The Lion King and “Forrest Gump” were the top two grossing movies of 1994, and Jamie Lee Curtis won the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Motion Picture Comedy or Musical for her performance in “True Lies.” Her character, Helen Tasker, does a striptease for a man in the shadows in one of the movie’s most well-known moments. She had no idea that the actor portraying Harry Tasker, her husband, is Arnold Schwarzenegger.
After learning that Helen was stepping out on him with a car salesperson, Simon (Bill Paxton), who causes ladies to believe he is a secret agent, Harry has arranged to put Helen in this embarrassing position using his resources as a covert agent who poses as an unadventurous computer salesman. Helen hasn’t cheated on Harry with Simon, but she’s bored with their ostensibly routine life and she doesn’t aware that Harry is a spy.
You might be surprised to learn that the “True Lies” striptease sequence was not professionally rehearsed. James Cameron, the film’s writer/director, offered Curtis a lot of freedom when it came to the dancing, letting her pick the song she would dance to. In a 2021 episode of the podcast “People in the ’90s,” Curtis disclosed:
“The thing that nobody knows: There was no rehearsal, there is no choreographer. Jim said to me, ‘What do you want to dance to?’ It was when John Hiatt’s ‘Bring the Family’ album was out and I said, ‘There’s a song called ‘Alone in the Dark’ that has this really funky rhythm.’ And I said, ‘I really like that song.’ And that’s what they played.”
It’s a little rough around the edes
It makes reasonable that Helen’s striptease would not be sophisticated since she is not a professional exotic dancer but rather a wife and legal assistant looking for thrills. She begins by taking the initiative with her thumbs, eerily resembling Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ Elaine from the comedy “Seinfeld,” which was in the middle of its run as the top television programme at the time. Helen eventually starts to relax and participate more in the dance as Harry instructs her from the shadows while using a tape of another man’s voice.
Like many of us, Curtis has some personal experience with dancing in her underwear in a private setting. Cameron came up with the brilliant idea to have her let go of the bedpost that served as her improvised stripper pole while she was performing her pants-off dance-off in front of the camera. She completed it while he brought in a mat. Curtis clarified:
“It’s because Jim knew that the dance was too sexy; it was too real. It started to actually be good, and he knew he needed to break the spell of what the husband had put his wife through.”
Although “True Lies” isn’t currently available on Blu-ray, digital, or streaming services (which is incredibly upsetting), a new TV programme based on Cameron’s well-known action-comedy is in development, and you can always find YouTube footage of the striptease scene. Just keep in mind that if you decide to dance like Helen, you might want to bring a mat in case you trip and fall.