Sex scenes are tricky things to pull off for a movie, as actors and directors have to tread the fine line between an honest portrayal of passion between two individuals, and a voyeuristic peek at the actors at their most vulnerable. During an interview, actress Saoirse Ronan revealed how being able to choreograph her lovemaking scenes with Kate Winslet for their new movie Ammonite helped her feel safer and more confident.
"It's always better [to choreograph your own sex scenes]. For the most part, I've had really fine experiences when doing a sex scene. I've either been with an actor that I get on with and I trust, or the director has been really great about it. The majority of the time, it's been decent experiences for me. But certainly, being able to take control of the choreography, in a way that I haven't before, was fantastic."
"It allows you to feel much safer and probably more confidence in what you're doing. [Director] Francis [Lee] is really brilliant at taking a step back, in the way that Charlotte does, and allowing us to have this very open conversation about what it was that we wanted to do and what we wanted to see. It was very exciting to celebrate that type of intimacy that a woman experiences."
Ammonite tells the story of self-taught paleontologist Mary Anning, played by Winslet, and her forbidden affair with a young wife named Charlotte, played by Saoirse Ronan, who is left in Anning's care to recuperate after a personal tragedy. According to Ronan, being able to feel their way around the lovemaking scenes based on their personal instincts allowed her to find new insights into her character as well as Winslet's.
"I definitely think that the three of us being able to have a very open conversation and rehearsals, where it was literally just the three of us, was really helpful. It was also a real eye opener in terms of our understanding of who these women were. What we found was that, when we would do these intimate scenes, the characters' roles would almost switch, and Charlotte would become the more eager one and the one who took control a little bit more, and you'd see more of Mary's vulnerability that you wouldn't necessarily see in the rest of her life. It was a really a new experience for Kate and I, and for Francis, as well."
The early reviews for Ammonite have been largely mixed. Reviewers have criticized the script for its uneven tone. Additionally, the questionable historical accuracy of portraying Mary Anning as a queer character when there is no official record regarding the matter has cast a pall over the film's reception. However, the chemistry between Ronan and Winslet has come in for praise from most quarters, so it seems the decision to let the characters choreograph the moments of intimacy between their characters ended up paying off.
Written and directed by Francis Lee, Ammonite features a lead cast consisting of Kate Winslet, Saoirse Ronan, Gemma Jones, James McArdle, Alec Secăreanu, Fiona Shaw. This news originated at Collider.