FILM

James Franco, Emilia Clarke, and the Importance of SAG's New Sex Scene Rules

Recent revelations highlight the need for oversight in scenes involving nudity and simulated sex.

"Game of Thrones"

The Screen Actors Guild issued new guidelines on Wednesday for the role of an "intimacy coordinator" in overseeing simulated sex and nudity in film productions.

It might be hard to imagine an entire job that revolves around the R-rated scenes in movies, but in recent years it has become increasingly clear what an important and overlooked job it actually is. There are any number of ways in which performers can end up being exploited, harassed, or endangered in the course of filming nudity or a sex scene, and the process of protecting everyone's rights while still producing compelling sex scenes is surprisingly involved. To make the issue clearer, we can look at the cases of Emilia Clarke and James Franco.

Emilia Clarke turned 25 while the first season of Game of Thrones was filming. In theory, she was old enough to advocate for herself and decide what kinds of scenes she was comfortable shooting. But the power dynamics in that situation are potent. Clarke was an unknown actress at the time, fresh out of drama school. Her biggest previous role was in a SyFy original movie called Triassic Attack, and the prospect of a major role on an HBO drama would have been huge for her career even if Game of Thrones hadn't turned out to be such a hit. That position made her vulnerable to manipulation, and she ended up doing a lot more on-screen nudity than she was actually comfortable with.

Emilia Clarke Gal Gadot and Jason Momoa Instagram

In an interview with Dax Shephard for his Armchair Expert podcast, she talked about feeling like she was not in a position to advocate for herself or push for changes to the scenes that involved nudity and simulated sex. She explained that her attitude became "I'm gonna go cry in the bathroom, and then I'm gonna come back and we're gonna do the scene, and it's gonna be completely fine." It took her some time and some supportive advice from co-star Jason Momoa before she felt confident enough to assert herself in that context and refuse to shoot nude scenes, even when faced with coercive comments like, "you don't want to disappoint your Game of Thrones fans."

Clarke is clearly not alone in needing some help in these situations, which is what makes the details of James Franco's so-called "master class" on sex scenes so disturbing. Through the acting school Studio 4, founded by Franco in 2014 and since shut down, students were promised not only an education in how to navigate sex scenes but also opportunities to audition for roles in films produced by Franco's company, Rabbit Bandini. Subject to approval of audition videos featuring nudity and simulated sex acts—and for an additional $750—students earned the right to send Franco and his colleagues even more videos of themselves in various states of undress and to be pressured into participating in ever more explicit on-screen activity—all while learning very little about actual industry standards.

Whatever defense Franco might use to justify these practices—and any defense should be taken with a grain of salt in the case of a man who knowingly hit on a 17-year-old at the age of 36—the effect was to turn his acting school into a steady source of quasi-pornographic material for himself and his colleagues, some of which actually ended up on a porn site. And a true "master class" on the subject of sex scenes might have provided his predominantly young and female students with the tools to protect themselves from this kind of exploitation.

James Franco 17-year-old

According to Sarah Tither-Kaplan—one of the former students who filed a lawsuit against Franco and Rabbit Bandini—"I didn't know anything about nudity riders, the detail required in them, the right to counsel with the director about nude scenes, the custom to choreograph nude scenes ahead of time to negotiate them with the cast and the director — I knew none of that throughout that class."

And that is exactly the issue that intimacy coordinators are intended to rectify. They will function both as advocates who empower performers to assert their rights and "movement coaches" who assist in making sex scenes look believable while conforming to safety and ethics standards. The new guidelines SAG has released lay out necessary qualifications, and the role of intimacy coordinators in establishing plans for sex scenes—maintaining a closed set, utilizing appropriate "modesty garments," and establishing consent for every aspect of "intimate and hyper-exposed scenes"—and making sure those plans are adhered to all the way through a film's final cut.

Emilia Clarke was lucky to have a kind costar to encourage her to assert herself, but if a SAG-approved intimacy coordinator had been on hand, then any and all nudity would have been carefully agreed to, and she would most likely not have been subjected to the kind of coercion she experienced. Likewise, an intimacy coordinator could have protected a lot of women from James Franco's exploitative practices on set, and certainly would not have allowed him to remove two women's plastic genital guards in the midst of simulating oral sex.

The #MeToo movement has done a lot to expose the exploitation and assault that are an ingrained part of Hollywood's culture. But we can't continue to place the burden on survivors to call out predatory behavior after the fact. SAG's new guidelines are a clear and important step toward codifying practices to help prevent this kind of traumatic exploitation from occurring in the first place.

Pamela Anderson joined Miley Cyrus onstage over the weekend to show some love to her new BFF and to save the whales.

The two pop icons have bonded over their shared passion for animal rights, so it was only fair that Pam come out to join Miley on the last show of her Dead Petz Tour.

While Miley outdid herself with her display of provocative gestures and wacky costumes, Pam looked relatively demure in a black leotard, with the slogan 'NO CAPTIVITY' written on her thigh.

The unlikely duo actually have much in common, besides animal rights. Both have been strong supporters of the LGBTQ community, and both have starred in campaigns for MAC lipstick, which funds HIV/Aids research.

An of course, both are very comfortable with nudity.

Miley appears topless on several magazine covers this month, and Pam has honor of being the last nude centerfold in Playboy magazine.

Speaking about MIley recently with Elle, Anderson had this to say:

Miley is so sweet. In this generation—and I know because I have two teenage boys—they don't really have to care about things. It's kind of a desensitized generation. I'm so impressed that she's really vegan and outspoken about animal welfare. She has written me some really beautiful letters and her mother has reached out to me. If I can be of any inspiration, I love it

It is obviously a mutual admiration society between the two women, who have both suffered public ridicule for their free-spirited, in-your-face sexuality.

Miley has been struggling in recent months with the loss of her dog Floyd. During her concert on Saturday night, Miley tried to explain to her audience what the tour meant to her. She said she wanted to be surrounded by people who understood the pain of losing a beloved animal, and who shared her belief that 'nature is always right.'

She related her conviction that the environment must be defended from 'man’s unfeeling encroachments,' according to the Los Angeles Times.

At 23, Miley is lucky to have someone like Anderson, 48, to look to as a strong role model. Miley has acted out her growing pains on the world stage, and she may want to regroup after this tour, with the help of some gown-ups who have walked that path and lived to tell.

Who better than Pamela Anderson, actress, sex symbol, mother and activist?

Miley Cyrus is comfortable being nude. We get it. EVERYONE GETS IT MILEY, YOU LOVE YOUR NAKED BODY!

In her latest Instagram video, Miley and a friend are dancing to Lil Jon on a boat and get so into it, a wardrobe malfunction happens.

Miley captioned her clip "going croque monsieur #turndownforwhat #yourneck #psnocheesejustham #imonaboatbitch #toturntforonevid."

Isn't she supposed to be super sick right now? And how come Rihanna gets her Instagram suspended but no one cares about Miley?

HMMMM.

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By Leah Ornstein,

Why bother wearing any clothes at all if you are going to show off all of your major body parts in barely-there attire?

From Jennifer Lopez’s scandalous 2000 Grammy Awards Versace dress and Rose McGowan’s booby and booty exposure at the 1998 MTV VMAs to Miley Cyrus’ racy MTV EMAs getup and Cher’s Burlesque booby exposure in 2010, Popdust has photos of the 20 most naked stars on the red carpet. in our weekly feature.

It's one of the first rules of being in a monogamous relationship, isn't it? You only tweet pics of the naked ass of the girl you're seeing. Anything other naked-ass-tweeting registers as a major breach of trust. We imagine Kanye is in some lukewarm-at-coldest water with main squeeze Kim Kardashian, then, for tweeting a pic of an ass that he believed to belong to his special lady. After being corrected on Twitter, 'Ye quickly deleted the pic from his timeline, but not before the pic caught the attention of porn star Amia Miley—who claimed the pics were of her, pointing out the back-piercing marks in the pic that corresponded to piercings of her own.

We don't know which part will be of greater consternation to Kim—the fact that Kanye still has other random-ass random ass pics in his collection, or the fact that he couldn't even recognize that the ass wasn't hers. ("It's like you don't know me at all, Kanye!") Either way, we encourage 'Yeezy to keep his naked-ass pic file names more organized for the next time—when you lazily label them as "Ass1, Ass2," etc., you're just asking for trouble like this.

Gotta give it up for Madge, the original pop mega-provocateur—even at age 53, if she's gonna be caught in a nip slip at a live show, it's gonna be her decision to be so filmed, damn it. For those Madonna acolytes in Istanbul who slept through the early '90s and therefore have never had the privilege of seeing Madonna's breasts, or for those who think pop star boob in general ages like a fine wine, they were in for a treat among treats last evening, as the singer did a little peek-a-boo with her right nipple during a performance of sexual empowerment classic "Human Nature." The crowd went predictably wild, and those with videocams in the first row internally rejoiced as they saw the thousands of YouTube hits rack up before their eyes.

Here's the obviously NSFW video, noteworthy occurrence at 2:55. Kudos to Madonna for showing after all these years, she's still not your bitch and it's probably best not to hang your shit on her.

[Rickey]