In the future, kissing and sex scenes between actors in films and television shows may no longer have to be real.
Why it matters?: Following the #MeToo movement, the pandemic, and the rise of deepfake-style technology, big stars may be able to demand to opt out of intimacy scenes — especially if kisses and sex can be digitally created in post-production.
- In Netflix’s new romcom You People, the pivotol romantic scene between leads Jonah Hill and Lauren London is allegedly not real.
- In an interview, You People’s supporting actor, Andrew Schulz claimed that Hill’s and London’s kiss was achieved in postproduction by CGI wizardry. Schulz says: “I don’t even know if I should share this shit — but the final scene, they don’t even kiss. It’s CGI. Swear to God.”
- Reviewers suggested that the You People kiss had to be faked due to the “lack of chemistry” between the leads, out of respect for London’s late husband Nipsey Hussle, and filming restrictions around COVID-19 at the time.
- Meanwhile, Penn Badgley, star of Netflix’s You, requested “zero” intimacy scenes in the new season of the show. You‘s creator was immediately happy to accommodate.
- Badgley, who is married to Domino Kirke, adds: “fidelity in every relationship, especially in a marriage, is important to me.”
- In the final kissing scene in Netflix’s Falling For Christmas in 2022, actor Chord Overstreet kissed stand-in Rian Zetzer — instead of lead star Lindsay Lohan.
- For decades, there was little regulation around filming intimacy scenes in Hollywood. In January, actors Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting filed a sexual exploitation and child abuse lawsuit against Paramount Pictures over a nude scene they filmed as minor in the 1968 Romeo and Juliet.
- However, after the Harvey Weinstein scandal and the #MeToo movement which highlighted the routine sexual harassment and misconduct in the industry, Hollywood began hiring intimacy coordinators to ensure the well-being of actors who film sex scenes.
- In 2018, HBO became trailblazers as the first network to require intimacy coordinators for all intimate and sexual scenes. And in 2019, Sex Education became the first Netflix production to use an intimacy coordinator. — making them on the same level as stint choreographers
- During the COVID-19 pandemic, it became less certain if Hollywood would ever feature kissing scenes again and the industry came up with alternatives — including disinfecting in-between takes and kissing through a plexiglass partition.
- These changes over time have led to actors having more say over their participation intimacy scenes — especially when there are viable workarounds with CGI and deepfake technology in post-production.
- On February 7, actor Sir Ian McKellan questioned the use of intimacy coordinators — saying they ruin the “purity” of a film set and that the director is sufficient.
- In August, Game of Thrones actor Sean Bean claimed intimacy coordinators “spoil the spontaneity” of filming sex scenes.
- However, on February 9, Emma Thompson argued that intimacy coordinators were “essential” to “protect” young women on set.