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Queer as Folk was known for being boundary pushing, but not just because it was about gay character — it was also about gay sex.
“I think the sexuality — and the honesty of that sexuality — propelled us throughout the whole series,” actress Thea Gill, 48, says in the current issue of Entertainment Weekly, in which she is reunited with her entire QAF cast for the first time since they filmed the Showtime’s drama finale in 2005.
And executive producers Daniel Lipman and Ron Cowen didn’t waste any time easing their cast into filming their most intimate scenes. Brian (Gale Harold) and Justin’s (Randy Harrison) iconic sex scene from the premiere episode was shot on the very first day of filming.
“I had a lot of self-doubts about being able to execute the role of Brian, but diving in like that, it was kind of like the bells ringing,” says Harold, 48. “The next day was much easier in every way.”
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Gill, who played Brian’s longtime friend Lindsay, and Michelle Clunie, who played Lindsay’s girlfriend Melanie, say they made sure they were emotionally prepared for their first sex scene together.
“I remember Thea and I got together the night before our first sex scene, and we actually practiced kissing because we felt it was very important that it was a real, intimate connection between these two women who had been together for so long,” says Clunie, 48.
The executive producers say they learned how to call special rehearsals for the sex scenes and, with the help of the cinematographer and director and taking into account the comfort level of the actors involved, would actually choreograph the movements long before shooting began. Hal Sparks, who played comic book geek — and narrator — Michael, says it wasn’t just the actors who had to get used to the nudity.
“Glenn, bless his heart, our focus puller, who I love very dearly, is a good guy and an excellent part of our camera crew. All the crew were so amazing because a lot of there were straight blue-collar people from Toronto. They didn’t sign up for this on a political level, they just found themselves working on a job,” says Sparks, 48. “And after we’d shot [a big sex scene, Glenn] came up to me and he shook my hand and he went, ‘Phew.’ And it was because he knew we were both really working very hard, for lack of a better phrase, yeah. But also the level of commitment, he was like, ‘I bought it.'”
But not everyone was required to get as in the buff as others, like Sharon Gless, 75, who played Michael’s outlandish mom, Debbie: “They paid me to keep my clothes on!”