Ava DuVernay, creator of the upcoming OWN series Queen Sugar, says she shoots sex scenes in a restrained, almost prudish way — not a lot of movement, more focus on the before and the after rather than the doing.
“I try to show what happens before and after and around, because I think that’s sexier,” explains DuVernay.
To her producer and collaborator Oprah Winfrey, whatever she’s doing is working.
“Her sex scenes look damn sexy,” says Winfrey, before launching into a story about the first time she and her bestie Gayle King watched the first episode of the series, in which Charley Bordelon West (Dawn-Lyen Gardner) gets down with her husband Davis West (Timon Kyle Durrett) outside in the evening by their stunning pool overlooking the city of Los Angeles.
The scene involves Durrett picking up Gardner from the sofa in a breezy, graceful move, as if she weighs nothing at all. That was DuVernay’s hope: “We did that scene five times,” she explains. “I said, ‘I want this to be effortless, like she is as light as a feather.’”
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It seemed to have the right effect. When King and Winfrey watched the scene, Winfrey recalls King saying, “God, I wish somebody would pick me up like that,” she shares, laughing.
Quips Winfrey: “I said, “He’d probably hurt his back and fall into the pool. [Laughs] And that would ruin the scene.”