Filming the Sex Scenes: A Unique Opportunity

We’ve already spoken of the controversy surrounding the story Fifty Shades of Grey. No? Let’s recap Fifty Shades of Neutral: Addressing the Controversy. Another concern we’ve seen frequently is that the explicit content of the books will not translate to film without earning it an NC-17 rating or being classified as pornography.

One of our blog contributors, Kassie, wanted to suggest her version of how the movie can achieve an R rating.

(Note to Universal, Focus Features, and author E L James: These ideas are given freely with no expectations of credit and/or compensation if used.)

With an R rating (my hope for it), the movie can give us many different visuals of sexual situations; however, the sexual encounters in Fifty Shades of Grey will need to achieve a deeper intensity because the audience will need to walk away with a perceived mix of both pleasure and pain.

So is there a way around this to make those scenes less graphic but just as effective to the audience?

I think so!

In fact, I think Fifty Shades of Grey has a rather unique opportunity to do this based on a wonderful part of Ana’s character that Ms. James built into the story. Often in the book, the reader understands how Ana is feeling based on the description of varied actions/reactions of her Subconscious and Inner Goddess. As personifications, the two are very important ‘characters’ in the story and should be utilized (not overlooked or left out), particularly during the explicit scenes.

Here is how I think this could work:

Take the first time Christian disciplines Anastasia. We have Ana’s thoughts to work with there. We can watch them get set in the position and the camera can focus on Ana’s face, putting Christian in the background out of focus. When he pulls his hand back to spank her, we are then transported to Ana’s mind. Her Inner Goddess, taking on the form of a feisty and gorgeous Anastasia, is wide-eyed but curious. Her Subconscious, taking on the form of a more straight-laced Anastasia, is hiding behind a sofa avoiding watching the scene unfold. The reader watches the scene play out across ‘their’ faces but can still hear Ana’s vocalizations and Christian’s voice coming through, thus giving the audience the full effect of the scene.

Now imagine every explicit sex scene taking on some variation of the above by continuing to incorporate the actions/reactions of both the Subconscious and Inner Goddess. They could switch back and forth between what’s actually happening and what Ana’s thinking. This would still leave the more intimate sexual encounters intact.

The audience would get a balanced view without crossing the line that would enforce an NC-17 rating. No doubt, the right director and screenwriter could make it work; and if they are careful, the most intense scenes can be made in a way that will be quite effective to the audience, even if we aren’t shown everything.

Admin notes:

If Blue Valentine can be slapped with an NC-17 rating for oral sex, there are obvious lines the FSoG movie will have to skirt along creatively in order to avoid it. That is not to say that we believe having an NC-17 rating attached to this movie would make it less wildly popular. Let’s face it. We all fell in love with Fifty right along with Ana. The ‘scenes’ that could make it necessary for this rating are part of the story, part of what makes Fifty ‘Fifty.’ They also inform the relationship between Christian and Ana. We are confident that Ms. James will protect the integrity of her story regardless of the ultimate rating.

For a list of the most popular NC-17 rated films click here. For a look at what each rating means, check out The Motion Picture Association of America’s descriptions here.

Do you think they can make this film with an R rating? Would you still go to the theater and see it with an NC-17 rating?

12 thoughts on “Filming the Sex Scenes: A Unique Opportunity

  1. I like your insight into possible ways Fifty Shades could be filmed. Without a doubt a good director, after first having an artful screenwriter to bring these words to the camera’s eye, can pull this off. The behind the scene action really need mainly to be, Ana’s facial expression reacting anyway. The way you described the two personifications of her would certainly do the trick.
    I’m resting easy. Certainly with the guidance of Ms. James and the movie industry pros, they will bring our beloved Fifty, with all his Shades, in an artful manner. Whether it be NC-17 or not, I have faith.

    • I also truly believe they will manage to get it done and in a way that we all approve of. I’m resting easy knowing she has some control over what happens with the movie so she can be sure it comes through on screen without missing the essentials.

  2. I absolutely love the way you have described the possible ways to portray those scenes in FSoG! The Inner Goddess (the devil on one shoulder) and her subconscious (the angel on the other shoulder) making their appearances at this time would be a fabulous way to capture the emotions she is feeling at that moment. And as women, we are all about emotions – and we all know what good imaginations we have. So leaving out the really really explicit stuff is not a problem for us…..our imaginations can fill in the “fifty” blanks! LOL That’s why we love reading this story so much!

    • I don’t know if it’s necessarily an angel on one shoulder, a devil on the other. Because even though her inner goddess encourages her adventurous side and her subconscious tries to get her out of it, there are instances where her subconscious gets her into a bit of trouble while her inner goddess will try to keep her away from major temptation. All in all I believe they will/could show the many different emotions that run through Ana’s mind when making the decision to stay…. and play ;) and that’s the most important part.

  3. Definitely a golden opportunity here to make use of the Inner goddess and her Subconscious! Possibly this means whomever they cast as Ana needs to be able to do somersaults!!! Maybe Hayden P.?

    Kassie–great suggestion! Thanks for giving us more to consider in how this movie will be made. And you know me, I’m going to go see this movie no matter what rating it gets. :)

    • Any actress that plays Ana will definitely need to be bendy and flexible if she’s going to take on the roll of subconscious and inner goddess too.

      They could rate this movie anything and my behind will be in a seat waiting with a bucket of popcorn and a pen and paper to take notes ;)

  4. Miss Kassie, I love this idea and I hope the person who directs this, takes it into consideration. A woman’s imagination is infinite. While we love the ‘red room of pain’ scenes in this series…A little something left to our chimera may just add to the mystique of these encounters. While I have never been a fan of the “angel” & “devil” on the shoulder usage, this could be quite entertaining too. I agree with kiTT, casting should take into consideration the ‘physical’ needs of this characters subconcious, as well as the scenes between Mr. Grey and Ana.

    Bravo, Miss Kassie. Bravo.

    • Us women can do a whole heck of a lot more with our imagination than we are given credit for. If the timing is right and we are given just enough, or just the tip.. if you will, our imaginations can carry us the rest of the way.

  5. I have no clue how they will make this movie. Personally, i dont care what rating it will receive because i will see it anyway. I support my friends/twitter friends and followers, that is just how i am.

  6. While I love Ana’s glorious subconscious/ inner goddess in the book, I disagree with having “her” take part in the movie. It is entertaining reading, as our the texts and emails, but I think using the subconscious would make this film more about Ana then Christian. I hope, hope, hope that Focus Features does not move on the script and casting until the next book, written from Christians perspective, comes out. From the little bit E.L.James teased us with I already like it better than the first book! While Ana and Christian are both main characters, in my opinion the story is about Christian and how the love of the right woman helps him. The right actress will show the audience that she enjoys the vanilla sex and the kinky f****ery but not the pain. In the end isn’t the pain Ana feels less about the belt wounds and more about the fact that she thinks he can’t love her? All the fans talk about the sex in the novel but for me it was all about the romance. I am hoping for an R rating.

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