With her ladylike Southern drawl and a resume full of tame romantic comedies, Andie MacDowell hardly seems apt to offer lessons on how to "shag." Of course, the British cast and crew of her dramedy Crush — opening Friday — thought of the Austin Powers meaning of the word. But MacDowell only meant to introduce them to South Carolina swing dancing!

Their inside joke gave writer-director John McKay an opportunity to break the ice between MacDowell — a 43-year-old mother of three — and her 27-year-old leading man, Kenny Doughty. "We knew they would be nervous with each other," he recalls, "so every morning, I got Andie to teach Kenny how to 'shag.' After that, the sex scenes didn't seem stupid anymore."

Here's the chick flick's sitch: The headmistress of an English country school gets hot and heavy with her former pupil. Thus, MacDowell was obliged to pleasure her younger co-star on a tombstone, in a car, at school and outside a church! Sounds like a welcome change of pace for anyone, really, but the actress especially appreciated it.

"In general, people think I am the person from Green Card or Groundhog Day — sweet," she laments. "The sex scenes weren't really that hard, and I had a really good time being sexy."

In fact, MacDowell got so comfortable in her lusty schoolmarm persona that she started suggesting new positions herself! "I found a postcard of a Renaissance painting, showing a woman's bare back and her face in the mirror. I said, 'I would love to be shot like that.' I hate when people do bedroom scenes and they cover themselves up!"