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Cynthia Mort on Tell Me You Love Me

Published September 6, 2007 in Television
By Fred Topel | Image property of respective holders.
Tell Me You Love Me Tell Me You Love Me

HBO's new drama Tell Me You Love Me scares me. Dealing with three couples and their sexual issues, it hits way too close to home for me. Whether it's the obsession with kids, the freakouts over engagement or the just plain lack of marital sex, this show looks painful. Creator Cynthia Mort assured me that it would be fun too.

Cynthia Mort on Tell Me You Love Me

"There definitely is a lot of humor," she said. "There's a lot of fun. Dave and Katie, they connect in a lot of ways that couples connect. Not just sexually, not just fighting, not just in intense moments. There is a lot of humor in the show. I mean, I laugh, they laugh so I hope other people laugh."

The network of Sex and the City has never shied away from such issues. Mort, however, would never compare her sex show to that comedy. "First, I think I don't think it's female or male. Not at all. I think that we're dealing with relationships and a lot of male sexuality and female sexuality and male intimacy and female intimacy, so I think we're very different from Sex and the City in every way."

The sex scenes are carefully directed, so well that some suspected there was actual intercourse. That's all part of the magic of filmmaking. "We all discuss it. The director, me, the actors. Not at a roundtable, we'll talk about it, what we're hoping to get from a scene emotionally and how best to achieve that. So we just talk about it. The sex scenes are no more or no less precious than any other scene in the show. They really aren't."

It's not specific choreography that they'll place a leg and a hand where they need it, but there are broader concepts. "We don't get that specific but there is some specificity. There is some detail where [I might say,] 'You should be lying down this time and I think she should be on top. If that's uncomfortable comfortable, I'll switch it around but because of what the scene is about, I think this is the best way to do it.' Then we all, the DP, the director, the actors, we all talk about it. It's gone really smoothly."

Since relationship issues are ongoing, Mort has thought pretty far ahead on the character arcs. "Probably three seasons at the most and I don’t even know what's going to happen. When we sat down in preproduction, I was very clear on where I wanted these characters to go and that did not change. So we are hitting those marks. Now, just as in a relationship what happens in between those marks changes, it changes for us periodically."

Tell Me You Love Me premieres September 9 on HBO.

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Fred Topel
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