Debra Messing’s start in Hollywood was much rockier than she’s previously let on.
While speaking at the 2017 Makers conference on Tuesday, Messing recounted a harrowing experience on the set of her first film, “A Walk in the Clouds,” which was released in 1995.
According to Messing, she showed up for work on the Keanu Reeves film under the impression that she would not be doing any nude scenes, but director Alfonso Arau was quick to correct her.
Messing said that an angry Arau told her, “Your job is to get naked and say the lines. That’s it. You should be grateful to have this part.”
Messing ended up performing the scene naked under a sheet, with just her bare back showing in the finished film. But that didn’t make the process of filming it any more pleasant.
“The whole thing was a power play, a game,” Messing said. “And the goal: to demean me, to strip me of my power and make me feel on a cellular level his dominance over me.”
In another scene, Messing said, the director remarked during a close-up of her face, “How quickly can we get a plastic surgeon in here? Her nose is ruining my movie!”
Messing said the incident caused years of shame, but she’s now come to take pride in her appearance. “I have a strong nose. I have small breasts,” she said. “I’m a f***ing original. My nose and I have come this far, and like Barbra Streisand, I’m defiantly keeping it.”