Maggie Gyllenhaal: Sex scene was cool

Maggie Gyllenhaal

Maggie Gyllenhaal found acting out having sex on a stairwell “cool”.

The 36-year-old actress has had her fair share of racy roles over the years, such as Lee Holloway in Secretary. As Nessa Stein, daughter of a Zionist arms procurer, in upcoming TV miniseries The Honourable Woman Maggie has a lot of risqué scenes.

“I am way more wild in my characters than I am in real life, like with Nessa Stein. By the second episode, she’s having sex with strangers in the stairwell. I have never done that – not yet, anyway – but it’s cool to imagine what that would be like,” she mused to The Edit. “Not in a Victoria’s Secret way; in a totally realistic way, the way you are when you are as daring and wild as you would be with your real lover or husband. But of course it’s not real, because if it were real there would be too much at stake. There’s always that subtle difference.”

Maggie and her brother, actor Jake Gyllenhaal, were born to Emmy Award-nominated director Stephen Gyllenhaal and Oscar-nominated scriptwriter Naomi Foner. Although she was encouraged to follow her dreams while growing up, the brunette star doesn’t think she’ll re-enact her mother’s parenting skills with her own kids. Maggie has daughters Ramona and Gloria Ray with husband Peter Sarsgaard.

“There’s something a little bit wrong with what my mom did there. I remember a couple of auditions for musicals when I was a kid, and the shock of being told I didn’t cut it… To come to terms with what you are actually capable of is sort of important, right?” she recalled. “When I had my first daughter, I remember telling a friend, ‘I’m not perfect!’ – because of course I wasn’t, nobody is – and her coming right back to me with, ‘But that implies you think you are close.’ That put me in my place!”

Maggie has been acting from a young age and had her first film role at 15 in Waterland, which was directed by her dad. To remain grounded she has taken up therapy and yoga, admitting she burst into tears during a recent class.

“I don’t know, I feel that irony serves me less now that I’m older. What I used to think was cheesy, I just don’t anymore,” Maggie sighed. “Hopefully that’s the upside about getting older – the deepening of experience, the ability to become more vulnerable and open to things. Because I can see how trying to make sure you don’t have any wrinkles and your breasts are where they were when you were in your twenties would surely kill you.”

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