Creator Ava DuVernay 'hits a sensual nerve,' says Winfrey
Credit: Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Ava DuVernay, creator of the upcoming OWN series Queen Sugar, says she shoots sex scenes in a restrained, almost prudish way — not a lot of movement, more focus on the before and the after rather than the doing.

“I try to show what happens before and after and around, because I think that’s sexier,” explains DuVernay.

To her producer and collaborator Oprah Winfrey, whatever she’s doing is working. “Her sex scenes look damn sexy,” says Winfrey, before launching into a story about the first time she and her bestie Gayle King watched the first episode of the series, in which Charley Bordelon West (Dawn-Lyen Gardner) gets down with her husband Davis West (Timon Kyle Durrett) outside in the evening by their stunning pool overlooking the city of Los Angeles.

The scene involves Durrett picking up Gardner from the sofa in a breezy, graceful move, as if she weighs nothing at all. That was DuVernay’s hope: “We did that scene five times,” she explains. “I said, ‘I want this to be effortless, like she is as light as a feather.'”

Credit: Michael Kovac/Getty Images for AFI

It seemed to have the right effect. When King and Winfrey watched the scene, Winfrey recalls King saying, “God, I wish somebody would pick me up like that,” she shares, laughing.


Winfrey goes on to describe another scene in a later episode that finds one of the main characters in bed and opening a blanket to invite his partner in. “You want to be that person,” she says. “It hits a sensual nerve. He is unhooking her bra, and you’re like, woah! I’m like, ‘I’m going to get Stedman [Graham] to unhook my bra and see what happens. Put your hand in my panty hose and let’s see what happens.'”

For more from Oprah Winfrey and Ava DuVernay, pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly, on newsstands now, or buy it now – and don’t forget to subscribe for more exclusive interviews and photos, only in EW.

Queen Sugar
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