The sex scenes – of which there are plenty, Liveline listeners be warned – were overseen by Ita O’Brien, the intimacy co-ordinator/movement director who also worked on Normal People. Coel believes that society is in a time and place where the inclusion of intimacy co-ordinators on set should be standard.
“And on this show, because it’s exploring consent, it seems fitting that we had a director whose sole purpose was to help us with the intimacy, to empower the actors, to make sure there were no awkward feelings, and that we were all comfortable and happy,” she says. “There was no other way. Some of the scenes were really delicate, and it can go wrong so easily.
“A month before shooting, we talked around a table, we talked about consent, we talked about our lives. Then there’s a transition where you have to make the transition from sitting at the table and being in your head, to being in your body. The space between those things is difficult because we live in our heads so much. That’s Ita’s magic.
“She also brings with her this bag of protective gear. She has these pads that you put around your delicate parts so that when you’re having to do all these difficult interactions, you don’t see anything. We opted for those because it meant we could go as far as we wanted to go, and our actual physical bodies wouldn’t be triggered.
“When we were on set, the great thing about Ita is that she doesn’t care that there’s a clock ticking. If the actors need private time, if they need to connect to each other, she’ll demand that time, and that time will happen.”
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