- Shonda Rhimes said she’d allow actors to shoot intimate scenes in “a snowsuit” if they wanted to.
- She said they should have “the most control” over how their bodies are portrayed on film.
- Rhimes’ philosophy appears to starkly contrast creator Sam Levinson, whose show “The Idol” has been called a “rape fantasy.”
Shonda Rhimes, the creator of some of the soapiest and sexiest appointment TV in the last decade, recently said she’d let actors film sex scenes in “a snowsuit” if it made them feel in control of their bodies.
Rhimes made the confession to Vulture reporter Zak Cheney Rice while discussing whether popular media has become more “sexless” over time.
“I’ve heard — why actors have been saying they don’t want to do these scenes is because they don’t have any control,” the “Grey’s Anatomy” creator said. “And where else should you have the most control than over your own body and how it’s seen?”
Rhimes said that she always tells actors, “If you want to do your scene in a snowsuit, then we’ll figure out how you can do your sex scene in a snowsuit,” because, she noted, that no intimate scene she writes would ever be “dependent” on an actor being willing to take their clothes off for the camera.
The “Queen Charlotte” creator explained that one of the goals of her latest show, a “Bridgerton” origin story, is also to show that women of a “certain age” can be at the center of stories about romance and sexuality.
“Most of the stories told about women are about a man’s fantasy of what a woman is,” Rhimes said. “But the idea that they’re only interesting if they’re a hot 25-year-old is sort of disgusting because it suggests that the rest of women don’t participate in the world in that way.”
The trend of milder sex scenes that Rice and Rhimes were talking about might also be a lingering result of the pandemic, when actors literally couldn’t touch each other for their own safety.
But there are productions like HBO’s upcoming drama “The Idol,” about a pop star who falls in love with a cult leader, that are still pushing boundaries of what “sexually explicit” means.
According to a March 2023 Rolling Stone exposé about the production of “The Idol,” it was reported that the show’s cocreators Sam Levinson and Abel Tesfaye (also known as The Weeknd) completely scrapped footage that wasn’t up to their standards.
They reshot what is now the final version of the show. Anonymous sources called it “torture porn,” and said some of the sex scenes verged on becoming “a rape fantasy.”
In a statement to Rolling Stone, Lily-Rose Depp, the star of the series who plays a pop star named Jocelyn, said she’s never “felt more supported or respected in a creative space, my input, and opinions more valued” than while she was on “The Idol” set.
“Queen Charlotte” is streaming now on Netflix.