Martin Freeman defends age gap with Jenna Ortega in risqué new film Miller’s Girl

Martin Freeman in a white shirt, patterned tie, green blazer, at a Black Panther event (left) and Jenna Ortega in dark eye makeup and a black veil for the Wednesday premiere (right).

Sherlock actor Martin Freeman has addressed the controversy surrounding his new film Miller’s Girl, and the 31-year age gap between him and co-star, Jenna Ortega.

In the steamy erotic thriller, Freeman plays Jonathan Albert Miller, a creative writing teacher who is seduced by his 18-year-old student Cairo Sweet (played by Wednesday star Ortega).

The risqué film sees Cairo attempt to begin an affair with Jonathan, in order to write an erotic story about the experience for a college admissions test. In one scene, Cairo dons a provocative dress to entice and kiss Jonathan, while another depicts Jonathan masturbating to Cairo’s salacious story.

After the trailer dropped in December and a kissing scene between the pair was posted on social media, Ortega’s fans reacted in droves, with some finding the steamy interaction “hot”, and others voicing their shock and discomfort.

Some fans appeared particularly astounded by the scene considering the age gap between Freeman and Ortega; Freeman is 52 and Ortega is 21.

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Now, The Hobbit actor Freeman has addressed the controversy, and suggested that some stories are unfairly criticised simply for tackling difficult topics.

Speaking to The Sunday Times, Freeman described Miller’s Girl as “grown-up and nuanced” rather than the obscene tale some social media users are making it out to be.

“It’s not saying, ‘Isn’t this great,'” he said, adding that it’s “a shame” that some stories are tainted purely for being associated with complex subjects.

Referencing the 1993 multi Oscar-winning film Schindler’s List, Freeman continued: “Are we gonna have a go at Liam Neeson for being in a film about the Holocaust?”

Earlier this year, the film’s intimacy co-ordinator Kristina Arjona insisted that Ortega was “comfortable” and “very sure” of the scenes she wanted to create.

Scene shows Martin Freeman pressing his face against Jenna Ortega's
Fans have described the intimate scene as “gross” due to the 31-year age gap (Lionsgate)

Miller’s Girl, which has a less than glowing approval rating of 42 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes, is written and directed by Jade Halley Bartlett. It also stars Top Gun: Maverick actor Bashir Salahuddin as Boris Fillmore, Cairo’s gym teacher and Jonathan’s best friend, and Batman: The Doom That Came to Gotham actress Gideon Adlon as Cairo’s best friend, Winnie.

In addition to the racy scenes between Jenna Ortega and Martin Freeman, viewers of Miller’s Girl have also expressed their dismay at a lesbian kiss scene between Ortega and Adlon’s characters, Cairo and Winnie.

Cairo is aware that Winnie is attracted to her, and takes advantage of the fact, convincing Winnie to send inappropriate photos of them to Boris. After doing so, they undress and kiss – leaving viewers stunned.

Miller’s Girl is currently available to buy on streaming services including Prime Video and Apple TV.