Erotic finance thriller Fair Play starts with a period sex scene, one featuring Phoebe Dynevor’s character Emily hooking up with her fiancé Luke (played by Alden Ehrenreich) at a wedding. Period blood is shown all over her pale pink dress and Luke’s mouth, but is treated like normal bodily fluid. There’s no disgust, no shock, just steamy intimacy going forward, as it does in real life.
Phoebe Dynevor applauded that tone-setting approach by Fair Play’s female director Chloe Domont in her ELLE cover story interview.
As Dynevor put it, had the sex scene been done by male directors, it wouldn’t have happened like that. They would say, “‘Why would we do that? That’s not sexy’—that’s what they would think,” she said. “But it draws you in and you know that this isn’t going to be your average film. When you see a film like this, it really pushes you to want to create more and put more female influence out into the world. We as women know these things happen all the time, but why are we not seeing it on our screens?”
Dynevor connected deeply to her character Emily, calling her experiences with sexism in and out of work something she and every woman has faced to some degree. For plot context, Emily is secretly engaged to Luke, her co-worker at a competitive hedge fund. She gets a surprise promotion, which causes issues in their relationship outside of work.
Dynevor confessed that the part she related to most was how much Emily cared about Luke’s feelings: “Emily is really trying to make herself small to make him feel masculine,” she said. “And I saw so much of myself in her for that reason—really going above and beyond to protect his fragile ego.”
She said she has done it in her own life, too, “but I’m getting toward 30 now and the opposite is happening, where I’m trying not to do that anymore, and it’s a very nice feeling. As you age, you get a wider perspective on things. You start to understand your purpose more.”
Senior News and Strategy Editor
Alyssa Bailey is the senior news and strategy editor at ELLE.com, where she oversees coverage of celebrities and royals (particularly Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton). She previously held positions at InStyle and Cosmopolitan. When she’s not working, she loves running around Central Park, making people take #ootd pics of her, and exploring New York City.