Filming sex scenes can be tricky business, often involving the need for a third party intimacy coordinator to step in and choreograph the most intimate parts of a story. But in the upcoming film Ammonite, stars Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan took it upon themselves to meticulously plan out every meaningful kiss and laboured sigh of their characters’ first time in bed together.
Ammonite explores the relationship between washed up fossil hunter Mary Anning (Winslet, based on the real-life paleontologist of the same name) who is charged with caring for and depressed housewife Charlotte Murchison (Ronan) in 19th century England. Obviously from different worlds, the women initially get off on the wrong foot, but the tension between them develops into true love — which leads to passionate sex.
When a script calls for a particularly explicit sexual interaction, many productions will call in an intimacy coordinator; in addition to meticulously choreographing each moment, the coordinators are also responsible for making sure that the actors involved feel safe while filming the scene. But Winslet is no stranger to onscreen lovemaking and leveraged her varied experiences for Ammonite. Talking to The Hollywood Reporter, she revealed that she and Ronan had personally taken on the responsibility of choreographing their most explicit love scene.
"I just think Saoirse and I, we just felt really safe," Winslet explained to THR. "[Director] Francis Lee was naturally very nervous. And I just said to him, ‘Listen, let us work it out.’ And we did. ‘We’ll start here. We’ll do this with the kissing, boobs, you go down there, then you do this, then you climb up here.’ I mean, we marked out the beats of the scene so that we were anchored in something that just supported the narrative."
"I felt the proudest I’ve ever felt doing a love scene on Ammonite," the Oscar-winner added. "And I felt by far the least self-conscious.”
Winslet's tenacity inspired confidence in her co-star, who told THR that she felt very comfortable filming such intimate scenes with the veteran actress despite only knowing her casually before production for Ammonite began.
"[Kate's] performances are incredibly human," said Ronan. “Obviously, she’s incredibly skilled, but she’s also someone you always feel you can identify with, and I think that says a lot about the kind of person she is. It’s sort of in [her] bones.”
The date of Ammonite's theatrical release has yet to be announced, but you can anticipate the final product of Winslet and Ronan's chemistry in the period drama's official trailer, below: