Thirty-five years ago, fellow Brat Pack-ers Rob Lowe and Demi Moore bared their souls — and much more — in the summertime hit About Last Night, which opened in theaters on July 4, 1986. Directed by Edward Zwick and adapted from a popular David Mamet play, the film chronicled the on-again, off-again romance between Chicago twentysomethings Danny (Lowe) and Debbie (Moore), a love story bookended by a meet-cute and an emotionally intense break-up with lots of revealing love scenes along the way.
About those revealing love scenes: the mid-’80s was still an era where casual nudity would its way into major motion pictures starring major movie stars. In the case of About Last Night, there are multiple sex scenes featuring Lowe and Moore in various states of undress, plus a nighttime sequence in a kitchen where the shadows just barely obscure Lowe’s full-frontal nudity. And the actor tells Yahoo Entertainment that nude scenes were a fact of life during that period in his career.
“In those days, there was a sex scene in every movie,” Lowe says, with a laugh. “Every script I used to get, I would go to page 73, because that always where the sex scene was! It didn’t matter if it was a movie about priests and nuns, on page 73 there was going to be a sex scene. Today, you’d watch 17 movies and never see people with their clothes off unless [the movie] is about that.”
Speaking with Yahoo Entertainment in 2016, Zwick agreed that About Last Night represents the last gasp of a specific era in filmmaking, not to mention the broader cultural landscape. “The sexuality was so free and open and the consequence of that was not yet felt,” the filmmaker remarked. “As I think back on it, there was a certain kind of exuberance. It was talking a lot about a very innocent rite of passage. It’s a little different now — in fact it’s a lot different now.”
Watch our Director’s Reel interview with Edward Zwick below
As Lowe remembers it, though, the atmosphere on the About Last Night during the making of those sex scenes was far from “free and open.” “They’re not fun,” he says emphatically. “They’re not a hall pass, as much as you would like it to be. They’re very technical, and usually. very boring. I don’t know if you’ve had to kiss anybody for eight hours straight — it’s not fun! It’s not all your bargain for.”
What ultimately got Lowe through all that discomfort was the strong bond he’d forged with Moore. The two had previously acted opposite each other in the 1985 blockbuster St. Elmo’s Fire, and, in fact, the actor initially encouraged Zwick to find another lead actress for About Last Night to ensure it stood apart from that earlier film. “We’d just done St. Elmo’s Fire together, so I thought it would be fun to unite with someone different,” Lowe says now. “But I’m really, really glad it was Demi, and that other people made that decision. We were friendly and we were comfortable [with each other], and that’s the key to doing any love scene or any nude scene in particular.”
Lowe and Moore’s comfort with each other also aided them in performing About Last Night‘s most demanding scene — when Danny and Debbie go their separate ways after their relationship implodes. “The break-up scene was really well-written and really well-directed,” Lowe says. “I still shed a tear when I watch it! I still feel bad for Debbie and Danny, and I want them to be together.”
Unlike Mamet’s play, Zwick’s film does provide viewers with a hint of a happy ending, with the central couple taking baby steps towards re-coupling. And Lowe would like to believe they put their drama behind them and are still going strong 35 years later. “Happily at the end of the movie, they’re back together, but that break-up scene was something for sure. Demi was great in it. I think it’s one of her best performances ever to this day.”
About Last Night is currently streaming on Showtime and Sling TV.
— Video produced by Nurys Castillo and edited by Valerie Volpacchio
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