Shooting sex scenes during the COVID outbreak can be tricky. This is how they're handling it in the United Kingdom.
In response to the coronavirus, the Directors UK, the organization that governs 7,500 screen directors, has issued new rules and regulations for shooting sex scenes. The headline is this, “The director, writer and producer should review the script together and agree which physical interactions need to occur between performers and decide whether substitutions can be made. Does a physical act need to be shown? If working within a series format, can the intimacy be delayed?”
This is obviously an interesting solution—the general theory is, "Do you HAVE TO show it?"
The document suggests that “the build-up to an intimate scene can sometimes be more exciting than the scene itself” and that “emotional intimacy can be as engaging as physical intimacy.”
I went to Catholic school for 12 years and this even sounds pretty lame to me.
Still, it worked in classical Hollywood. As the document goes on to explain, "You may even find inspiration by revisiting classic films such as It Happened One Night (1934) or Casablanca (1943)—some of the greatest screen romances ever made and all filmed under the Hays Code, which prohibited the depiction of sex on screen. Consider what tools classic works offer for contemporary storytelling.”
Fine. They don't want people touching, I get it.
Obviously, in PG-13 fare, you can get away with furtive glances, but some TV shows thrive on these kinds of scenes or need them for the story.
So, what can they do?
One fun idea is that they'll use the actors' real-life partners as stand-ins for the love scenes. Obviously, this only works if they are a physical match to the person they are supposed to make love with on-screen, but it could be fun to cast a new project where you are trying to find physical matches.
Maybe there's actually a hidden rom-com storyline in there where you find someone who looks like your ex to make love with on-screen.
No matter the case, you have to hope that by this time next year we have a cure or vaccine and things can get back to normal on sets.
You can read the full document here, with all the other suggestions in place.