Having an intimacy coordinator on set is quickly becoming a common sense practice in Hollywood, but the idea to have an intermediary present for scenes involving sex, nudity, and similarly sensitive acts is still quite new. So new, in fact, that some older actors have reacted negatively to the idea, including Game Of Thrones’ Sean Bean, who argued intimacy coordinators “spoil the spontaneity” of a scene.
In a new interview with Deadline, Miriam Lucia, the intimacy coordinator on House Of The Dragon, tried to clear up some misconceptions about the job for Bean. She praised him as a performer, but noted, “I just think he is a man of a certain age, who has been in this industry for a very long time, and he doesn’t have an experience of the other side. Or maybe he’s had a bad experience of working with an intimacy coordinator. All I would say is that in my experience so far, I don’t think it gets in the way of the creative process.”
She went on, “I think it helps to enable the creative process, because I think once you’ve worked out what the actors are comfortable with in terms of touch and consent, and what the movements are going to be, then you add the emotion to it. And then you find the freedom, because you’re not scrambling and fumbling and trying to find it there and then in the moment.”
Lucia, who is an actor as well as a coach, mused, “I think of the spontaneity as what we do as actors. We have to pretend that we have never done this before. We have to suggest that everything is spontaneous. You have a script, so you don’t come out with these words spontaneously. You have to work on it so that it appears to be spontaneous. That’s where it doesn’t make sense to me, what he said.”
Lucia was, however, generous in noting she understood “why he said that,” particularly because having an intimacy coordinator “is a new function on sets.” Elsewhere in the interview, she delves further into her process, explaining, “[Often] my work has been done beforehand behind the scenes, talking to the director, the producer, the actors, even lawyers if necessary, in terms of waivers and things that need to happen. And if there’s an issue or a change, or something becomes physically uncomfortable, or mentally uncomfortable, we shift it, but at that point, the work has largely been done, and hopefully it’s seamless.”
The full conversation is a fascinating insight into an evolving role from a professional who has worked on a wide range of productions, including Industry, The Nevers, The White Lotus’ second season, and Emerald Fennell’s upcoming feature Saltburn. If you, like Sean Bean, are a little unclear on why an intimacy coordinator is useful, check out the interview for yourself here.