Have you seen those annoying viral tweets about sex scenes?
“Sex scenes are unnecessary in film/series” this particular post claims. “No plot point was driven by a good sex scene, or was there ever a movie made better by a sex scene.” The tweet has garnered a whopping 12.3k retweets cheering it on — but also 14.6k quote tweets supporting his shattering the incel hypothesis.
If Alison Oliver had a Twitter account, she’d probably be one of the last thousand to refute the post. That conversations with friends star is a passionate advocate of intimate scenes – which is important because there are so many in her new adaptation of Sally Rooney’s debut novel. They make strong arguments on their own, but Oliver has a shrewd grasp of their presence.
“Sally tends to write characters who often have a really hard time communicating and finding language to describe what they’re actually feeling,” Oliver tells The Daily Beast. “It’s a really big thing for their characters, for their relationships. Intimacy is such a big part of their communication. There’s a lot of scenes where they’re like, “I don’t know what to tell you.” And then they sleep together and it’s okay.”
Oliver chuckles after that last bit, but her explanation is spot on. In addition, the presence of “authentic” sex scenes in conversations (and the Rooneyverse predecessor normal people, by the way) “moves,” explains the actress. “You can show intimate scenes on TV that are really comfortable, consensual and joyful,” she continues. “They are just as important as dialogue scenes.”
That’s the not-so-secret ingredient of conversations with friends, which has many other aspects besides sex scenes that invite you to flip through all 12 episodes on Hulu. In fact, Oliver’s down-to-earth demeanor is perhaps the most seductive part of the series. In conversations, she plays Frances, a misguided twenty-something who graduates from college and struggles to carve out a new career path. Lost and lonely, Frances seeks refuge with her mentor’s boyfriend, Nick (Joe Alwyn), and embarks on a dangerous affair.
The role is tricky – Frances can be shallow, boring, ignorant and rude – but Oliver shines. “It’s so easy to imagine,” she says. As a recent college graduate, she explains that she is connected to Frances’ “general” struggles with growing up. She treats Frances with grace, a character who sees her relationships (romantic, platonic, or both simultaneously) as fluid, ever-changing parts of her life.
“I actually read the book before I auditioned or something, so in a way I had a prior relationship with this character,” says Oliver. “I just thought that this phase of her life that she’s in — this transition into adulthood from college — is one that I really recognize, in terms of, ‘Okay, now I’m an adult in the world. what is my place Who do I want to be?’”
Aside from Nick, Frances has a close relationship with her best friend Bobbi (played by Sasha Lane), who also happens to be her ex-girlfriend. The couple doesn’t seem to have fully worked out their relationship yet. They’re roommates, they rely on each other like partners, and they know everything about each other — they just don’t kiss or sleep together anymore. (At least not at the beginning of the series.)
“That kind of intense female friendship was one that I was really drawn to.”
“I was really drawn to that kind of intense female friendship,” says Oliver. “Sally is incredibly good at describing female relationships, this innate understanding or connection that we have. I just found the whole thing compelling and interesting.”
When Oliver is conversations‘ Body that moves constantly to keep the show flowing, Sasha Lane as Bobbi serves as the heart of the show, pumping fresh love and life into every tender scene she performs in. The couple’s chemistry intertwines like two intimate people on a summer’s day under soft linen sheets. They collide, fold up, make each other sweat.
Oliver says we owe these deeply intimate scenes to the early days of shooting. She and Lane became close confidants as they shot a series of apartment scenes in one go. When Oliver talks about Lane, it’s like they’re two best college friends – her face lights up, her voice brighter than ever as she sings the praises of her new fellow cast member.
“We became inseparable in those few weeks,” she recalls. “That was so important, because when you come to the story, you’re like, ‘Oh, there’s so much history in there.’ I think it was so important for us that when you meet her for the first time in the story, we feel really connected. That’s how we developed it.”
But there was more than Bobbi. Oliver has had to develop a complex relationship with Alwyn as Nick, very different from the one she shares with her former/now best friend. While Bobbi sees through Frances’ youthful ignorance, Nick sees her as a haven away from his over-ripe wife.
“I found it really interesting that we could also explore how the different sides of a relationship would produce different qualities of intimacy,” says Oliver.
To help in this department, conversations hired Ita O’Brien, the same intimacy coordinator who worked on it normal people. It is easy to see that intimacy coordinators are still relatively new conversations Filming sex scenes without her is “so crazy,” says Oliver.
“In terms of difficulty, it’s probably always the beginning of embarrassment at the beginning, like, ‘Oh God. We do this,’” she continues. Luckily, director Lenny Abrahamson – who also worked on it – did normal people (Notice a pattern?) — encouraged actors to embrace “the weirdness of it” from the start. “Having someone like that really, really puts your mind at ease more than someone taking it lightly.”
Aside from Abrahamson and O’Brien, Oliver’s greatest guides were her co-stars. Stranded in Belfast with no connections, the four leads all became very close, which added to the show’s intensely personal vibe.
“We lived out of each other’s pockets for those six months,” says Oliver. “When you spend that much time with people and really get to know them and work with them, I think the chemistry or connection just comes from that much contact.”
The one thing Oliver can’t quite figure out yet? Fame. While her three co-stars have all had big breaks, Oliver’s career is just taking off. It’s a position that Paul Mescal and Daisy Edgar-Jones found themselves in normal people was released two years ago before the success of this series made it famous.
“I try not to think about it too much,” she concludes. “I auditioned for this show almost two years ago, so it’s been a part of my life for so long. I’m just so excited to see what people think when I talk to people like you or my friends and family. I feel really lucky that I got to do it.”
https://www.thedailybeast.com/conversations-with-friends-star-alison-oliver-makes-a-strong-case-for-more-sex-scenes-on-tv?source=articles&via=rss Conversations With Friends star Alison Oliver is making a strong case for more sex scenes on TV