Actress Gemma Whelan, who portrayed bisexual Yara Greyjoy in the fantasy drama series ‘Game Of Thrones’, admitted actors getting intimate on the show were given very little guidance but fortunately they had an ‘instinct’ to ‘check in’ with one another to ensure no one was left feeling uncomfortable.
Asked if they were left to get on with things without an intimacy co-ordinator, Whelan told The Guardian newspaper: “Almost literally. They used to just say, ‘When we shout action, go for it!’, and it could be a sort of frenzied mess.”
“But between the actors there was always an instinct to check in with each other. There was a scene in a brothel with a woman and she was so exposed that we talked together about where the camera would be and what she was happy with.
“A director might say, ‘Bit of b*** biting, then slap her b*** and go!’, but I’d always talk it through with the other actor.”
Whelan recalled a particular controversial sex scene in the second series of the show between Yara and her brother Theon Greyjoy, and said she and co-star Alfie Allen discussed the moment at length before filming.
She continued: “Alfie was very much, ‘Is this OK? How are we going to make this work?’ With intimacy directors, it’s choreography – you move there, I move there, and permission and consent is given before you start. It is a step in the right direction.”
The British actress said there has been a very different tone on set in the wake of the #MeToo movement.
She said: “There’s a very different choice of language now. If anyone makes an innuendo, everyone shuts down. I think, five or 10 years ago, if there was a double entendre, everyone would jump on the bandwagon and see how many laughs they could raise.”
“I remember when an actor would have a microphone fitted, and sometimes you have to root around the waist. And, in the past, there’d be all this, ‘and while you’re down there, hur, hur!’ But now you don’t have to play along with things like that.”