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30th Apr 2022

Joe Alwyn on the not-so-steamy sex scenes in Conversations With Friends

Katy Brennan

“They’re essentially choreographed – they’re like fight scenes.”

It’s just a few weeks now until Sally Rooney’s highly-anticipated Conversations With Friends drops and if there’s one thing we learned from the trailer – it’s that there’s gonna be a lot of sex.

Joe Alwyn, who stars as the dreamy Nick, has revealed that the sex scenes, while plentiful, weren’t very sexy at all to film – describing them as “mechanical”.

In the show, Nick is married to Melissa (Jemima Kirke) but strikes up an affair with student Frances (Alison Oliver), and so Joe is regularly, but tastefully, involved in sex scenes.

“We were guided through it with an intimacy coordinator,” he told The Guardian. “They’re essentially choreographed. So they’re like fight scenes.

“They’re quite mechanical. And obviously they’re weird, funny, strange things to do with your friends.”

He added how “all the sexiness” was taken away when they were filming, with director Lenny Abrahamson “cracking jokes”, crew members all around them, and it constantly being either “freezing cold or boiling hot”.

The 31-year-old added the scenes are more like “extensions of the conversations, in their own way”.

“Each one, hopefully, should feel slightly different and mean something different to the people involved, and they’re not just kind of gratuitously thrown in,” he said. “But, I mean, obviously, it’s a weird part of the job.”

Conversations With Friends follows the life of two college students in Dublin, Frances and Bobbi (Sasha Lane), as they strike up an unlikely friendship with an older couple – the intriguing photographer Melissa and actor Nick.

Like the hugely popular adaption of Rooney’s other novel, Normal People, Conversations with Friends will be directed by the acclaimed Irish filmmaker Lenny Abrahamson.

Discussing the show, he previously told Vanity Fair: “What we’ve ended up with is something that has a kind of aesthetic family resemblance to the other series, but is definitely its own thing.”