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The Tongue and The Restless
Best Kiss? Actors Weigh in on Making Out
- Larry Carroll, with additional reporting by Jennifer Vineyard

When you dream of kissing your true love, is it like the movies? Does the moment resemble the famous lip-locked embrace between Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams from the 2005 Movie Awards? Does the music swell and the lighting dim as your lips connect? Are the kisses soft, the emotions genuine and the taste always minty fresh?

If so, then your dreams aren't anything like the movies. At all.

"I think it was Michael Caine who said, 'If you're going to do a kissing scene, have some breath mints,' " Vince Vaughn laughed recently when asked what it was like to film make-out scenes. "[You should] take one and then offer it to the other person, just to be sure that everything will be on the level."

With the 2006 MTV Movie Awards on the horizon, Hollywood once again has its mind on the infamous Best Kiss category and the latest list of nominees. Did Rosario and Clive exchange a mint before their "Sin City" smooch? How did Terrence deal with being several inches taller than his "Hustle & Flow" co-star Taraji? These questions and more are being asked by those who know, firsthand, that a memorable kiss has as much choreography behind it as a Pussycat Dolls performance.

"I've had a lot of bad kisses," laughed this year's Movie Awards host, Jessica Alba. "The hard kisses are terrible. Those hard-lipped ones — yeah, I'm not into that."

The "Sin City" star insisted, meanwhile, that her Best Kiss-nominated co-stars in the film were merely following director Robert Rodriguez's orders when they splashed all that sultry color across his black-and-white cinematic canvas. Nevertheless, the Dawson-Owen smooch still makes Alba wince every time she sees it.

"I think she kissed him so hard that she drew blood from his mouth," she insisted, adding that it's nevertheless sexy — in a morbid kind of way. "Especially coming from Rosario; she's real hot."

Moviegoers watch those scenes and, of course, dream of partaking in a similarly steamy encounter. For their part, the stars know that very feeling quite well — because it's the power of such scenes that drove them into the entertainment business in the first place.

"My favorite movie kiss of all time is in 'From Here to Eternity' with Burt Lancaster," Dante Basco ("Take the Lead") said of the 1953 Oscar-winning drama. "It's just Deborah Kerr and Burt Lancaster on the beach. It's everybody's fantasy to roll around in the water with a beautiful girl, just making out."

"What makes a great kissing scene? I think the spontaneity of it," offered actress and comedienne Jillian Barberie. "Like, in 'Scarface' when Al Pacino went to kiss Michelle Pfeiffer in the yellow Cadillac with the leopard trim, and they're doing coke in the front seat. He just lunges at her!"

"That's a chick-flick question," huffed "The Longest Yard" star Terry Crews, before finally giving in and nominating a legendary onscreen kiss that made its mark. "I've gotta say when Luke Skywalker kissed Princess Leia. But then you found out it was his sister, so it kind of got nasty."

For other stars, classic movie make-out scenes don't necessarily belong to an older generation.

"I've got to say 'The Notebook,'" Efren Ramirez ("Napoleon Dynamite") said, remembering that film's tender (and Movie Award-winning) moment in the rain. "That, to me, was like the best kiss. Every time you sit down and watch that movie with a hot babe, you're gonna be making out at the end of the movie. Come on, how could you say no to that?"

"Um, that didn't happen with me — I watched it with my girlfriends," countered up-and-coming Diddy protιgι Cassie, adding that she'll make sure to never watch the movie with Efren Ramirez. "But it was very passionate, that rain kiss when they ran to each other."

For some actors, looking back on great movie kisses means remembering their own onscreen moments — and the Golden Popcorn handouts that left them hanging.

"We lost!" screamed Anna Paquin, still smarting from a 2004 Movie Awards upset of "X-Men 2."

"Yeah, we lost," added her kissing partner, Shawn Ashmore. "I was a little upset about that. We got beat out by two girls kissing a guy" — Carmen Electra, Amy Smart and Owen Wilson in "Starsky & Hutch" — "and we can't compete with that."

A dejected Paquin could only shake her head, mumbling: "The triple kiss."

"Yeah, the triple kiss is a little sexier, I guess, than the single monogamous kiss," Ashmore said, consoling the partner that he'll try, try again with in "X-Men: The Last Stand."

That triple kiss may have broken the hearts of Paquin and Ashmore, but it gave Vince Vaughn quite a bit of joy.

"I liked the kiss that Owen had in 'Starsky & Hutch,'" Vaughn said of his pal's three-way. "I just think Owen's funny, and the scene's funny."

"Guys, when they watch movies, don't get as caught up in romantic kisses as girls do," Vaughn went on. "I think they always kind of remember comedic scenes. The kiss in 'Wayne's World 2' with [Kim] Basinger and Dana Carvey? That's funny."

Whether it's real or imagined, a humorous kiss (like, for instance, Anna Faris and Chris Maquette's moment in "Just Friends") or something more straightforward, there are certain elements that any memorable make-out session must possess.

"Altoids. Seriously, you need the Altoids," insisted "Wedding Crashers" actress Diora Baird. "I did a play in high school where a guy ate sushi before every single scene and we had to kiss; it wasn't very pretty."

"When you go in for a kiss you need to go in for a kiss — you've got to really do it full-on or not do it at all," Alba cooed. "Sometimes they're bad, but when they're good, nothing else matters. You're lifted into another zone."

"Real. Passion. You know, none of the fake in it," Jennifer Aniston added. "There's passion and heat."

"I want to see tongue!" Barberie shrieked. "I don't care if it's politically incorrect. I want to see tongue!"

Think it's hard to juggle all those components in real life? Imagine being surrounded by an anxious film crew with cameras.

"It's a little awkward, when someone's saying, 'No, you need to position your head right here,'" Paquin confessed. "I just feel really self-conscious, and I wanna go home and cry."

"I wanna make out surrounded by five electricians," added her co-star Ben Foster (Angel in "The Last Stand") sarcastically. "That's what gets me off."

"Yeah," Paquin responded. "I want a boom this close to my face when I'm making out."

Nevertheless, the stars all insisted that they would never let a stuntman do the deed on their behalf — although Vaughn did confess that he might have called for backup if he had been cast in one of this year's Best Kiss-nominated flicks.

"I think if I was doing the sequel to 'Brokeback Mountain,' I would probably use a kissing double," the actor laughed, giving a shout-out to nominees Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal. "But otherwise, I would probably just grin and bear it."

Tune in Thursday, June 8, at 9 p.m. ET/PT for the 2006 MTV Movie Awards.

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