Dame Emma Thompson defends intimacy co-coordinators after Sean Bean remarks

- BBC News

Dame Emma Thompson defends intimacy co-coordinators after Sean Bean remarks

Dame Emma Thompson has defended the use of intimacy co-ordinators on film and TV sets after Sean Bean said they "spoil the spontaneity" of sex scenes.

A string of actresses, also including West Side Storys Rachel Zegler, have criticised Beans comments.

The use of intimacy co-ordinators, who choreograph intimate scenes, has become widespread in recent years.

Speaking to Fitzy & Wippa on Australian radio station Nova, Dame Emma said they were "fantastically important".

She said many performers would agree. "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."

Specialist intimacy co-ordinators were "the most fantastic" additions to sets, according to the English actress, who recently played a widow in search of sexual fulfilment in the movie Good Luck To You, Leo Grande.

"And no, you cant just let it flow," she said. "Theres a camera there and a crew. Youre not on your own in a hotel room, youre surrounded by a bunch of blokes, mostly. So its not a comfortable situation full stop."

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Speaking to The Times last week, Bean said he had reservations about the new way of working. "It would inhibit me more because its drawing attention to things. Somebody saying: Do this, put your hands there, while you touch his thing.

"I think the natural way lovers behave would be ruined by someone bringing it right down to a technical exercise," added the 63-year-old Game of Thrones actor.

He compared the modern methods with shooting the 1993 TV adaptation of Lady Chatterleys Lover opposite Joely Richardson.

"Lady Chatterley was spontaneous," Bean said. "It was a joy. We had a good chemistry between us, and we knew what we were doing was unusual. Because she was married, I was married.

"But we were following the story. We were trying to portray the truth of what DH Lawrence wrote."

Responding to his comments, Zegler said on Twitter that intimacy co-ordinators "establish an environment of safety for actors" and that "spontaneity in intimate scenes can be unsafe".

She said the one who worked with her on Steven Spielbergs recent remake of West Side Story "showed grace to a newcomer like myself [plus] educated those around me whove had years of experience".

Jameela Jamil, star of The Good Place, offered: "It should only be technical. Its like a stunt. Our job as actors is to make it not look technical. Nobody wants an impromptu grope."

In the same interview, Bean said he had been sad to see a scene with Snowpiercer co-star Lena Hall, which he said was "trying to push the boundaries", be "censored" after it was cut from the final edit, and that she "had a musical cabaret background, so she was up for anything".

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In response, Hall, who made it clear she had felt entirely at ease acting alongside Bean, said: "Just because I am in theatre (not cabaret, but I do perform them every once in a while) does not mean that I am up for anything.

"If I feel comfortable with my scene partner and with others in the room then I wont need an intimacy co-ordinator. But if there is any part of me that is feeling weird, gross, over exposed etc… I will either challenge the necessity of the scene or Ill want an IC."

She went on to say intimacy co-ordinators were "a welcome addition to the set and [I] think they could also help with the trauma experienced in other scenes".

"Sometimes you need [them], sometimes you dont, but every single person and scene and experience is different."

The Bectu entertainment union also issued a statement saying it found Beans comments about intimacy co-ordinators "disappointing" from "such a screen favourite and established actor".

Bectu head Philippa Childs said: "Intimacy co-ordination provides vital support for artists during the preparation, rehearsal and shooting of intimate action and its increasing use is a welcome move to further establish an environment of safety for actors on set.

"These comments display a disservice to intimacy co-ordinators and to the knowledge and contributions of the trained, skilled professionals our members who carry out this work are."

Read it all at BBC News