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In the film Duck Butter, which earned co-writer and star Alia Shawkat best actress honors at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival, two women who are jaded by the pattern of dishonest relationships make a pact to spend 24 straight hours together, having sex every hour on the hour for a new form of intimacy.
Shawkat, who wrote the script with the film’s director, Miguel Arteta, joined The Hollywood Reporter In Studio, along with co-star Laia Costa, to discuss how the role of a same-sex relationship was important to the script and what it was like filming the multiple sex scenes that occur in the 24-hour period.
Artera told THR that the original script was a bit different from the one that was ultimately used for the movie: “Alia and I wrote a regular script about a relationship between a man and a woman that lasted a year and a half and a friend of ours read it and said, ‘You know that thing that happens in the first 30 pages where they stay up all night having sex every hour on the hour? I wish the whole movie was that,’ and we had one of those moments where we looked at each other and it was like, ‘Let’s just do that.’”
Drawing out the idea of this forced level of intimacy wasn’t the only change that made the script; upon meeting Costa, the writing duo knew she was the one to play the film’s character of Sergio opposite Shawkat’s Naima.
“All of a sudden, the script made so much more sense, but in a way it wasn’t about the gender,” said Shawkat. “It was just about these two people, which is what I clarified more by having it be two women. But it’s interesting, there’s just not as much content out there for same-sex relationships or that the definitive point of the story is about the fact that they’re same-sex.”
When it came to filming the multiple sex scenes, Shawkat spoke on the importance of how they were shot and what each session represents to the characters.
“It wasn’t just about sex — like sex never is. It’s really about where the characters are at,” she said. “It was important the way it’s shot, that it was between Laia and I and make it seem as like nobody else is there and just so it felt really safe.”
Duck Butter is available now on VOD.
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