Veteran actress Emily Meade says that she has been filming sex scenes in Hollywood movies since she was 16 years old, but for her role as fictional porn star “Lori Madison” on the HBO series The Deuce—a fictionalized account of the adult industry’s rapid emergence in 1970s and ‘80s New York City—the quantity and frequency of on-screen simulated sex may have reached a new level.
“I’m somebody who has played really sexualized characters my whole career. I did my first sex scene at 16, in the first film I ever did. And there are many times I’ve felt uncomfortable, whether I’ve realized it in the moment or looking back retroactively,” she said, in an interview for the HBO web site. “The only thing that makes The Deuce different is the story itself is about sex, and sex scenes are an integral part of the story. And because it’s a series there are more of them.”
Meade went to HBO execs with an idea, suggesting that they hire an on-set expert to oversee filming of the numerous scenes of nudity and sexual contact required by the show’s re-creation of 1970s porn sets. Now, Meade has explained the process in an interview with The Daily Mail, saying that she was pleasantly surprised to find the executives highly receptive to her suggestion.
“I was terrified and it was a scary thing to go in with complaints, requests or demands however you want to say it,” she told The Mail. “I was met with nothing but openness. And it is really nice to see men in power who do want to be part of the change, who aren’t defensive or frightened.”
HBO hired actress Alicia Rodis as the first-ever “intimacy coordinator” not only on The Deuce, but in the entire history of the Hollywood industry. Rodis saw her role as supporting the actors, and taking the awkwardness out of on-screen sexual simulations, acording to an earlier Mail profile.
“I know people who, in their real-life intimate moments, can’t bring themselves to say: ‘Can I put my hand here? Are you comfortable with that?’” she explained. “And we’re asking actors to do it, often naked, with someone they may not even know.”
The on-set “intimacy coordinator” was equally helpful to the male and female stars of the show, Meade told The Mail.
“They do not want to do anything that is breaking any rules. And it is hard to go from no rules to such an extreme reaction,” she said. “I notice a lot of fear and apprehension and then a lot of relief when the men saw there was somebody there to say, ‘This is okay – this is not okay.’”
Now Meade says she wants to see the “intimacy coordinator” requirement implemented throughout Hollywood.
“I would like to make it a SAG rule and I think it is the only way to make it actually have to last and then we will see how long people would respect it.” Meade said. “Luckily it hasn’t been a battle yet. So the only reason I haven’t been knocking down doors is because people have been willing. But I am more than willing to go to bat and fight anybody that tries to push back on this.”
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