The sex scenes between Connell and Marianne, which are such an integral part of the book Normal People are particularly striking in their authenticity in the screen version.
The presence of intimacy co-ordinator Ita O’Brien — whose work has been increasingly in demand since the advent of #MeToo — on set helped greatly with the filming of the scenes, despite Abrahamson’s initial reservations.
“That role is new to me, and initially I was probably sceptical, thinking ‘I don’t want someone to get between me and the cast’. I wanted to be able to move from dialogue into intimacy really seamlessly, because the intimacy continues the conversation, it’s not something separate — that’s what’s great about the novel.
"And Ita really helped there because she creates an environment in which everyone feels very safe and listened to. I don’t want to be in a situation where the actors wouldn’t feel able to say no to something I wanted…. And Ita is not out to get in the way of my relationship with them and what we’re trying to do dramatically or artistically, she’s there to make that happen in a way that keeps everyone safe and happy.
"So the reason those scenes feel truthful and real is a lot to do with the environment Ita creates. She’s brilliant and I’d work with her again in a heartbeat.”
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