‘This is Us’ gives us a peek at what celebrity sex scenes look like in 2020
COVID-19 have thrown numerous wrenches into the entertainment industry. People who live project to project have no job, studios are pushing blockbuster movies and fall TV premieres back, and now celebrity sex scenes are changing completely.
Many of your fav fall TV shows are just now getting back to work, filming their upcoming seasons. NBC’s This is Us is just one of many gathering the cast back together. But show creator Dan Fogelman is getting brutally honest about how hard it is to film intimate scenes with the new restrictions.
A 2020 television sex scene. We’re back. #ThisIsUs pic.twitter.com/0UK7uvpUW8
— Dan Fogelman (@Dan_Fogelman) September 24, 2020
As This is Us begins production on its fifth season, Fogelman tweeted out a photo of leads Mandy Moore and Milo Ventimiglia standing six feet apart with their hands stretched out. The caption? “A 2020 television sex scene.”
While the photo is obviously a joke, it rings true how restrictive sets are now thanks to COVID-19 restrictions. Sex scenes were already dictated by numerous rules, but now it’s nearly impossible to film a scene thanks to new restrictions about what sex scenes should look like.
What is This is Us going to do?
Ironically, Fogelman’s photo tells us all we need to know about This is Us including any celebrity sex scenes. At least for our lead couple Moore and Ventimiglia. The photo Fogelman posted features Moore visibly pregnant. While Moore herself just recently announced a pregnancy, Baby Goldsmith isn’t arriving until “early 2021” according to the announcement.
However, Moore has worn a fake belly numerous times on This is Us as part of her character Rebecca. With the show covering the Pearsons, the show jumps back and forth between the present day adult Pearson children, and the past when it was just a pregnant Rebecca and Jack.
Most likely, this photo was taken while Moore and Ventimiglia were shooting a flashback. Specifically, the flashback will most likely occur while Rebecca is still pregnant with the triplets. Not that pregnant women can’t have sex, but we assume this was Fogelman’s way of getting around having to write any sex scenes for Moore and Ventimiglia.
Could the Pearson children still have sex scenes?
The three Pearson children, played by Justin Hartley, Chrissy Metz, and Sterling K. Brown, could all still have sex scenes this season. What it comes down to is how 20th Television, Zaftig Films, Rhode Island Ave. Productions, and NBC are handing celebrity sex scenes in COVID-19.
In the U.S., no organization has publicly released guidelines for how to handle sex scenes as productions get back to work. So we’re basing the following information off the sex scene guide released by Directors UK.
If This is Us wants to film any intimate scenes (not just sex scenes, but anything romantic where actors are close together), directors, producers, and writers need to decide if the scene is absolutely necessary. If the scene is necessary, but can be pushed back until a later episode, the writers should do so.
If the scene is absolutely necessary, then producers need to ensure the actors involved have passed their health screening, had no contact with anyone else on set, and are sanitized from head to toe by the time they come to set.
Lastly, if the scene involves a lot of close contact and close-ups, directors can request the actor’s real-life partner come in as a sexual stand-in. Of course, not everyone is comfortable being treated like a sex object, so the guide says this should be used if all other options are exhausted.
Think like the Hays Code
The key rule about celebrity sex scenes Directors UK offers is to think of films like Casablanca and It Happened One Night. Both were filmed at the height of the Hays Code era, where all media in Hollywood was policed by a set of guidelines to keep work from being too obscene. You couldn’t even mention anything sexual in films made during this time, let alone show anything sexual.
Nevertheless, Casablanca is viewed as one of the greatest romance movies of all time. As the Directors UK guidelines put it, “ Consider what tools classic works offer for contemporary storytelling.” Since it doesn’t look like COVID-19 is going away anytime soon, this just may be the best plan for This is Us to follow.
If you want to learn more about the Directors UK guidelines for celebrity sex scenes during COVID-19, you can read our more in depth coverage here.