The coronavirus is no doubt impacting every industry. Even top Disney executives are taking pay cuts and the company’s chairman, Bob Iger, is going without a salary. They’ll weather the storm, but the impact will be lasting. There’s one change, though, that could be a good thing: the loss of Hollywood sex scenes.
According to Hollywood intimacy coordinator Amanda Blumenthal, it’s likely all the raunchy scenes will have to be put on hold for a while until Tinseltown can come to a consensus about how — or if — to safely move forward.
During an interview with Daily Mail, Blumenthal said she “wouldn’t be surprised if, for a period of time, until we figure out how we can work through this safely, productions choose to go down that route in order to make it on air — honestly, that is something that could potentially happen.”
Most likely, all film or TV show cast and crew members will have to be screened for COVID-19 prior to even stepping on a set. And if proper precautions aren’t in place, Blumenthal said, many A-listers will simply refuse to participate.
It’s also possible, she suggested, the industry could return to the so-called Hays Code of the 1930s. The set of guidelines — The Motion Picture Production Code — wasn’t seriously enforced until the mid-1930s, when a frustrated public began calling for the government censorship of an entertainment industry many believed to have gone off the rails. Hoping to thwart any government overreach, movie studios enlisted the help of Will Hays, a Presbyterian minister, and implemented its own code of ethics.
Among the rules in the code were restrictions on how crime could be portrayed and the downright ban on any nudity or obvious depictions of or references to sexual behavior. Even the word “virgin” was prohibited from film scripts.
Now, it’s virtually impossible to imagine a Hollywood that conservative. But it is noteworthy to see the conversation even taking place.
“One of my fellow coordinator friends joked the other day, ‘We are going back to the 1920s when there was censorship,’” said Blumenthal. “Then you could not show anything and it was implied that they make love. Instead of a love scene, they show a door closing and the audience realize they are going to have sex. Nothing is being made right now, and there is a huge demand for content so that would be a way to push it through quickly.”
At the end of the day, much of that decision will falls to the stars themselves.
Blumenthal said some celebrities have indicated the pandemic will not impact how they work, including their willingness to film intimate scenes. Others, though, have said this health crisis will cause them to think twice before jumping in bed with — or even kissing — a co-star.
“I would imagine taking temperatures before scenes would become common,” Blumenthal said. “Obviously, if there was an antibody test available, that would be incredibly helpful, whether that is something viable, again, we do not know.”
An agent with United Talent Agency told Daily Mail that everything in Hollywood “is on hold at the moment,” noting there is significant worry among studio executives about obtaining insurance regarding virus concerns.
“There has not been a health situation like this ever in modern Hollywood,” the agent said, “and no company wants to put anyone at risk — not just for humanitarian reasons, but also for liability, too. For actors, a romantic or love scene in a script is a red flag at this time. Even if we get an all clear, lip or body contact in any scene is causing huge concern.”
“There are many moving parts,” the agent continued, “but for the immediate moment, love scenes are not happening.”