Sebastian Stan & Denise Gough Truly Go For It In The Steamy, Dreamy Monday

Photo: Courtesy of IFC.
If you thought Sebastian Stan’s recent Instagram butt pic was good, just wait until you see the movie it’s meant to promote. In Monday, The Falcon & The Winter Soldier star plays Mickey, an American-born DJ living in Athens, Greece, who falls fast and hard for Chloe (Denise Gough, who was set to star in the now-cancelled Game of Thrones prequel series next), an American expat immigration lawyer, during a wild party. Their connection is nearly instantaneous: Within minutes, the two are making out, and the night — or rather, morning — ends with them naked on the beach, being prodded by tourists and arrested for indecent exposure.
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Directed by Argyris Papadimitropoulos, what follows is a steamy portrait of a couple in the throes of toxic, sexually ravenous attraction. Mickey and Chloe are clearly crazy about each other, sharing the kind of all-consuming passion that prompts the latter to give up her previous plan to return to the U.S., and move to Greece for good. But can their love last past the initial sparks?
Whatever the answer to that question, it’s the journey, fuelled by Stan and Gough’s absolutely explosive chemistry, that drives this movie. Monday is a movie about desire, and the power it holds over our imaginations. As a result, sex is an integral part of the plot — so much so, that Gough nearly passed on the project entirely. 
“I initially thought I couldn’t do the film was because of the sex scenes,” she told Refinery29 over Zoom ahead of the film’s April 16 release on VOD. “[Usually,] it always falls to the actress to do all the sex stuff — the orgasm, everything. So, I’ve never been interested in doing them.”
Not here. Gough jokes that “Sebastian carried his side,” of their scenes together, but the truth is that Monday’s focus on sex isn’t salacious. It’s more about honesty than it is titillation. How much would you give up for good sex? What parts of yourself would you be willing to compromise for the fantasy you’ve created around the person who shares those moments with you? And how do you know when it’s time to move on?
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Ahead, Stan and Gough share their memories of filming in the middle of a whirlwind of parties, and what they look for when watching sex scenes in movies. 
Refinery29: I’ve watched the opening party scene like six times in the last three days. It has such good energy!
Denise Gough: “The parties are real!”
Sebastian Stan: “It was a Friday night, and we got there at 5 p.m. They had done the set, and we were like: This is going to be a party and we’re just going to film it.
DG: “And that happened a lot! My favorite party was the party on the island. I danced so hard that night, it was amazing. And then I realized, Oh they’re filming everything…”
So, it was just a regular party and you would be weaving in and out of shots?
SS: “If we had lines, Argyris would turn the music down for the lines and we’d get them out, and then immediately he’d go, ‘We got it so, let’s party for 20 minutes and see what happens.’
DG: “We went out one night for drinks, and I have a clip of us at 6 o’clock in the morning, on a bar, all of us, dancing. I don’t know how it turned into that — we weren’t even drinking very much. It’s not a big boozy, crazy messy thing. It’s literally like this is the sexiest world I’ve ever been in.”
Your characters have sex everywhere in this movie. Were those scenes challenging to film?
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DG: “I initially thought I couldn’t do the film was because of the sex scenes. It always falls to the actress to do all the sex stuff, so the orgasm, everything. So, I’ve never been interested in doing them. But then I watched Argyris’ film Suntan and they have a different attitude towards sex in Greece. It just didn’t feel like we were filming sex scenes. It’s always going to feel a bit weird, but at that point we were so in the improvised world of that relationship, it was sort of okay. And Sebastian carried his side, so I didn’t ever feel like I’m being filmed now, having sex. The camera just kind of moved around and we pretended. And then we jumped in the sea.”
SS: “I think, as long as everything felt earned… and it did. With every scene, not just sex scenes or the nudity, it’s like What’s the most truthful thing here? They would be naked because they just did this. And that. It always felt safe that way.”
DG: “It never felt gratuitous. There was a scene where we were doing a big fight, and we spoke as much about that as we would have done on a sex scene: Is it truthful? Is everything how we need it to be? I think that was Argyris and my first big fight! I was like, I’m not coming in here and throwing myself around unless I believe it!”
SS: “It was so vulnerable because someone was handing us this text and going: ‘All right well, now what do you guys think?’  Like, You’re asking me how I’m going to shape this scene? That’s a lot of back and forth between two people that are already being asked to connect. This movie is always going to be a gift for me. I don’t care if people like it or not, I couldn’t give a fuck. I know we did something that was truthful. There was no way we could have been more true about it.”
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DG: It was so whole-hearted. I was given Greece as a gift in this. I’m learning the language, I have friends that I will [continue to] speak to. This was a big life thing for me. I’m grateful because Sebastian has so much film experience. I felt looked after, cared for. Things drove me crazy. I was broken and battered by the end of it, but also lifted up beyond anything I’ve done on-screen.”
As actors who have done these very intense sex scenes, do you enjoy watching them in other movies? Or do you dissect them and just see the technical aspect?
DG: “If it stands out too much then that’s obviously a problem. There is a lot of sex now, isn’t there?”
SS: “You know what it is? If you’re watching a movie and the sex scene comes up, and you’re conscious of it as The Sex Scene, then actually the problem is much earlier than that, becuase you haven’t really invested in the people and the characters and the story. But sometimes, it sort of just happens, and it’s not some weird sort of speed bump that you’re getting over. [There are] movies where sex scenes are doing some of the lifting for what the performances or not doing, or what the movie’s not doing. That feels salacious.”
DG: “The French do it really well. I remember watching [Jean Leguillon’s] Betty Blue when I was really young.”
SS: “Oh my god…”
DG: “[Béatrice Dalle] is so naked all the time, and it’s so great.”
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Argyris Papadimitropoulos describes this movie as a rom-com gone wrong. What attracted you to that concept?
SS: “Notting Hill is one of my favorite movies. Ever.”
DG: “Sebastian watches everything as well — you’re amazing at movie watching.”
SS: “I love good romantic comedies! But they’re tough —  I’m trying to think of the last ones I really loved, like Bridesmaids. Sometimes I see stuff that young people are seeing that doesn't really mirror the world as I see it: How messy it is, and how crazy it is when you’re meeting people right off the bat. Especially now. Think about how many people are meeting online. Now more than ever, you’re getting this idea of this person with the right light, and pictures, doing all this work to try to give you this thing of who they are. And then you’re going to meet them, and with a lot of pain discover that they’re not entirely all that. Hopefully they’re doing work on themselves, and they’re owning it. But if they’re not, fuck. You’re in for a treat. 

“I love the idea that this movie was simply saying, We all love a good party and you’re always looking for that miracle night. I think we’ve all been there: Tonight I’m going to meet somebody and it’ll be fun, it’ll be great. Then it happens and you’re so high from it, and you don’t want it to end. You can’t stop thinking about the person. But then, what happens when Monday comes around and you gotta go back to life?”

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