Choreographing Rape in the #MeToo Era – /Film

Choreographing Rape in the #MeToo Era – /Film

Stuntwoman Deven MacNair didn’t set out to become Hollywood’s foremost expert in rape choreography. When she arrived in Hollywood following a career as a professional wrestler and second generation “Glow” Girl, she initially wanted to do Buster Keaton-esque physical comedy or maybe a Disney movie, she revealed in last year’s harrowing LA Weekly piece about the growing subdivision of rape choreography in Hollywood. But rape is increasingly in demand on TV and in the movies, and that means MacNair will likely be on the job.

“I feel I’m doing a service,” MacNair said in a phone interview with /Film. “But yeah, they’re not my favorite.”

Rape choreography, sometimes called “intimacy choreography,” is just like it sounds: It’s the part in production when the crew has to coordinate how they’re going to film a sexual assault scene. The process is not unlike filming a fight scene — the stunt coordinators block the actors, block the camera, and practice. But unlike a fight scene, choreographing rape can take more than just a physical toll, it can take an emotional toll as well. And there’s no safeguards in place for that.

“The lighting guy is there to light the set and nothing else… The make-up people are there to put the make-up on, put the blood in the right place. There’s no one checking in with the actress, it’s no one’s job besides stunt coordinators and sometimes the first AD,” MacNair said. Her official job title doesn’t have the word “rape” or “intimacy” in it because she — like the stunt industry — fell into the job by circumstance.

“If they found the scene to be violent enough they would have a stunt choreographer there to work on the fight choreography of the rape scene,” MacNair said. “And that’s how I got involved.”

But not all rape is violent, MacNair argued. And in the wake of the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements, Hollywood is…

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