Popcorn, Please. Vol 3

· By Team PLEASE

How are sex scenes filmed?

If you haven’t joined us yet, we hope you join the next, for another night-in where we screen a film we know you’ll love. The movie is always kept a secret until the night of the event, just to keep you on your toes.

Bring your friends, bring a date, buy some drinks and cosy up. Popcorn is on us.

So in light of the next ‘popcorn, please.’ we thought we’d share with you the question we often wonder - how are sex scenes filmed?

Ever found yourself utterly captivated by a scene of intense intimacy on screen, where it seems like the passion transcends mere acting? Chances are, you've fallen for the director's sleight of hand, as the majority of such scenes in cinema are carefully orchestrated illusions. Even in films celebrated for their "realistic" portrayal of erotica, the truth often diverges from what meets the eye. There have been instances where editors employed digital wizardry to seamlessly blend a body double engaging in authentic intimacy with an actor merely simulating the act.

The landscape of cinematic intimacy is evolving rapidly, driven in part by increasing regulations and industry scrutiny. With actors increasingly organising and demanding fair treatment, the emergence of specialists known as "intimacy coordinators" (ICs) has become a norm on many film sets.

The demand for ICs surged in the wake of industry scandals that shed light on the exploitation actors face both on and off-camera. By 2018, HBO mandated the presence of an intimacy coordinator on all its shows, setting a precedent that much of the industry has since followed.

At the core of an IC's role is ensuring that actors feel as comfortable as possible while portraying intimate scenes before a crew of onlookers. This involves detailed discussions about the scene's specifics, including levels of nudity and the actors' boundaries and well-being.

Assisting actors with props is another crucial aspect of an IC's duties. From strapless thongs to modest garments like skin-coloured socks, these props help create a semblance of intimacy while maintaining the actors' comfort and dignity. In Bridgerton, for instance, intimacy coordinator Elizabeth Talbot ingeniously used a deflated netball as a barrier between bodies during sex scenes.

With props in place, cinematographers employ clever angles to manipulate viewers' perception of time, space, and intensity. Strategic camera placement can create the illusion of heightened arousal and intimacy, further blurring the lines between reality and fiction.

Ultimately, the audience plays a pivotal role in suspending disbelief, allowing the magic of cinema to unfold without scrutinising the intricacies of its creation. It's this collective willingness to engage in the illusion that ensures the seamless portrayal of simulated intimacy remains captivating, albeit deeply enigmatic.