The Affair creator Sarah Treem responds to report Ruth Wilson left show over 'gratuitous nude scenes'

She denies 'cajoling actors to get naked even if they were uncomfortable'

Jacob Stolworthy
Saturday 21 December 2019 09:48
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The showrunner of US drama The Affair has responded to the report that claims Ruth Wilson quit the show after being “pressured” to perform “gratuitous” nude scenes.

According to insiders, Wilson – who abruptly left the show in 2018 – “had long wanted to leave because of ongoing frustrations with the nudity required of her” as well as due to “friction” with Treem.

The report accuses Treem of “cajoling actors to get naked even if they were uncomfortable or not contractually obligated to”.

In a new open letter posted on Deadline, Treem refutes the claims that she created a negative work environment on set, writing: “On a continuous basis throughout Ruth’s time on the show, I tried to protect her and shoot sex scenes safely and respectfully.”

She continued: “We didn’t agree on the choices of the character or whether or not a sex scene was necessary to advance the plot, but that is not the same thing as not respecting or supporting an actress’s need to feel safe in her work environment, which is something I always take incredibly seriously.”

Treem said she began “trying to write Alison closer to Ruth’s vision” in the third season and removed any sex scene that the actor was uncomfortable with.

In the report, it’s claimed that – while filming the second season – Wilson declined to shoot an aggressive sex scene that involved her being pushed up against a tree at a yoga retreat by her co-star Dominic West. “It was rapey,” a source said. “Ruth was very unamused by it.”

Treem commented on this in her open letter, writing: “Did I know that scene reads as a male fantasy? Of course. That was the whole point. But Ruth Wilson, who was playing Alison, didn’t approve of the scene and didn’t want to play it as written.

By this point, it wasn’t a surprise as we had been disagreeing on the character’s choices since the second episode. By now we were at this complicated impasse where I didn’t know how to write the character any differently and she didn’t feel she could play what I was writing.”

Wilson currently stars in BBC series His Dark Materials.

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