entertainment

It's a Sin's Olly Alexander sang Disney classic during sex scene to help co-star Nathaniel Curtis deal with nerves

Actor Nathaniel Curtis reveals how the Years & Years singer put him at ease during the drama's racier moments.

2021-02-22

Whether you're a screen newcomer or a TV veteran, getting your kit off in front of a co-star to film a sex scene can be a nerve-wracking moment - but it seems It's a Sin star Olly Alexander has an unlikely trick for putting any anxious colleagues at ease.

Nathaniel Curtis, who plays Ash Mukherjee on the hit Channel 4 and HBO Max series charting the lives of gay men in London during the Aids crisis, has revealed that Years and Years singer Olly quickly made his nerves evaporate during his first-ever day of filming on-camera sex scenes by breaking into song. 

Appearing on the Headstrong podcast, Curtis recalled the surreal experience of being serenaded by the chart-topping singer and former Attitude cover star as he lay naked on top of him during a break in filming.

Nathaniel Curtis (left) as Ash and Olly Alexander as Ritchie in It's a Sin (Image: Channel 4)

Asked by host Louis Strong what his most challenging experience on set was, Nathaniel replies: "I think for myself it was the first day of sex scenes, purely because I've not done a screen job before and I've never taken all of my clothes off before for a job.

"The initial moment, the build-up the moment we took off our robes and did the first take, I could actually feel my heart pounding in my chest."

The 30-year-old TV newcomer continues: "I remember after they did the first take, and I remember I was quite nervous, still, but then Olly was humming.

"I looked at him and was like 'What are you doing?' Because they put our robes over my back and over his stomach, just while they changed a light or something.

"I was like 'Olly, what are you humming?' And he just started singing 'Let It Go' from Frozen at me! And I was like 'Oh, cool, great, that's where we are...'

"And that was it, for the rest of the day I was absolutely fine. I [just] had to take myself out of my head for that moment."

Strangely enough, Olly's channeling of Queen Elsa wasn't the only weird thing to happen to Nathaniel during his first-ever TV sex scenes: by chance, he also happened to know one of the on-set intimacy co-ordinators hired to manage onscreen moments involving sex and nudity.

"We couldn't have done it without the intimacy co-ordinators. As a role, it's so important to have them there", Nathaniel explains. "I actually knew one of the intimacy co-ordinators, he was an old friend of mine, and it was lovely to have him there.

"A bit weird - very weird - but very lovely."

It's a Sin's racier moments attracted plenty of tabloid attention after the show's debut on Channel 4 last month - but Nathaniel stresses that the positive portrayal of sex shown on the show played a vital part of its narrative.

He explains: "I think sex is such an important part of this story - it's not just 'Oh, they're going to go off and have sex'. The way that it starts, it's fun, they want to sleep with who they want and love who they want, and that's great.

"But then obviously because of HIV and Aids, it's integral you show that - that you show they were having fun and enjoying themselves and [that] there's absolutely nothing wrong with that." 

Listen to It's a Sin star Nathaniel Curtis on the Headstrong podcast with Louis Strong below: