first kiss with passion, so they took the advice a little too seriously — crashing heads and exploding into giggle fits. It apparently took around two dozen takes to get it right — and each one required the prodding from Luhrmann to get the two friends to stop thumb-wrestling and start kissing.
Lady and the Tramp (1955)
Believe it or not, the scene almost didn’t make the cut. Per Yahoo Movies, Disney archivist Steven Vagnini revealed, “Walt [Disney] wasn’t convinced that that would be a very clean-cut scene. As you can imagine, if you have two pets and they eat a plate of spaghetti, it’s hard to envision that being too graceful.” Luckily, animator Frank Thomas changed his mind by rendering a mock-up of what the scene might look like, and the rest is movie history.
Sixteen Candles (1984)
Actor Michael Schoeffling almost didn’t get the leading man role, however, and if it were up to Molly Ringwald, he wouldn’t have… and the final kiss would’ve been a lot steamier. She revealed to Entertainment Weekly (via Yahoo) that she was originally rooting for Viggo Mortensen to win the role after he made her “weak in the knees” during their kiss in the audition process. The two later co-starred in a film called Fresh Horses, and Mortensen revealed his regret that he kissed her during the audition because he believed the bold move is what cost him the role. Bummer.
Love Actually (2003)
Even Andrew Lincoln looks back on the ultra-memorable screen kiss with disdain, however, as he viewed his own character to be more of a scoundrel than a hopeless romantic. He even asked writer-director Richard Curtis, “Do you not think we’re sort of borderline stalker territory here?” Even if it wasn’t the most desirable way for a real-life guy to declare himself, it sure did make for one unforgettable movie moment.
Oluwole Olusanya is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of one of the fastest-growing lifestyle and entertainment website in the country. He is a banker, writer, blogger, public affairs analyst and a tax consultant. He anchors Trending Topics on SHEFFA where he shares his thoughts and opinions on trending issues.
He is currently studying for a Master’s Degree in Business Administration at the University of South Wales, Wales, United Kingdom. He has diplomas in Banking and Finance, Investigative Journalism, Creative Writing, and Linguistics from Lagos State Polytechnic, Isolo, Lagos, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland and The Open University, Milton Keynes, United Kingdom.