One of the ways premium cable has set itself apart from network television is by being able to use stronger language, crank up the violence and show nudity. All you have to do is look at an episode of “Game of Thrones” or “Girls” to see the differences.
It might surprise you that in serious programs on the premium channels, there are debates on shows such as “Masters of Sex,” “The Affair” and “Shameless” that there are serious debates as to how and when to use nudity.
That’s where actors like Emmy Rossum step in to make suggestions about certain scenes in “Shameless.”
“ I think sometimes we see drafts or ideas and we think, well, this doesn’t feel necessary. How is this furthering the story?,” Rossum says during a panel discussion on sexuality and television presented by Showtime. “I think we’re just trying to find the honest truth of what a character would do in that moment, and if the honest truth involves sexuality, it involves intimacy between two characters, whatever, or violence between two characters, as long as it feels real.”
When a scenes exposes her both physically and emotionally, she counts on those around her. Her fellow actors along with the crew help her feel comfortable and not exploited.
When it comes to something being exploitative, that doesn’t just mean nudity. Rossum has seen scenes that have been emotionally exploitative. A character can cry too much for no reason because that seems like the obvious thing to do but that can feel wrong to the actress.
“What I think is so interesting about showing sexuality as part of art is no different than showing any other part of life to inform the art. Sexuality is a part of life, I hope. Sometimes you do have sex for a reason that has nothing do with sex. Maybe it’s about power. Maybe it’s about insecurity. Maybe it’s about just wanting to connect. Maybe it’s about just wanting to feel good. But I think, regardless, what’s so great about the shows on Showtime is that they don’t show in a gratuitous way,” Rossum says.
And, don’t think it is just a bunch of men sitting around in the writers room coming up with these ideas. Rossum explains the female writers on “Shameless” write raunchier stuff than the male writers.
“And, I don’t think that our female directors are any less apt to push the envelope,’ Rossum says.
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