“Nobody wants an impromptu grope.”
Film sets are supposed to be a safe space for both cast and crew and that’s especially true when intimate scenes are involved. While getting up close and personal with a co-star can be intimidating, there are now people whose job on set is to solely make sure that everyone is comfortable at all times. These intimacy coordinators are specifically there to make sure sex scenes are conducted in a respectful manner to all those involved and to protect actors in moments they may feel uncertain.
Over the past few years, the introduction of these new crew members has been widely praised and the use of intimacy coordinators is now highly recommended on all sets.
Find out what these celebs had to say about intimacy coordinators…
Emma Thompson Says Intimacy Coordinators Help Actors Feel Safe: 'You Can't Just Let It Flow'
1. Rachel Zegler
Following comments from Sean Bean “West Side Story” star Rachel Zegler spoke out in support of intimacy coordinators, tweeting that they had made her feel safe and comfortable while working on scenes on the film’s set.
“intimacy coordinators establish an environment of safety for actors. i was extremely grateful for the one we had on ‘WSS’ — they showed grace to a newcomer like myself + educated those around me who’ve had years of experience. spontaneity in intimate scenes can be unsafe,” Rachel wrote.
2. Emma Thompson
Emma Thompson also responded to Sean’s comments, sharing that she believed intimacy coordinators were “fantastically important” and that many performers could speak in favor of their positive presence.
“You might find that people go, ‘It made me feel comfortable, it made me feel safe, it made me feel as though I was able to do this work.’ And no, you can’t just let it flow. There’s a camera there and a crew. You’re not on your own in a hotel room, you’re surrounded by a bunch of blokes, mostly. So it’s not a comfortable situation full stop,” Emma said on the Australian radio station, Nova.
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3. Jameela Jamil
Jameela Jamil has spoken out in support of intimacy coordinators, explaining that she believes sex scenes should be filmed like a stunt and it is actors jobs to make it look natural, despite being planned out.
“It should only be technical. It’s like a stunt. Our job as actors is to make it not look technical. Nobody wants an impromptu grope…” Jameela wrote on Twitter.
4. Phoebe Dynevor
Phoebe Dynevor commended the use of an intimacy coordinator on the set of “Bridgerton,” where she often had to film intimate scenes with her co-star Regé-Jean Page. She says working with coordinator Lizzy Talbot made the whole experience feel “so safe,” especially knowing that “if something went wrong or the director wanted something different, he could speak to her first.”
“We did the intimate scenes like stunts — we blocked them out, so you have yoga balls in between you and all sorts of things that never make you feel exposed in any way. You always feel safe. I’d rehearse with Regé [-Jean Page] so much that we both knew what we were doing. It felt very practical…I think it would have been a very difficult experience if Lizzy hadn’t been on set protecting me and looking after me,” Phoebe told Glamour.
Sean Bean Believes Intimacy Coordinators 'Spoil the Spontaneity' of Filming Sex Scenes
5. Amanda Seyfried
Amanda Seyfried is a big supporter of intimacy coordinators and she wishes that they had been around when she was a young actress. Although she came out “pretty unscathed” from acting as a teenager, she admits the things she was asked to do on sets put her in an uncomfortable position.
“Being 19, I’m walking around without my underwear – like, are you kidding me? How did I let that happen? Oh, I know why: I was 19, and I didn’t want to bother anyone and wanted to keep my job. That’s why,” Amanda told Porter Magazine.
6. Sydney Sweeney
Sydney Sweeney has worked with intimacy coordinators on several projects, including “Euphoria” and “The Voyeurs.” She says having someone there to “advocate for your voice” changed everything for her, as they’re there to “make sure that everything is choreographed and everyone is okay and comfortable with what is happening.”
“I had my first intimacy coordinator on ‘Euphoria,’ and it changed my approach to everything. I love having one and I think they should be considered a necessity on every set. I actually brought my intimacy coordinator, Amanda Blumenthal, onto my Amazon movie, ‘The Voyeurs.’ I wish that more productions were aware of this and we made it a priority,” Sydney told RogertEbert.com.
Game of Thrones' Gemma Whelan Says Sex Scenes Were ‘Frenzied Mess,’ No Intimacy Coordinator
7. Michaela Coel
Michaela Coel showed her appreciation for intimacy coordinators during her acceptance speech at the Television BAFTA Awards, dedicating the win to Etta O’Brien, whom she worked with on the set of “I May Destroy You.”
“Thank you for being in our industry, for making the space safe, and for creating physical, emotional, and occupational boundaries so we can work around exploitation, loss of respect, and abuse of power without being exploited or abused in the process. I know what it is like to shoot without an intimacy director. The messy, embarrassing feeling for the crew. The internal devastation for the actor. Your direction was essential to my show and I believe essential for every production company that wants to make work exploring themes of consent,” Coel said in her speech.
8. Kate Winslet
Kate Winslet never had an intimacy coordinator as a young actress and believes having one on set is an incredible asset to any production. She explained that it helps everyone on set communicate effectively, allowing the director to share what they want from a scene and an actor to share what they’re comfortable with.
“Now, when I was younger, I never had a single person like that. And it’s quite scary and intimidating to be a young person and to find it uncomfortable to even say certain words, be they intimate or a sexual nature. Just making those words come out of your mouth when you’re young can be really awkward,” Kate said in an interview with BBC Radio 4’s “Today” program.
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9. Rahul Kohli
“The Haunting” actor Rahul Kohli also spoke out following Sean Bean’s remarks and as someone who has worked with intimacy coordinators on several occasions, he says they are “essential” for protecting the safety of everyone on set.
“I’ve worked with a few intimacy coordinators now, and while ever so slightly embarrassing at first, are essential for protecting our safety, making us comfortable, and opening up constructive dialogue between the actors and director when scenes call for ‘intimacy.’ At 36, I’m still uncomfortable with my body and the social anxiety/awkwardness of scenes that call for nudity/lovemaking etc. I can only imagine just how terrifying it is for younger actors, and I’m glad we now have a system in place to protect them,” he tweeted.
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10. Jonathan Bailey
“Bridgerton” star Jonathan Bailey has also shared his gratitude for the show’s coordinator Lizzy Talbot, like his castmate Phoebe Dynevor. He explained that there are major advancements being made to protect actors filming intimate scenes — and there were even improvements between season one and two of the show.
“It’s amazing how that whole industry has just come on, even in a year. There are new tricks to the trade [like] little cushions. If there are two people doing a sex scene, the rule is they must have three barriers separating them. And there are certain acts where a half-inflated netball can allow for movement without having to connect physically,” Jonathan told Radio Times.
11. Daisy Edgar-Jones
While Daisy Edgar-Jones was working on “Normal People,” she says the cast used intimacy coordinators that made preparing for sex scenes feel like a fight scene.
“You need more protection because it is a stunt, with physical maneuvers that you need to make look realistic — just like in a fight scene,” she told Net-a-Porter.
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