It’s been months since any TV show or movie has been able to feature more than one actor together in the same shot (unless they’re married or quarantining together). And yet the world needs content, and doing what SNL, late night TV, and daytime talk shows have done — have everyone perched in front of their webcams — probably isn’t a long-term solution. But it turns out there is a solution for one aspect of entertainment: If you need to shoot a love scene, you can take a page from the Ryan Gosling movie Lars and the Real Girl and have one partner be a blow-up doll.
That’s what The Bold and the Beautiful is doing. Forbes spoke to Bradley Bell, head writer and executive on the longtime CBS soap, which resumed shooting on June 15, and learned that while actors will be sharing the same sets, they’ll have to keep at least eight feet apart. Alas, social distancing and soap operas are, if you will, strange bedfellows.
“We were cutting all of the kisses, and the shows weren’t the same,” said head writer and executive Bradley Bell. And so they thought way outside the box and came back, and came back with an unusual solution to keep the passion alive even when the actors can’t come close to touching: each simulated sex scene will technically be solo acts.
“We have some life-like blow-up dolls that have been sitting around here for the past 15 years, that we’ve used for various other stories — like when people were presumed dead,” Bell said. “We’re dusting off the dolls and putting new wigs and make-up on them and they’ll be featured in love scenes.”
It’s not just love scenes that will require some movie (or TV) magic: Stand-ins will also be used on certain scenes, with actors recruiting their spouses to double for their onscreen paramours. Kisses, meanwhile, will be faked using editing, which…well, which sounds like it will be awkward to shoot and also to watch, though Bell is confident that won’t be so.
“They’ll look like they’re nose to nose, in the throes of passion,” Bell said. “But they’ll be shooting scenes all by themselves.”
The Bold and the Beautiful, which films in Los Angeles, halted production on March 13, a week before Governor Gavin Newsom issued stay-at-home orders statewide. By the end of the month, and for the first time since it premiered in 1987, the show was airing re-runs, having burned through fresh episodes.
The soap isn’t the only production that’s resumed filming, despite the fact that the pandemic still rages. The Avatar sequels resumed filming this week as well, and though they’re working in miraculously COVID-free New Zealand, perhaps James Cameron will take note and start investing in giant blue blow-up dolls.