Martin Freeman defends age gap with Jenna Ortega in 'nuanced' erotic thriller “Miller's Girl”

"It's not saying, 'Isn't this great,'" Freeman says of the student-teacher affair at the center of the film.

When the trailer for the erotic thriller Miller's Girl dropped in December, some viewers expressed discomfort over the depiction of an affair between a teacher played by Martin Freeman and a student played by Jenna Ortega — an actress 31 years his junior.

Now Freeman is addressing the controversy and defending the film as "grown-up and nuanced."

In an interview with The Sunday Times, the British actor, 52, said that the film is not intended to glamorize the relationship between his and Ortega's characters. "It's not saying, 'Isn't this great,'" Freeman said. Musing that stories about difficult subjects can be tainted by association, he added, "And that's a shame."

He then invoked Schindler's List and said, "Are we gonna have a go at Liam Neeson for being in a film about the Holocaust?"

<p>Zak Popik/Lionsgate (2)</p> Martin Freeman and Jenna Ortega in 'Miller's Girl'

Zak Popik/Lionsgate (2)

Martin Freeman and Jenna Ortega in 'Miller's Girl'

Written and directed by Jade Halley Bartlett and released in January, Miller's Girl stars Ortega, 21, as 18-year-old Cairo Sweet, a high school senior who seduces her creative writing teacher (Freeman) as fodder for a college admissions essay.

Back in February, the film's intimacy coordinator, Kristina Arjona, said Ortega was "comfortable" with the material and actively involved with the execution.

"There was many, many people throughout this process, engaging with [Ortega] to make sure that it was consistent with what she was comfortable with, and she was very determined and very sure of what she wanted to do," Arjona told the Daily Mail. "I'm hyper aware of both of my talent and making sure that we're consistently checking in and that at no point are any of their boundaries being surpassed."

Freeman can next be seen in season 2 of the BBC police drama The Responder, while Ortega's upcoming projects include Wednesday season 2 and Beetlejuice Beetlejuice.

Want more movie news? Sign up for Entertainment Weekly's free newsletter to get the latest trailers, celebrity interviews, film reviews, and more.

Related content:

Read the original article on Entertainment Weekly.