Great Britain

Little Birds cast lift lid on gay sex scenes and shooting 1950s porn films in raunchy Sky drama

LITTLE Birds star Hugh Skinner and his co-star Raphael Acloque have lifted the lid on their gay sex scenes and shooting 1950s porn films in Sky’s raunchy new drama. 

The actors play two men who are in a queer love triangle set in the hedonistic heyday of Tangier.

Sky Atlantic’s new drama, Little Birds, is inspired by Anaïs Nin’s collection of erotic short stories, and centres around the relationships of Hugo, who is married to Lucy, and Hugo’s lover, Adham. 

Everything about the show is luxurious – from the setting to the costumes and the freedom the characters come to enjoy. 

In an interview with Digital Spy, Hugh Skinner and Raphael Acloque discussed the research that they both undertook for the role.

Hugh revealed he spent a lot of time reading books to gain an insight. 

He said: “…Tangier in the ‘50s was a kind of Mecca for gay men. They [gay writers] were all there. Joe Orton, Tennessee Williams – I’d read Orton’s diaries, and he went there with Kenneth Williams and Kenneth Halliwell. Burroughs wrote Naked Lunch there.

“I was trying to work out what the headspace was, in terms of the shame at that point. By all accounts, after the war, the ideals of family and marriage were held in higher esteem than ever, and gay men were often front-page news – not in a celebratory way.”

Raphael continued: “I've tried to find stuff about gay Arab men in the '50s, and you're never going to find anything... Of course, whether you were white or Arab or Black in the '50s, it was the same difficulty – being able to love whoever you wanted to love.

But for an Arab, especially because it's so taboo in those countries – and still today – it was complicated to find anything to research. The difference between my character and Hugh's character is Adham has no shame whatsoever about anything. I don't think he thinks in those terms.”

The sex scenes in the drama are sure to get tongues wagging and viewers hot under the collar, but Raphael revealed they didn’t have an intimacy coordinator on set. 

He said: “[Director] Stacie [Passon] was incredibly present, and always made sure to listen to any reservations that we could have, or any idea that we could bring to try to make a scene more tasteful. 

“Having seen the results, she did film that with a lot of taste, and she did edit it with a lot of taste. And I'm grateful for that.”

Hugo added: “And also, I was lucky enough to see Juno Temple's scene where she shoots that erotic film... She was so fucking liberating, and just went there. 

“It was weirdly amazing to watch. It was really exciting. I was just like, "Wow, she's just brilliant. She got so into the character, and didn't give a fuck, and just went for it." It was really inspiring.”

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