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TO ACT GAY OR PLAY A SEX SCENCE:WOULD YOU? PART 4

Gerald Langiri
March 29 / 2012

We continue from TO ACT GAY OR PLAY A SEX SCENCE:WOULD YOU? PART 3 and are coming to the last but not least element of picking controversial parts, the actual script. As an actor you have to be convinced 100% that the things the character you will choose to act, are all justified and necessary. If you start reading a script that describes a scene where"Judy is naked in the kitchen cooking dinner" or "Bob is gardening wearing only his flip flops" you have to really understand why Judy or Bob are doing these actions naked. Are they nudists? Are they forgetful? Even shower or bath scenes (a place where you have to be naked) must be justified. Ask why are they there? Is it helping the character or the story to actually show one take a bath? Be critical and use your mind. Discuss with the director and let him/her convince you the importance of such scenes.  If he/she does not convince you, you can always say no. But even if he does convince you that the scenes are necessary, there are still various ways of shooting such scenes and give the feel of nudity without someone being actually nude.

We did one scene like that in "Otto the bloodbath" It is the actual scene that gave the name to the film with the Jitu actress Helena Waithera. The way the scene was shot gives you the impression that Helena is getting undressed and she is nude inside the bathroom. But if you see the raw footage of the movie you will see that after the CUT was heard, Helena was wearing a swimming costume (you can see some of the images of that scene in the actual trailer of the movie).  Shuga is another good example of introducing smartly sex scenes in the Kenyan audiences. Yes it is a series about HIV (this is something that the society will accept) but at the same time, you see many young Kenyans getting involved in sex scenes smartly shot. Maybe there is no nudity here but as far as I remember there are a few underwear shots and a few steamy kissing scenes here and there.

 Shuga was accepted by the Kenyan society (to make link with the previous things I was writing) because the storyline had a social element and also it was not too much provocative (mild I would say). But do not be surprised if in Shuga 3 or 4 they may introduce smartly gay element as was seen in Shuga 2. They did not do it in the first or second episodes.  They first make sure to create a following and then make the next step. It needs patience to change a society’s perception of things.

To sum up: challenging roles are out there and they will always be out there.  Gay, straight, nude, dressed, sexual or not. The question is, you as an actor, how ready are you to accept them or decline them. How much have you developed your critical view and judge if a role is good for you or not? And were these decisions was made entirely by you as an actor or by other factors? Oh and do not get me wrong: you can still be a challenging great actor for life, not act in a single nude or sex scene and still win 3 Oscars (yes Meryl Streep we salute you)!

Feel free to ask any questions or put your comments below for more information.

Written by Alexandros Konstantaras

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