Dame Emma Thompson hails intimacy co-ordinators after Sean Bean comments

Dame Emma Thompson hails intimacy co-ordinators after Sean Bean comments
Dame Emma Thompson said the role of intimacy co-ordinators is ‘fantastically important’ (Ian West/PA)

Dame Emma Thompson has described intimacy co-ordinators on film and TV sets as “fantastically important” after Sean Bean said they could “spoil the spontaneity” of sex scenes.

A number of actresses, including West Side Story star Rachel Zegler, have criticised Bean for his comments, which were made during an interview with The Times published last week.

Intimacy co-ordinators, who are trained to ensure the well-being of actors during sex scenes on-set, have become widespread in the screen industry in recent years.

Appearing on Australian radio station Nova to promote her new film Good Luck To You, Leo Grande, Dame Emma, 63, was asked about Bean’s words.

She said: “Intimacy co-ordinators are fantastically important.

Sean Bean’s comments have been questioned (Ian West/PA)

“You were speaking (about) somebody that found it distracting but (in) another conversation, you might find that people go, ‘It made me comfortable, it made me feel safe, it made me feel as though I was able to do this work’. So intimacy co-ordinators are the most fantastic introduction in our work.

“And no, you can’t just let it flow. There is 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. It’s not a comfortable situation, full stop.”

In Good Luck To You, Leo Grande, Dame Emma plays a retired teacher who hires a 28-year-old male sex worker after the death of her husband.

In an interview with The Times published on Friday, Game Of Thrones and Lord Of The Rings star Bean, 63, said of intimacy co-ordinators: “I should imagine it slows down the thrust of it. Ha, not the thrust, that’s the wrong word. It would spoil the spontaneity.

“It would inhibit me more because it’s drawing attention to things. Somebody saying, ‘Do this, put your hand 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.”

Zegler, 21, was among the actresses who responded to Bean’s comments over the weekend.

She said on Twitter: “Intimacy co-ordinators 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. Wake up.”

The conversation around intimacy co-ordinators has grown since the resurgence of the Me Too movement in 2017 following allegations of sexual abuse levelled at disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein.

High-profile productions such as Normal People, Bridgerton and Sex Education have since used them.

Sean Bean has been contacted for further comment.

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