Ed Helms: Going Naked Isn't So Funny

Ed Helms Naked in Cedar Rapids
Ed Helms, in Cedar Rapids

updated 02/11/2011 at 09:00 AM EST

originally published 02/11/2011 10:30AM

As if losing a tooth in The Hangover wasn't proof enough of just how uninhibited Ed Helms can act, then go take a look at his latest effort, the big-screen comedy opening Friday, Cedar Rapids.

In it, the costar of The Office, here playing a dorky Midwestern insurance salesman, not only has intimate scenes with Sigourney Weaver and Anne Heche, but also shares a bare-all, towel-dropping embrace with Kurtwood Smith, who played the father of Topher Grace's character on That '70s Show.

"I was completely naked," Helms, 37, told PEOPLE at Thursday's New York Cinema Society screening of Cedar Rapids, sponsored by Altoids. "I feel that those little modesty pouches that they give you for nude scenes are far more humiliating than actually nudity, so why not just go for it?"

There was at least one little hitch involved. "Before you shoot a nude scene, you have to draw up a nudity waiver," said the actor. "There's part of your contract that actually delineates every detail about how much and what portion of your body, how many inches of your penis or how many inches of your butt crack [will show], or whatever it is."



As Helms sees it, "You have to codify all of it in legal language, and it's the most bizarre and humiliating exercise."

Chiming in on how she help initiate Helms in his first on-screen love scene, Weaver, 61, told PEOPLE: "I said, 'Breathe, relax and lets have a good time.' "

So, she held his hand? "I held a lot more than that," she said. "I had my arms around him."

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