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How Do You Film Sex Scenes During Covid? One Show Turns to Blow Up Dolls

"The Bold and the Beautiful" is taking an unusual approach to continue filming intimate scenes. Will the rest of the industry follow?

"Lars and the Real Girl"

“Lars and the Real Girl”

As productions begin to start up again following the industry-wide shutdown over the coronavirus pandemic, one of the big questions surrounding filming is how movies and television series plan to get away with sex scenes and other intimate moments between actors. The long-running CBS soap opera “The Bold and the Beautiful” has come up with one idea, albeit a very unusual one. The series is planning to film sex scenes amid the coronavirus pandemic by utilizing lifelike blow up dolls.

“We have some life-like blow up dolls that have been sitting around here for the past 15 years, that we’ve used for various other stories — like when people were presumed dead,” the show’s head writer and executive producer Bradley Bell told Forbes. “We’re dusting off the dolls and putting new wigs and make-up on them and they’ll be featured in love scenes.”

Another plan “The Bold and the Beautiful” team has come up with is to use an actor and his or her spouse when filming intimate scenes that require live, moving bodies. The actor and his or her spouse will be tested for Covid-19 and only allowed to film the scene if both participants test negative. The production will also rely on editing for kissing scenes where the actors record their movements alone in front of the camera and then it’s cut together to appear like they’re in the same space. As Bell said, “They’ll look like they’re nose to nose, in the throes of passion. But they’ll be shooting scenes all by themselves.”

Production on “The Bold and the Beautiful” resumed June 15, making it one of the first major television series to restart shooting. As for movies, James Cameron is now back at work on the filming of his long-awaited “Avatar” sequels with strict social distancing measures in place. Universal Pictures announced this week it’s plan to resume filming on “Jurassic World: Dominion” by the first week of July. The studio has spent nearly $5 million to retrofit Pinewood Studios in London with new safety measures, including over 100 hand sanitizer stations.

While “The Bold and the Beautiful” is planning to continue filming sex scenes, albeit in a new way, it’s impossible to tell at this moment if other productions will follow suit. Television executives told THR earlier this month that writers’ rooms have been told a simple message: “If we’re not going to be able to shoot it, don’t write it.” That mantra has made sex scenes and fight scenes a big question mark moving forward.

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