Olivia Wilde Says What Actresses Should Demand in Sex Scenes

Olivia Wilde made headlines for her critically acclaimed comedy Booksmart. Many reviewers felt Wilde is part of a new and exciting generation of female directors. Here’s what she had to say about sex scenes and women in the industry.

Olivia Wilde | Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Veuve Clicquot

Olivia Wilde and Hollywood sex scenes

According to Yahoo! Entertainment, Wilde said “I learned that many of the parts of the system that we accept just to be true, the way a film set works, the hierarchy and how it exists are actually something — it’s something we have more control of than we assume. So when I got onto a set, it’s like, okay, I’m finally steering this ship.”

She added “Do I have to steer it the same way I’ve seen guys do it? Or can I do my own thing? I can do my own thing. So I’m going to change the way this usually works.”

She continued “I thought, okay, I’ll finally teach everyone what a closed set means.” A closed set is when only the most essential people of a production are allowed onset for privacy. “And I said to our actresses that are doing this intimate scene, ‘When you’re on your next film set, I want you to demand what I’m showing you today.’”

Olivia Wilde attends Variety’s Creative Impact Awards | Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for Palm Springs International Film Festival

She hopes the experience was transformative for the actresses. “It takes a lot of effort, but it’s one example of providing an example of how things can be and telling these actresses, ‘Now go off and demand this new standard.” She added “I loved the opportunity to use what I have learned and to make it a better environment for the actors as well.”

Communicating as a female director

According to Yahoo! Entertainment, she also discussed communicating with actors. “You can be very clear and direct but I think people really appreciate it because they feel those boundaries are in place and they’re being kept safe. I think you can always communicate why: why you are asking them to work harder, why you need this thing to be different and to pick those battles.” She added that, for women directors, “the fear of being a bitch is a real thing.”

Yahoo! Entertainment also reports Wilde’s critical of how filmmaking is perceived. “We’re used to this narrative of this scrappy young film school guy that could be the next Steven [Spielberg]. There’s not as many people to draw from with women …. women, who out of the gate who had something, so we need to empower more women to have their first film made.”

How Olivia Wilde promotes women in the industry

Olivia Wilde at a screening of Booksmart | Lars Niki/Getty Images for The Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences

On the subject of women filmmakers, she said “I believe deeply in this idea of once you’re in that spot, you have to start mentoring other women and do what the men have done for years, which is give the job to their buddies or someone who looks just like them.”

Wilde discussed how Kaitlyn Devers, one of the stars of Booksmart, wants to become a director. “She has a band and so I said, ‘You have an easy way to do this. Build your [music] video, start your reel.””

Wilde added “I think it’s about encouraging but also helping them get the job — make the calls, help people get in the room. For a long time, I feel for one woman to feel she was breaking through all the barriers and glass ceiling, there was this sense that I must go at it alone because if I bring others with me, it’ll be hard to get through this small crack in the ceiling.”

Most critics and audiences enjoyed Booksmart. Others didn’t. Regardless, Wilde has interesting insights into filmmaking.

Also see: What Are Steven Spielberg’s Best Movies of All Time?