How “Femme” stars Nathan Stewart-Jarrett and George MacKay developed sexual chemistry in a week

The actors reveal how they quickly prepared for their complicated, emotional roles in the erotic thriller.



Building chemistry between actors takes time and talent. For the stars of the new erotic thriller Femme, there was plenty of the latter but very little of the former — about a week, to be exact.

Despite their limited time to prepare, George MacKay and Nathan Stewart-Jarrett's onscreen dynamic is the engine driving the film. Written and directed by duo Sam H. Freeman and Ng Choon Ping, Femme follows drag performer Jules (Stewart-Jarrett), who, after being attacked in a hate crime, begins a sexual relationship with his unsuspecting assailant, Preston (MacKay). By seducing his closeted attacker, Jules hopes to get even by outing Preston via a sex tape. But the more time the duo spends together, the harder it becomes for Jules to see Preston only as the object of his revenge fantasies.



Given the complicated nature of their relationship, it was fortunate for everyone involved that the two stars clicked from the start. Ng remembers seeing the actors meet for the first time during a chemistry read and getting “95 percent" of the way there. “That was when we knew this was going to work, and it was just building on the natural chemistry between the two of them,” he explains.

“There's just something about the physicality between them. It’s so delicate, and it sizzles for me,” Freeman adds. "When Nathan came in, he was just the character. His presentation of gender and emotional range, he’s just able to move fluidly through all of that."

With such a short runway, the two actors made sure they spent plenty of time together before filming. On one occasion, MacKay invited his costar over to have dinner and get to know each other. "I just told you everything about my life," Stewart-Jarrett recalls. “I was like, this is what I feel about the world, and these are my problems. I just vomited all over you."

“It was grand,” adds MacKay.

They also bonded on set. “We were just around one another," MacKay continues, joking that "seeing Nathan in costume walking through fittings and stumbling through those big heels" was a highlight. “Not stumbling. Striding beautifully,” MacKay adds, correcting himself. “I could not stand that first time," Stewart-Jarrett admits. "I was like seven feet tall."



Beyond getting to know one another personally, the actors found a strong connection while developing their characters. "We were finding out about our own characters, and those are very intimate conversations," MacKay says. "Within those private conversations, you have insight into what the other one is learning with their own character. There is something in just discussing each other’s character."

The actor also credits intimacy coordinator Robert Taylor with helping him and his costar work through the film's sex scenes. “Our intimacy coordinator was integral to the process because there was a story in the sex [they] have together," MacKay explains. "Working with Robbie on how we told the story and enacted those scenes was as fundamental to the understanding of our journey as anything because of the nature of the intimacy of the acts."

Femme is out in select theaters now, with a wide release set for April 5.

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