That's wonderful. To wrap up, as an actor, you've had plenty of experience with nudity and sex scenes — what was it like directing sequences like that?
MORTIMER: It was really interesting. I mean, I was very set in that I wanted something like that, because the story was sort of Linda's journey, through her romantic life, was about coming to a place where she was sort of sexually liberated and felt quite awakened sexually. And that it was something that she could embrace without feeling ashamed of it. So I wanted that sex scene between her and Fabrice [Assaad Bouab] to be really sexy, but yet feel... I mean, I find sex scenes often very embarrassing to watch, and I wanted it to be sexy without being cringe-y and also to feel like it was kind of from a woman's point of view somehow.
And so, they have these things now called intimacy coordinators. And we had this incredible woman who did the love scenes from Normal People, Ita O'Brien, who's a real artist. It's almost like choreographing a dance, and we spoke at length with her, and I thought of great moments in sex scenes that I've loved in movies, and I used that a bit and we kind of put them all together in this kind of strange... Really, the most electric moment in falling in love with someone or getting into a sexual relationship with someone is that first touch, when they first touch you, or you first touch them, and you know that you're both thinking about the thing. And I wanted to kind of riff on that moment. And so, then I developed this whole kind of flash-forward thing.
Lily was just incredible and so open and up for it. And I was very careful to make Lily and Emily [Beecham] feel that in any moments where there was nudity that they could watch it with me and come back into the monitor. And we watched it together and worked out what looked good and what didn't. It was a collaboration really. I guess that's what it was. It was all of us talking and all of us working it out and being very open about it.
I've done a lot of those kinds of scenes in my life. And it often can feel like somebody just died or something. It's very funereal and there's this sort of hush sort of church-like sort of atmosphere on a set when people have to take their clothes off, which makes it much more embarrassing. And nobody's talking, and nobody's looking you in the eye. It's something that we really feel so sort of, I don't know, awkward and self-conscious, and I just wanted it to not be like that. I wanted it to be like, we're all chatting and we're here.
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