Jamie Lee Curtis Reveals the Secret Story Behind Her "True Lies" Striptease

Here's what went into filming the sexy and hilarious scene.

Jamie Lee Curtis and Arnold Schwarzenegger played husband and wife in the movie True Lies in 1994. The film centered on secret agent Harry's (Schwarzenegger) double life causing chaos in his marriage to Helen (Curtis) and his professional life, with Helen looking to get in on the action. In the midst of those efforts comes one of the most memorable True Lies scenes, featuring Helen performing a striptease in her underwear for her husband. Recently, Curtis revealed the story behind the iconic movie moment, and the challenges that came along with it. Read on to see what Curtis had to say looking back on her infamous dance.

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Jamie Lee Curtis said there was no choreographer or rehearsal for the striptease.

jamie lee curtis
Tinseltown/Shutterstock

On the most recent episode of the People in the '90s podcast, Curtis got candid about her experience behind the scenes of her striptease. "The thing that nobody knows," she revealed, is that "there was no rehearsal, there is no choreographer." That means she had free rein to do whatever she wanted—but no time to practice it.

Of course, the star went on to nail the scene, but filming had its challenges. Curtis said she used her personal passion for dancing at home when nobody was around to get into the moment. "I don't think [director James Cameron] had seen me in my underwear," she said. "We were doing it over and over and over, and it got quieter and quieter."

Curtis picked the song "Alone in the Dark" to dance to.

Jamie Lee Curtis "True Lies"
20th Century Fox

Luckily, Curtis didn't have to do her dance in dead silence. Cameron asked Curtis what song she'd like to dance to while filming the scene. The actor she chose "Alone in the Dark" by John Hiatt because the song had "this really funky rhythm." She recalled telling Cameron, "I really like that song," and that's what she was listening to while doing multiple takes of the memorable scene.

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She credits Cameron with making the sexy moment a hilarious one.

Jamie Lee Curtis "True Lies"
20th Century Fox

"Jim knew that the dance was too sexy; it was too real," Curtis recalled, which resulted in him deciding to have Helen fall down mid-striptease. She said that once the dance started to look too good, the director recognized that "he needed to break the spell of what the husband had put his wife through."

Cameron went over to her and whispered, "If I get a pad, will you let go of the pole?" She obliged. "So they just wheeled in a little thin mat, on the ground, and we did it again, and I let go," she continued.

Curtis said she thinks they only did two takes where she let go of the pole and fell, and happened to get the perfect clip. It wound up being one of the most hilarious moments in the film.

The striptease scene yielded the "single biggest laugh" she thinks she'll ever get in her life.

Jamie Lee Curtis "True Lies"
20th Century Fox

When she saw the movie with her dad, actor Tony Curtis, at the Fox Theater, Curtis said the response that rang out was "the single biggest laugh [she] will ever get in [her] life." She continued: "Thousands of people—and you know, it gets really quiet during that sequence, because it's a little sexy. Then when [Helen] falls and then gets back up, oh my God … the laugh."

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Allie Hogan
Allie Hogan is a Brooklyn based writer currently working on her first novel. Read more
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