Debra Messing recalls 'Walk in the Clouds' director pressuring her to do naked sex scene, mocking her nose

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Debra Messing recently recalled being allegedly belittled and insulted by a director on the set of her first movie, 1995's A Walk in the Clouds.

Speaking at the 2017 Makers conference earlier this week, Messing said she had been told there would be no nude scenes in the film she starred opposite Keanu Reeves. But once she got on set, she heard that there would be one, and she spoke with director Alfonso Arau about it.

Messing said Arau was angered by her questioning his decision and alleges he told her, "Your job is to get naked and say the lines. That's it. You should be grateful to have this part," before instructing her to get out of the room.

While filming the scene, Messing said Arau went up to her and placed a sheet on her. "He lifts it, scans my naked body, then drops the sheet on top of me like a used Kleenex," said Messing. "He walks away without a word."

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Debra Messing through the years
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Debra Messing through the years
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 14: Debra Messing attends Ted Gibson's 50th Birthday Celebration at the Knickerbocker Hotel & Rooftop on November 14, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Santiago Felipe/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 14: Ted Gibson and Debra Messing attend Ted Gibson's 50th Birthday Party on November 14, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images for Ted Gibson)
THEY MYSTERIES OF LAURA -- 'The Mystery of the Maternal Instinct' Episode 207 -- Pictured: Debra Messing as Laura Diamond -- (Photo by: Paul Sarkis/NBC)
THE MYSTERIES OF LAURA -- 'The Mystery of the Ghost in the Machine' Episode 208 -- Pictured: (l-r) Debra Messing as Laura Diamond, Josh Lucas as Jake Broderick -- (Photo by: Paul Sarkis/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
THEY MYSTERIES OF LAURA -- 'The Mystery of the Maternal Instinct' Episode 207 -- Pictured: (l-r) Debra Messing as Laura Diamond, Josh Lucas as as Jake Broderick -- (Photo by: Paul Sarkis/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 09: Josh Lucas and Debra Messing on the set of 'Mysteries of Laura' on November 9, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Bobby Bank/GC Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JULY 13: Actress Debra Messing attends NBCUniversal's 2014 Summer TCA Tour - Day 1 at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on July 13, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Valerie Macon/Getty Images)
THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO -- Episode 4191 -- Pictured: Actress Debra Messing during an interview on February 3, 2012 -- Photo by: Stacie McChesney/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 15: Actress Debra Messing arrives at the 69th Annual Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 15, 2012 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 16: Actress Debra Messing is seen around Lincoln Center during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week on February 16, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/FilmMagic)
WILL & GRACE -- 'Dames at Sea' Episode 1 -- Aired 9/25/03 -- Pictured: (l-r) Debra Messing as Grace Adler, Harry Connick Jr. as Leo Markus -- Photo by: Chris Haston/NBCU Photo Bank
WILL & GRACE -- 'Dames at Sea' Episode 1 -- Aired 9/25/03 -- Pictured: (l-r) Eric McCormack as Will Truman, Debra Messing as Grace Adler -- Photo by: Chris Haston/NBCU Photo Bank
Host Debra Messing onstage at the 2002 VH1 Vogue Fashion Awards at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, 10/15/02. Photo by Scott Gries/Getty Images.
WILL & GRACE -- 'The Kid Stays Out of the Picture' Episode 3 -- Pictured: (l-r) Debra Messing as Grace Adler, Megan Mullally as Karen Walker (Photo by Paul Drinkwater/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
WILL & GRACE -- 'The Kid Stays Out of the Picture' Episode 3 -- Pictured: (l-r) Eric McCormack as Will Truman, Debra Messing as Grace Adler (Photo by Paul Drinkwater/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
WILL & GRACE -- 'The Kid Stays Out of the Picture' Episode 3 -- Pictured: (l-r) Eric McCormack as Will Truman, Debra Messing as Grace Adler (Photo by Paul Drinkwater/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - SEPTEMBER 22: Actress Debra Messing attends the 54th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards at the Shrine Auditorium on September 22, 2002 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Vince Bucci/Getty Images)
Debra Messing (Photo by Jason Kempin/FilmMagic)
The cast of the new Woody Allen film 'Hollywood Ending', arrive at the screening of the film on the opening night of the 55th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France, May 15, 2002. From left to right are Soon-Yi Previn, Woody Allen, Debra Messing, Treat Williams, and Tiffani Theissen. Photo by Frank Micelotta/Getty Images.
Debra Messing arriving for a screening of the new Woody Allen film 'Hollywood Ending', the opening night film of the 55th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France, May 15, 2002. Photo by Frank Micelotta/ImageDirect.
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The scene ended up just showing Messing's bare back. "The whole thing was a power play, a game," she 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."

She said in another scene, he was upset by her nose in a close-up still. She said he exclaimed, "How quickly can we get a plastic surgeon in here? Her nose is ruining my movie!"

Messing said after struggling with the shame she feels he inflicted on her, she's now proud of her body and confident. "I have a strong nose. I have small breasts," said the actress. "I'm a f—ing original. My nose and I have come this far, and like Barbra Streisand, I'm defiantly keeping it."

The Hollywood Reporter has reached out to Alfonso Arau's manager for comment.

Read more: Debra Messing Remembers Being "Starstruck" by Debbie Reynolds on 'Will & Grace' Set


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