Obviously not one to mince words, the creator of the Netflix hit show “Orange is the New Black” told guests at the Hollywood Radio and Television Society lunch about the trouble she has in getting any nudity out of her cast.
“Very often it’s convincing the actors to get naked,” Kohan said. “You hope everyone will just be cool about it, and then they’re not. There’s a lot of convincing and making people feel comfortable.”
Kohan was joined by Michelle Ashford of “Masters of Sex” and Carlton Cuse of “Bates Motel” but reports say her frank comments about sex got the biggest response from the audience. While Kohan said she isn’t really limited by Netflix, she says that actors often have a non-nudity clause or a specific degree of nudity like, “only side boob or only this cheek.” She had kudos for the ones she could get a solid commitment out of. “The extras, God bless them, are the ones that have it all out there — and it’s only an extra $10 a day for full nudity.”
This isn’t the first time she’s had to deal with nudity issues on set. Talking about her Showtime hit show, “Weeds,” in one scene, an actress was supposed to be holding a sex toy.
“We could show the dildo and we could show the lube,” Kohan said. “But we couldn’t show her applying the lube to the dildo.” It looks like Netflix is at least meeting her halfway on “Orange,” Kohan asked for some male full frontal nudity and will get it but she added, “I don’t think it’s going to be erect.”
Show business has long had a weird relationship with male nudity. There hasn’t been an issue with female full frontal nudity for a long, long time, but male full frontal had been a rarity until very recently. Even in the more progressive films that show male full frontal, the genitalia is almost always shown in flaccid form. Cable television is pushing the boundaries as much as allowed. Last month “The Game of Thrones” star Kit Harington said he’ll do full frontal if it’s warranted and shows like “True Blood” and “Girls” get in as much male nudity as they can.
Last month, “Girls” co-executive producer Judd Aptow told students at Loyola Marymount University, “We’ve experimented with the limits of what people can handle. We’ve had a male organ in movies—we found out that 20 seconds of someone naked is probably too much, and people will leave the theater if you have full-frontal nudity for an extended period of time.” It doesn’t seem like they have that problem at HBO!
At the lunch, Kohan also talked about having to get used to the way Netflix is doing things like releasing an entire season of her show at one time.
“I had to stop seeing it as traditional TV,” Kohan said. There’s been some controversy about the author of “Orange is the New Black” feeling uncomfortable with how her biography is being changed and handled.
“Piper herself wasn’t very comfortable with this very fictionalized account of her own life, so it became its own animal,” Kohan said. “She’s the godmother of it, and she’s the source of it, but it’s become its own show.”
It’s not anything dramatic, the real seems to Piper likes the show.
“Piper is great for technical advice, she’s also very involved in the post-prison advocacy world,” Kohan said.
Catherine Clearly Wolters, the real-life Alex Vause, recently gave her first interview to Vanity Fair about her experience. She says she didn’t actually have sex with Piper in prison and they only spent about five weeks in the same facility. Wolters denies she was Piper’s “first,” too!
“Orange is the New Black” season two is on Netflix June 6.
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