The production brought in intimacy co-ordinator Ita O’Brien (TV’s Sex Education) to guide the duo through several sex scenes. “It felt like a dance routine,” says Ward. “We would do counts — ‘and one, and two’. If you were getting too invested to the point where I’m becoming Micheal rather than Stephen, you just go back to the counts. It’s quite magical.”
This rhythm helped Colman overcome initial nerves about the scenes, which the actors again approached from differing perspectives that mirrored their characters’ emotions. “Olivia was so uncomfortable that I felt nervous for her,” remembers Ward, “so [the counts] got us to a place where we could tell the story in the most amazing way.” Conversely, Ward had few qualms about the scene where Stephen sprints naked onto an empty beach. “I’m there for the story,” he laughs. “I watched The Talented Mr. Ripley with Jude Law. He’s got an arse scene — if Jude Law can do it, I can do it mate!”
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