Naomi Foner directed Sarsgaard last year in the Very Good Girls, an indie that marks her directorial debut about two New York City girls (Dakota Fanning and Elizabeth Olsen) who make a pact to lose their virginity the summer after their freshman year of high school.
"Bizarre, totally bizarre," Sarsgaard told me about being directed by Foner at the Los Angeles premiere of his latest movie, Blue Jasmine (in theaters now).
"I hadn't read it that carefully, so I didn't realize I was going to be doing a sex scene," he said. "So that was the real surprise. Maggie and I kind of realized it at about the same time that I would be doing that."
"But you know, my mother-in-law's asking me to be in a movie that she's directing," Sarsgaard said. "I didn't have the same scrutiny about the project I would have with somthing else. So I missed that part, and also the fact that it was with Dakota Fanning."
The Killing actor decided to take the reins for the bedroom romp because neither Fanning nor Foner had much experience with such risqué material.
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"I said [to Dakota], 'You're going to lay down and I'm going to disappear out of frame and you're going to make a face,'" Sarsgaard remembered. "And I'm not going to be there while you're pretending I'm having sex with you. We're going to be on a closeup on you."
Demi Moore also appears in Very Good Girls as Olsen's hippie mom who believes in "free love" and asks that her children call her by her first name.
The movie premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January.