Actors’ union creates ‘landmark’ rules for filming sex scenes

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Screen Actors Guild guidelines for intimacy coordinators are designed to protect performers filming nudity or simulated sex

Andrew Pulver–  The  Guardian

Maggie Gyllenhaal, centre, in The Deuce, a show about the sex trade in New York. New SAG guidelines are designed to protect performers and productions with scenes of simulated sex and nudity. Photograph: HBO/Kobal/Rex/Shutterstock

The Screen Actors Guild, the US actors’ union, has published guidelines designed to regulate filmed sex scenes and nudity, as part of a drive to eradicate sexual misconduct in the film and TV industry.

In a statement, Sag-Aftra (Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) said its new standards and protocols for the use of intimacy coordinators was “a landmark document that will help ensure our members who are filming scenes with nudity or simulated sex are able to work in a manner that suits their creativity while maintaining their personal and professional dignity”.

Intimacy coordinators – described by the guild as “professionals who help performers and productions navigate the highly sensitive scenes that feature nudity and simulated sex” – are in high demand due to growing awareness of sexual misconduct in the industry.

The guidelines establish responsibilities for intimacy coordinators, including oversight of rehearsals, making sure sets are closed and ensuring that what is included in the final cut tallies with what had been agreed.

In 2018, in response to outrage over #MeToo and the Harvey Weinstein scandal, Sag-Aftra published Four Pillars of Change, which included a code of conduct on sexual harassment. It subsequently established a guideline that demanded an end to auditions and interviews taking place in hotel rooms or private homes.

In November, Directors UK issued 96 guidelines for “directing nudity and simulated sex”.

 

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