Claire Foy says filming sex scenes as a woman is the ‘grimmest thing you can do’

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  • Claire Foy
    Claire Foy
    English actress

Claire Foy has said filming sex scenes makes her feel “exposed” and “exploited”.

The 37-year-old actress stars in A Very British Scandal, about the Duchess of Argyll’s high-profile divorce in the 1960s, which featured explicit photographs and regularly made the front pages of newspapers.

Foy plays Margaret Campbell, the duchess, who was famed for her charisma, beauty and style.

However, the divorce proceedings brought to light accusations of forgery, theft, violence, drug-taking, secret recording, bribery and an explicit Polaroid picture.

Appearing on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, Foy explained why she finds filming sex scenes unpleasant.

The Crown star said: “It’s a really hard line because basically you do feel exploited when you are a woman and you are having to perform fake sex on screen.

“You can’t help but feel exploited.

“It’s grim – it’s the grimmest thing you can do.

“You feel exposed. Everyone can make you try to not feel that way but it’s unfortunately the reality.

“But my thing was that I felt very strongly that it had to be in it, but I wanted it to be female.

“I did not want it be that sort of awful climactic sexual experience you often see on the cinema screen.”

A Very British Scandal
Claire Foy as the Duchess of Argyll in A Very British Scandal (Chris Raphael/BBC/PA)

Responding to the suggestion that the duchess was the first woman to be publicly “slut-shamed” by the “mass media”, Foy dismissed the term.

She said: “I hate the phrase slut-shaming, I absolutely hate it.

“But I think that women have basically been slut-shamed forever. I think Eve was probably slut-shamed.”

She added: “There is something about it that I just hate, the rephrasing of the ownership of that title, and it being used in a way that justifies it even more.

“Just the word ‘slut’, I think, probably shouldn’t exist.”

The three-part series will air on BBC One over three consecutive nights, starting on Boxing Day.

It was made by Sarah Phelps, who previously wrote The Pale Horse, And Then There Were None and Dublin Murders, and directed by Norwegian film-maker Anne Sewitsky.

The programme comes from the team behind the BBC’s A Very English Scandal, which starred Hugh Grant and Ben Whishaw as politician Jeremy Thorpe and his lover, Norman Scott.

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