Toni Pearen Reveals What A Director Said To Make Her Feel Extremely Uncomfortable

Toni Pearen and Alli Simpson exchanged Hollywood experiences and how the industry has taken strides to make women feel safer on film sets.

Following the reckoning of the Me Too movement several years ago, more and more women have come forward with stories of how they were put in uncomfortable positions or given firsthand accounts of when they were victims of sexual abuse or misconduct.

Speaking of how times have changed, Toni gave the example of her old headshots which she recently discovered.

“I’m in a swimsuit with a pool cue… really suggestive,” she told several of the women in camp. “They had me in a like leopard print leotard and I’m crawling on the ground.

“I thought, as a parent, if that happened to my child now I would not be quiet about it,” Toni continued. “But back then, my parents were oblivious. They just thought that’s the way it is.”

In one shocking instance, Toni revealed that while on location for a shoot a director showed up at her door at midnight to profess his love.

“[He] said, ‘I’m in love with your character. I’m not in love with you but I’m in love with your character and I need to spend time with her.’”

Toni said she told the director he wasn’t “thinking very straight” and sent him on his way home, but the encounter definitely rattled her.

“Sometimes you walk away from an experience going yeah, that didn’t quite feel right. But you’re so young, you just don’t know,” she later said in the Tok Tokkie.

Alli said her own experiences had been vastly different and explained that in the first film she did she was required to shoot a sex scene with an older actor.

“Which was like obviously super intense for me… and the first scene that they wanted to film was the sex scene because they wanted to get it out of the way,” Alli said, “so my first ever scene in any movie ever was this sex scene with a dad, basically.”

Though it was an intense experience for Alli, she also explained how the production made sure all actors felt safe and supported throughout the scene.

“There were so many rules, there was this intimacy coach and she had to sit us both down individually,” Alli continued.

Intimacy coaches and coordinators have become far more common on film and TV sets in recent years, making sure that the actors are comfortable, boundaries are set prior to filming, and assisting in the way intimacy is shot and choreographed.

“We both had to have a safe word,” Alli said, “during the scene if one of us felt uncomfortable you’d say it and they’d cut the scene immediately.” Adding that there were 25-50 steps the actors had to go through in order to shoot the scene, Alli agreed that due to the rise of Me Too and the Times Up movements, more and more productions have put a focus on making sure performers feel safe and secure.

“Some of the other people on set were saying that five to ten years ago there was none of this at all,” Alli said.

Later, in the Tok Tokkie, Toni reflected on how the industry had made some positive changes in the space.

“It’s nice to see that young actors these days are really taking control of the space and using their voice to make changes in a very difficult industry.”

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