Debra Messing, who starred on TV in “Will & Grace” and “The Secrets of Laura,” says film director Alfonso Arau sexually harassed her on the set of the 1995 movie “A Walk in the Clouds,” her first big Hollywood film.
The New York Post’s Page Six reports that Messing, who appeared with Keanu Reeves in the film, made the revelation during a speech this week at the Makers Conference in California.
“On the second day of filming, Messing was shooting a scene in which Reeves’ character finds her in bed with another man, and was informed that she’d have to do a nude scene, despite allegedly never agreeing to do so in her contract,” The Post reports. “She claimed that when she talked to her agents, they told her, ‘You can say no and they fire you or you can do it and you keep your job.’”
Messing, 48, said when she asked Arau about the scene, he told her, “‘Your job is to get naked and say the lines. That’s it. You should be grateful to have this part!’”
The Post report adds: “When the scene finally began shooting, Arau claimed to want to ‘set the sheet’ when Messing was on the bed nude.”
The report quotes Messing saying: “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. Throughout the day, he made me stand only slightly covered with the sheet while he walked around me deciding his camera angles. He says nothing to me, only yells, ‘No, cover your nipple!’ or ‘Cover your ass!’”
Messing added that in the end, the only part of her body that was seen naked in the film was her back.
“The whole thing was a power play, a game,” she said. “And the goal, to demean me, to strip me of my pride and power and make me feel on a cellular level his dominance over me. I felt violated.”