In June, the UK government allowed the film and television industries to return to set. Only in addition to the tight schedule, strict security rules and covid police officers were added to the process. The changes also affected the most intimate sphere of filming – erotic scenes. After all, you can’t enter the frame wearing a mask, and keeping a distance at such a delicate moment will destroy the fragile realism of the moment. British filmmakers have their own opinion on this matter.
During the pandemic, the film industry was frozen. While the artists were entertaining online projects, producers lost millions. And when they returned to work, it became even more difficult to earn them. This is due to the rules of epidemiological safety and social distance.
Josephine Osberg, production designer for Ruben Ostlund’s first English-language feature, The Triangle of Sorrow, starring Woody Harrelson, returned to work in early July. Due to the pandemic, production was suspended for three months. And to date, this $ 11 million film is the only major European project to resume filming.
“On the first day, all staff were assigned colors depending on which team they were on. I was given pink as a member of the art department and also green. This is the color of the main division, which includes the director, director and actors. At first it seemed strange to me that I could not hug anyone, but now this is the new norm, ”says Osberg.
All staff receive breakfast, lunch and dinner in boxes, while the public restaurant remains closed. Masks are worn by everyone, without exception, and members of the wardrobe, make-up room and props department are required to wear face shields in addition to everything else. In addition, each member of the film crew is given a thermometer. Josephine says the new measures have not put real restrictions on her work. It just became sad without human communication. But this is not critical anyway. Another thing is erotic scenes.
Lizzie Talbot has an interesting profession – intimate scene coordinator. She began to enjoy the greatest demand after the story with Harvey Weinstein and the subsequent #MeToo movement. And in light of the spread and danger of COVID-19, the profession has acquired new opportunities.
“Our challenge is to bring the director’s vision to life in the safest way possible,” says Talbot. If earlier she was engaged only in scenes of a sexual nature, now any physical intimacy belongs to them. For example, close contact between actors during a conversation. Coordinators work with the director to define the boundaries of movement and the distance between the actors and the crew and help to reach an agreement on what the actors are willing to do within the scene.
Unsurprisingly, there have been many new challenges since COVID-19. After all, we are talking about shooting scenes with intense physical contact. An intimacy coordinator must now be present on all sets. “If people start thinking more about their own safety and boundaries of reason because of COVID-19, it will only be better,” Talbot says.
Of course, Lizzie cannot reveal details – information about them is carefully guarded. However, being a leading expert in her field, she shared her recommendations for shooting intimate scenes with British journalists. For example, if it is technically possible only to hint at physical intimacy, and not to come close or undress, then they will shoot that way – with the help of optical tricks.
Thai and Bollywood film sets have banned love scenes altogether, while Netflix’s Riverdale will be rewriting the script specifically for camera tricks to eliminate the threat of overly close interaction.
In addition, workwear for erotic scenes such as “cock sock” (a sock for a penis in the form of a special bag) and “pasties” (silicone breast pads with imitation of nipples) must be bought and made for each actor separately. And if the script contains an intimate scene, then before filming it, the partners must self-isolate for 14 days.
It would seem that excessive accuracy and scrupulousness in such matters only plays into the hands of human rights defenders and production. But suddenly there is another problem with ubiquitous online testing. Attackers pose as casting directors and demand explicit sexual photos from the actors. The real casting agents have already declared war on the impostors. They try to warn actors that self-testing never requires nudity or imitation of intercourse. But, apparently, the desire to break into the big screen overcomes any moral barriers.