Movies are beginning to go back into production, albeit with new safety precautions. But what about scenes that require actors to be, um, how do we say ... doing it? Sex scenes are as ubiquitous in cinema as car chases and Kevin James getting bonked in the crotch, but actors obviously can't social distance while simulating coitus on camera, right? Thankfully, filmmakers are finding solutions -- although they're mostly pretty strange.
One early suggestion from the film editors' union involved using CGI for sex scenes and other "close contact moments." After all, if Industrial Light & Magic can digitally raise the dead, surely they can convincingly crack the humping algorithm. Of course, that sounds kind of expensive. Long-running soap opera The Bold and the Beautiful went the more budget-conscious route and, not unlike a lonely department store night watchmen, began using mannequins for their "intimate scenes." They also threw a wig on Denise Richards' husband for one scene, allowing her to smooch an actual human being.
Now Directors U.K. (a group unsurprisingly consisting of U.K. directors) has published a booklet titled "Intimacy in the Time of COVID-19." One of their suggestions is clearly the cheapest, most straightforward solution: good, old-fashioned chastity. After all, you won't have to hire a visual effects team or force your actors to canoodle with a plastic dummy like some kind of misguided Lars And The Real Girl porn parody if your script is as squeaky clean as Disney-branded bleach.
The booklet encourages filmmakers to "find inspiration" in classic films that were made under the restrictive Hays Code, Hollywood's censorship guidelines enforced between 1930 and 1966 that "prohibited the depiction of sex on screen."
And sure, Casablanca is a great movie -- but maybe with a little frontal nudity and an F-bomb or two, it could have been a fucking great movie. This all means that, for the foreseeable future, we may see some oddly muted sexuality in film. The booklet also recommends some truly old school techniques to imply that sex has taken place, including simply showing a closed bedroom door or characters "re-dressing after the event." They stop short of suggesting cutting to stock footage of rocket ships launching or passenger trains barrelling through tunnels.
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