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New rules for filming nudity and sex scenes released, after Emilia Clarke speaks out

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Hollie Richardson
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Emilia Clarke nude scenes

New nude and sex scene guidelines have been published by Directors UK, just days after Emilia Clarke was told to shoot Game of Thrones scenes “for her fans”. Trigger warning: this article discusses rape. 

Directors UK, the professional association of UK screen directors, has published its first guidelines for scenes in TV shows and films that involve sex and nudity. 

“We know that directors don’t want anyone to feel unsafe, exploited or mismanaged when dealing with scenes of nudity or simulated sex,” a statement read on the Directors UK website. “And so, working in consultation with both our members and industry colleagues, Directors UK has compiled a set of best practice guidance for creating a safe on-set environment, one that allows directors and their collaborators to make daring work.”

So, what exactly are the guidelines being put in place? The guidance includes banning full nudity in any audition or call back and no semi-nudity in first auditions. It also advises that productions must obtain explicit written consent from the performer prior to them being filmed or photographed nude or semi-nude. (You can read the full guide here.)

The announcement came in the same week that Last Christmas actor Emilia Clarke spoke out about controversial nude and sex scenes in Game of Thrones.

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The Game of Thrones “love story” between Daenerys Targaryen (Clarke) and her husband Khal Drogo (Jason Momoa) was a complicated one, to say the least. Sure, Daenerys goes on to be the “moon” of Drogo’s life. And she calls him her “sun and stars” in return. But, this was an arranged marriage, which basically started with rape on their wedding night. And let’s not forget how often Daenerys was required to be nude in uncomfortable scenes that saw her performing sex acts. 

Clarke, who played Daenerys until her murder in the final episode, has now spoken out about the whole experience – and she revealed that she was told to take on nude scenes so that she didn’t “disappoint” fans.

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Speaking on actor Dax Shepard’s podcast, Armchair Expert, she described how Momoa – who played her onscreen husband – also found the rape storyline difficult to film.

“He was crying more than I was,” Clarke replied, when asked about the season one scene.

“It’s only now that I realise how fortunate I was with that, because that could have gone many, many, many different ways.

“Because Jason had experience – he was an experienced actor who had done a bunch of stuff before coming on to this – he was like, ‘Sweetie, this is how it’s meant to be, this is how it’s not meant to be, and I’m going to make sure that that’s the fucking gaze.’

“He was always like, ‘Can we get her a fucking robe? She’s shivering!’ He was so kind and considerate and cared about me as a human being.”

Daenerys Targaryen
Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) and Khal Drogo (Jason Momoa) in Game of Thrones.

She also talked about how she took the role straight out of acting school and just accepted the nudity as part of the job.

“I took the job and then they sent me the scripts and I was reading them, and I was like, ‘Oh, there’s the catch!” she explained. “But I’d come fresh from drama school and I approached it as a job: if it’s in the script, then it’s clearly needed. This is what this is and I’m going to make sense of it and that’s what I’m going to do and everything’s going to be cool.

“I’ve never been on a film set like this before. I’d been on a film set twice before then, and I’m now on a film set completely naked with all of these people, and I don’t know what I’m meant to do, and I don’t know what’s expected of me, and I don’t know what you want, and I don’t know what I want.

“Regardless of there being nudity or not, I would have spent that first season thinking I’m not worthy of requiring anything. I’m not worthy of needing anything at all.”

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Clarke, who stars in the new Christmas rom-com Last Christmas, then went on to explain how her reaction to nude scenes changed. 

“I’ve had fights on set before where I’m like, ‘No, the sheet stays up,’ and they’re like, ‘You don’t wanna disappoint your Game of Thrones fans.’ And I’m like, ‘Fuck you.’ ”

Although it’s hugely disappointing that a female actor was talked to like this, her powerful response was spot-on.

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Images: Getty, HBO

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Hollie Richardson

Hollie is a digital writer at Stylist.co.uk, mainly covering the daily news on women’s issues, politics, celebrities and entertainment. She also keeps an ear out for the best podcast episodes to share with readers. Oh, and don’t even get her started on Outlander…

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