“One of the things that’s pretty powerful about that scene is there’s an element of asking for protection in that moment,” she said. “I don’t think often you see lovemaking scenes with those elements, because I think for some reason we feel that that would break the moment or take away from the raciness of it. But it really adds to it, because it’s truthful to what an actual first-time relationship should be like when it comes to Connell making sure Marianne is safe. But also that Marianne feels she’s able to ask for protection and not feel embarrassed by that.”
Intimacy coordinator Ita O’Brien worked closely with the actors to make sure that they felt just as comfortable, while also ensuring that their movements looked truthful.
“Ita’s really good at making sure that everybody understands what’s going to happen and feels good about it,” explained Abrahamson. “You have the two actors stand and talk to each other and say what they feel comfortable with [touch-wise].”
Abrahamson said that O’Brien also helped coordinate movements so that, for example, while the actors might look as though their bodies were pressed against each other, they were actually positioning themselves in a certain way to cheat that closeness, or being separated by some material. “There’s all these varieties of covering so that everything that’s off camera is covered,” said Abrahamson. “It’s lots of planning and discussion, but what it means in the end is that everybody feels comfortable.”
Extensive rehearsals involved not only the actors and the intimacy coordinator, but also everyone else who would be on set the day of filming, including the cinematographer and script supervisor. They rehearsed every element of filming the scene, from blocking to camera angles to who would cover the actors with clothing once Abrahamson called “cut.” “All these really simple things help make things go calmly so there’s no rushing around on the day,” he explained. ”So if you’re going to have nakedness on a wide shot, how do you do it to make sure that everyone is comfortable…and then with each sort of setup, you say, ‘Well, on that one, people can wear shorts…or everything can be covered because all you need to see are the faces. You’re basically making a strategy for the day.”
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