Not least of the challenges was the issue of asymmetry – of both gender and status – which has cast such a shadow over the media world in the era of #MeToo. The theatre, film and TV director Hettie Macdonald is responsible for six of the episodes. “I wanted to make it a more gender-balanced crew right from the start,” says Abrahamson. “It’s often the case that crews are very male-dominated, especially in the camera department, and I’m beginning to see that there’s less and less reason for that.”
“But here’s the biggest thing for me,”he adds. “I’m in my 50s and as far as the young actors are concerned, I’m successful. My worry would be – because I’m squeamish about ever doing anything uncomfortable for them – that they would feel under pressure to do what I wanted, and my fear of that would stop me from asking.”
The breakthrough was the decision to hire the services of “intimacy co-ordinator” Ita O’Brien. “I was anxious to start with because I thought the most subtle and important moments would be between me and the actors,” admits Abrahamson. “But what’s brilliant is that she would come in and talk to the whole crew and production about simple things like not using euphemisms, about getting explicit consent every time you’re about to do something and finding a language to talk about lovemaking, and the shapes and moods of it, that is empowering for the people involved.”
“She’s the go-to,” agrees Mescal. “She’s brilliant,” says Edgar-Jones. “The sex scenes were a joy to us because it was her job to worry about how it would work and we just turned up, did the choreography and carried on. We just had to think about the emotional beats.”
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