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Leonardo star Aidan Turner discusses filming ‘tricky’ sex scenes: ‘No one wants to say or do the wrong thing’

Roisin O'Connor
·2-min read
Aidan Turner as da Vinci in Leonardo (Amazon Prime Video)
Aidan Turner as da Vinci in Leonardo (Amazon Prime Video)

Aidan Turner has spoken about the difficulties of filming sex scenes following the launch of his new series, Leonardo.

The Poldark star plays a young version of Leonardo da Vinci in the Amazon show, which explores his work but also his tumultuous personal life (with a hefty dose of artistic license).

In an interview with the Radio Times, he revealed that he has not worked with an intimacy coach before, “but it’s definitely the right move, as it takes the pressure away from everybody”.

He suggested that there can be an “awkward atmosphere” during the filming of sex scenes as “no one wants to say or do the wrong thing”.

“Sometimes that means things don’t get discussed properly,” he said. “It gets avoided and then the situation spirals.”

He added: “You want everyone to feel comfortable. If they’re not, sometimes they won’t speak and then things won’t get heard. Those scenes can be tricky. You just question why has it taken so long [to have these experts on set].”

Asked what he meant by “tricky”, he responded: “It’s dependent on the scene, but some can be more aggressive or unwanted.

“Everyone has their own experiences with such things and in their own personal lives. You don’t know what someone is coming into the scene with.

“It’s not always the best approach to assume your own history is the same as everyone else’s. I think having somebody to anchor that situation is brilliant.”

Amazon Prime
Amazon Prime

Leonardo has received mixed reviews from critics. The Guardian called the series “an insipid portrait… painted by numbers”, while The Independent’s Ed Cumming gave it two stars and suggested that it feels “like the sort of educational film they have on loop at museums, a kind of animated Wikipedia entry, with a script that prefers not to let subtext get in the way of straight facts”.

Turner recently told The Independent how showrunners had felt it was important to portray Leonardo da Vinci as accurately as possible, including that he was gay, a fact upon which most historians have agreed.

“It would be weird to not include this. It would feel so strange,” he said. “Hopefully this is changing with historical dramas, as it’s changing in other dramas.”

The series continues on Fridays on Amazon Prime Video.

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