Martin Freeman Reacts to Outrage Over ‘Miller’s Girl’ 31-Year Age Gap With Jenna Ortega: The Film Is ‘Grown Up and Nuanced’ and Not Saying ‘Isn’t This Great?’

Martin Freeman recently spoke to The Times of London about the backlash that erupted over his movie “Miller’s Girl” earlier this year. The erotic thriller opened in theaters in January and caused a stir on social media due to intimate scenes between Freeman and his co-star Jenna Ortega. The movie casts the “Wednesday” favorite as an 18-year-old student who is attracted to her writing teacher (Freeman) and attempts to start an affair with him. Freeman is 31 years older than Ortega.

While some viewers were disturbed by the age gap between the actors and how the film required them to shoot some intimate moments together, Freeman stressed to The Times that “Miller’s Girl” is “grown-up and nuanced.” He also argued that just because the film shows the makings of a potential affair starting between characters who are 31 years apart doesn’t mean it is condoning such behavior.

More from Variety

“It’s not saying, ‘Isn’t this great?’” Freeman said while calling it “a shame” how stories about difficult subject matters can often be tainted by public opinion. He then cited Liam Neeson in Steven Spielberg’s 1993 Holocaust drama “Schindler’s List” as an example of how taking on a role doesn’t necessarily mean an actor is automatically endorsing the subject matter.

“Are we going to have a go at Liam Neeson for being in a film about the Holocaust?” Freeman asked.

After “Miller’s Girl” opened in theaters, the Daily Mail published a viral interview with the movie’s intimacy coordinator Kristina Arjona. She stressed the actors were never put in an uncomfortable situation on set while filming the movie’s more racy scenes.

“There was many, many people throughout this process, engaging with (Jenna) 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 said at the time, adding, “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.”

Arjona added that she had many discussions on the “level of nudity” with Ortega and Freeman and said she spoke to them about “different variations of how they wanted to shoot these scenes so that audiences could watch them at test screenings to see what was too much.”

“Miller’s Girl” is now streaming on Netflix.

Best of Variety

Sign up for Variety’s Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.