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Martin Freeman Compares ‘Miller’s Girl’ Age Gap Controversy With Jenna Ortega to ‘Schindler’s List’

Martin Freeman Compares Miller s Girl Age Gap Controversy With Jenna Ortega to Schindler s List 351
Martin Freeman, Jenna Ortega. Zac Popik/Lionsgate (2)

Martin Freeman finally addressed the overwhelming backlash over his Miller’s Girl sex scene with Jenna Ortega — who is 30 years his junior — by standing by the story line.

Freeman, 52, referred to the film as “grown-up and nuanced,” telling U.K outlet The Times on Saturday, April 27, “It’s not saying, ‘Isn’t this great?'”

While calling the negative feedback against Miller’s Girl “a shame,” Freeman questioned the response to films that tackle challenging topics.

“Are we gonna have a go at Liam Neeson for being in a film about the Holocaust?” he asked in reference to Neeson’s role as Oskar Schindler in the 1993 historical drama Schindler’s List.

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Miller’s Girl, which was released in January, featured a student-teacher romance between Ortega, 21, and Freeman’s characters. Before the film’s debut, viewers questioned how Miller’s Girl might romanticize a relationship between an underage girl and a man who is in his 50s. The movie continued to receive backlash when clips went viral on social media showing a sexual moment between the characters.

Intimacy coordinator Kristina Arjona defended the scene, telling the Daily Mail that same month, “There [were] many, many people throughout this process engaging with [Jenna] to make sure that it was consistent with what she was comfortable with, and she was very determined and very sure of what she wanted to do.”

Martin Freeman Compares Miller s Girl Age Gap Controversy With Jenna Ortega to Schindler s List 352

Arjona claimed Ortega took part in discussions about NSFW scenes.

“Part of my job too is supporting her decisions. I adapt to whatever is the comfort level of my actors, especially on a production like this where there is a large age gap between the actors,” she continued. “I’m hyper aware of both of my talent and making sure that we’re consistently checking in and that at no point are any of their boundaries being surpassed. And, again, making sure — especially with someone who’s significantly younger — that they are giving continuous consent.”

After the controversy, Deadline reported that SAG-AFTRA updated their guidelines for the use of intimacy coordinators. The actors guild specifically rolled out stricter rules in February about confidentiality, which meant any intimacy coordinator who does not adhere to the required standards could be removed from SAG-AFTRA’s registry.

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“Intimacy coordinators are a crucial resource on any set to ensure the protection of our members working in intimate scenes,” a SAG-AFTRA spokesperson said in a February statement. “Intimacy coordinators should maintain the confidentiality of an actor’s work and experience in performing highly sensitive scenes unless they have the actor’s permission to publicly share this information.”

Martin Freeman Compares Miller s Girl Age Gap Controversy With Jenna Ortega to Schindler s List 353
Zac Popik/Lionsgate

The statement continued: “The public release of details about an actor’s scene work or confidences entrusted to the intimacy coordinator without the performer’s consent is unacceptable.”

The new restrictions stated an intimacy coordinator can speak about movie or TV scenes that were filmed in the event that law enforcement is involved or with distinct permission from the actors and production. Deadline noted that Lionsgate and Ortega had no comment on how the recent controversy around Miller’s Girl allegedly played a role in SAG-AFTRA’s increased confidentiality measures.

Ortega has not publicly addressed the controversy around Miller’s Girl.

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