Entertainment & Arts

Sex scene rules would be 'censorship' star says

Fifty Shades of Grey Image copyright Alamy
Image caption This scene from Fifty Shades of Grey could have been governed by such rules

Hollywood star Andy Serkis says new rules surrounding the filming of sex scenes could amount to "censorship" and stifle creativity.

Actors' union Equity is considering bringing in guidance for intimate scenes on stage and screen in light of the Harvey Weinstein scandal.

The proposals, being discussed this week, could ban actors kissing with tongues and nudity in auditions.

Jennifer Lawrence spoke last year about being made to stand in a nude line-up.

Equity is understood to be looking at the suggestions as to how to deal with simulated sex as part of its report into sexual harassment, which is being released within the next fortnight.

The proposals include setting out the "best practice" for such scenes, which could also include actors covering genitalia.

'It's not about no sex'

But speaking on the Bafta awards red carpet on Sunday night, Serkis said of the proposals: "I think that kind of censorship is censorship of creativity.

"It should be arrived at by the director and the actors involved. They have to find a comfortable way of doing it that will tell the story, because that's what we are all there to do.

"It would be a shame if actors become so self-conscious about relating to people. You're there to use your imagination, to create a role. I don't think that you should be stopped from telling the story."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Andy Serkis said actors and directors shouldn't be stopped from telling a story

Ita O'Brien, an intimacy and movement director for film, television and theatre, told BBC Radio 5 live: "It's not about no sex. It's not about no kissing. It's not about no nudity.

"It's actually allowing all of that to happen but in a safe way that allows for authentic, believable, beautiful, juicy, passionate sex scenes."

She said there were currently no guidelines across the industry as a whole - although there are often clauses in contracts.

"Many directors create beautiful sex scenes in a really safe way," she said. "There's not a clear and understood template to go through that everybody knows, in order to make sure that everybody is safe."

'Directors are too afraid'

Actress Maeve O'Sullivan said in her stage work, there had not been discussions about such issues.

"What I've found is that directors are too afraid to use the terminology, like: 'Don't kiss with tongues'.

"They just say: 'OK, we won't do it in the rehearsal, we'll just do it in the run through and you guys just figure it out.'

"It's quite exposing. You then don't really know what's OK with the other actor. Maybe if you're really comfortable with each other, you can talk about it, but sometimes you're not as lucky as that."

Equity launched their investigation back in November, with an interim report out last month.

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