Actors back new guidelines over use of digital body doubles in films
8th April 2021

Stars including Naomie Harris and Ruth Wilson back new industry guidelines that calls for TV shows and films NOT to use digital body doubles to make sex scenes more explicit

Stars including Naomie Harris and Ruth Wilson have backed calls for digital body doubles not to be used in films and TV shows to make sex scenes even more explicit than actors originally agreed.

New industry guidelines, drawn up by Time’s Up campaign group, have included additional rules about the use of CGI nudity in a bid to ensure actors are at ease when it comes to filming intimate scenes.

The recommendations, also backed by the BFI (British Film Institute), also encourage performers to negotiate a contract called a simulated sex rider, or a nudity ‘rider’ which highlights in writing what they are and are not willing to do during sex scenes. 

Support: Stars including Naomie Harris and Ruth Wilson have backed calls for digital body doubles not to be used in films and TV shows to make sex scenes even more explicit than actors originally agreed

In relation to body doubles being used during the filming intimate moments in a film or TV show, the Time’s Up group has proposed restrictions on both real and virtual doubles being used.

The guidelines state that an actor can ‘negotiate’ to give their ‘approval’ of a body double if one one is used for the scene.

It adds: ‘The nudity, simulated sexual content, and agreed choreography of the intimate scene portrayed through doubling shall be limited to what was originally agreed to by the actor. This applies to digital or body doubling.’

Supporting Time’s Up’s guidelines, Skyfall star Naomie, 44, said: ‘I absolutely welcome these guides which have been created by my sisters at Time’s Up. They demonstrate that no matter your situation, you have options. These guides help arm people with the resources and information needed to determine the best path forward.’

Guidelines: New industry guidelines, drawn up by Time’s Up campaign group, have included additional rules about the use of CGI nudity in a bid to ensure actors are at ease when it comes to filming intimate scenes (pictured Paul Mescal and Daisy Edgar-Jones in Normal People)

While Dark River actress Ruth Wilson agreed, 39, agreed: ‘Our industry is a truly wonderful one but one that has existed without necessary safeguards.

‘Whatever the experience, whether negotiating a sex scene for the first time or witnessing abusive behaviour on set, these guidelines are there as an essential resource. Everyone deserves to feel safe at work, and these offer a huge step towards that becoming a reality.’

The advice further stipulates that CGI technology shouldn’t be used to ‘sex up’ without the consent of the actors concerned, noting: ‘No computer-generated imagery, prosthetics, or digitising of your image or body with respect to the nude and simulated sex scenes may be conducted without your written consent.’

Agreement: The recommendations,  backed by Ruth Wilson (pictured) also encourage performers to negotiate a contract called a simulated sex rider, or a nudity ‘rider’ which highlights in writing what they are willing to do during sex scenes

Limit: In relation to body doubles being used during the filming intimate moments in a film or TV show, the Time’s Up group has proposed restrictions on both real and virtual doubles being used (pictured, a sex scene from Netflix’s Bridgerton)

It highlights that the artists must give their consent beforehand for the use of ‘digital doubling or digitization’, including CGI being used to superimpose body parts of a performer onto another. 

They can also make clear which body parts they want shown or touched in a scene and also, what parts of another performer’s body parts they are fine with touching.  

In terms of the nudity rider, Time’s Up’s guidelines suggest that contracts should specify levels of nudity and specifics acts in which the actor is willing to do.

These specifics could include things such as full rear nudity, open-mouthed kissing, the willingness to wear swimsuit or other revealing ensembles on screen and nudity from above the waist only. 

Time’s Up UK’s chairwoman Dame Heather Rabbatts said: ‘The entertainment industry is not a typical workplace so figuring out your rights and options around workplace harassment, discrimination, and misconduct can be confusing.

Rules: ‘The nudity, simulated sexual content, and agreed choreography of the intimate scene portrayed through doubling shall be limited to what was originally agreed to by the actor. This applies to digital or body doubling’ (pictured, an intimate moment in Amazon Prime’s Ammonite)

‘We have developed these resources together with our sisters in the US, for people in the entertainment industry who find themselves in situations that are at best awkward, or at worst, dangerous.’

The newly published guidelines is said to be attempting to keeping up with the advancements in special effects used the Hollywood film industry, which has seen the figures of actors realistically reproduced on screen.

Examples include Lena Headey’s Game Of Thrones character Cersei Lannister walking naked through a town in series five, which in fact didn’t feature Lena naked at all.

Having her say: Naomie said: These guides help arm people with the resources and information needed to determine the best path forward’ (pictured in 2019)

Instead, a nude body double was blended with her clothed body in post-production, giving the illusion that the actress had in fact stripped off for the scene.

While in the 2010 film Machete, star Jessica Alba’s underwear was digitally removed, giving the appearance that she was naked. 

The Time’s Up organisation was formed to fight sexual harassment in the work place in the wake of the #MeToo movement, which emerged in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal in 2017.

Advice: The advice further stipulates that CGI technology shouldn’t be used to ‘sex up’ without the consent of the actors concerned (pictured, a sex scene from BBC’s Normal People)

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