The romantic drama Carol — starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara — was released in 2015 to critical acclaim and sparked a big conversation on the importance of telling celebratory love stories between women. While promoting the movie, the two actors were constantly asked how they developed their dynamic onscreen chemistry — specifically for their sex scenes.
At BFI London’s Film Festival, Mara explained that chemistry isn’t just something you can rehearse: “It was easy for me to feel chemistry towards Cate not only because, you know, she’s Cate, but [because] my character spent much of the film in awe of this woman and enamored with her — that was very easy for me to embody.” She went on to say that she immediately felt comfortable working with Blanchett while filming their sex scene in the hotel, and that “she’s a very generous actor [who’s] very alive and in the moment.”
Blanchett and Mara’s sex scene was one of the first they filmed for Carol, and they spent two weeks rehearsing before laying everything out on set. Blanchett revealed in a Q&A once the two actors got on set, they learned there were bed bugs in the hotel room — so initially, it was a difficult day shooting in the nude. But, ultimately, Blanchett thought it was a moving experience. “The consummation of their relationship is really important,” Blanchett told BFI London. “We talked about the scene, and there’s a great sense of trust between Rooney and I.”
Blanchett went on to describe how powerful it was to film the love scene with Mara because of how isolated both of their characters were in the film leading up to the moment. She said: “They go through a lot of processing these volcanic feelings independent upon one another, so frankly, it was a relief to do these scenes with Rooney. It’s like: ‘Finally, we get to — you know — be together.'”