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Emma Thompson Calls Intimacy Coordinators 'Fantastically Important' While Dragging Sean Bean

Emma Thompson Calls Intimacy Coordinators 'Fantastically Important' While Dragging Sean Bean
Mark Sagliocco/WireImage; Mike Coppola/FilmMagic

Venerated British actress Emma Thompson defended the presence of intimacy coordinators during the filming of erotic scenes in movies while she was promoting her sex-positive comedy-drama film, Good Luck to You, Leo Grande.

During an interview on the Australian radio show, Fitzy & Wippa, Thompson was asked about her opinion on Game of Thrones actor Sean Bean's objection to intimacy coordinators.

Bean had said in an interview that they "spoil the spontaneity" of shooting sex scenes.

Intimacy coordinators advocate for and ensure actors are comfortable when filming intimate scenes and that any bit of contact between actors are consensual.

The recent trend of their hiring was in response to the #MeToo movement, a long overdue reckoning that exposed Hollywood's dark history of sexual harassment and assault cases during many TV and film productions that had previously been swept under the rug.

But Bean, who played Ned Stark in the HBO fantasy series strongly bemoaned the hiring of intimacy coordinators.

The 63-year-old British Academy Television Award winner told the UK's Times magazine that having an intimacy coordinator “would inhibit me more because it’s drawing attention to things.”

He continued:

“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."

“I think the natural way lovers behave would be ruined by someone bringing it right down to a technical exercise," he added.

In Thompson's interview, one of the radio hosts asked:

“Emma, I wanted to bring this up because I read it during the week, quite timely, but for the more intimate scenes that you guys had to do in the film, it was Sean Bean, who was Ned Stark in ‘Game of Thrones’ and he said he didn’t really appreciate the work of the intimacy coordinator because he said that it spoilt the spontaneity."
“So is that how you found it? Did you guys have an intimacy coordinator there on set advising you what to do in these scenes?”

Thompson replied by saying "intimacy coordinators are fantastically important," and she appeared to have either missed the host's mention of Bean or didn't recognize him while continuing with her response.

“I don’t know [if] you were speaking to somebody who found it distracting but another conversation you might find people go, ‘It made me comfortable, it made me feel safe, it made me feel as though I was able to do this work.'”

The Oscar-winning actress continued:

“So intimacy coordinators are the most fantastic introduction in our 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.”
“So I don’t know who the actor was but maybe he had an intimacy coordinator accidentally at home.”

In Good Luck to You, Leo Grande, Thompson plays a retired widow who hires the titular sex worker, played by Daryl McCormack, in the hopes of stimulating her largely repressed life.

According to Variety, McCormack said a private rehearsal was arranged instead of hiring an intimacy coordinator–a role which the 29-year-old Irish actor said was "really important."

He added that while "their work is so valuable and so useful and needed," he and Thompson were able to find and establish a connection on their own while exploring what would best serve the relationship between the characters.

"It felt real exciting to us to actually build that ourselves with the director," said McCormack.

Good Luck to You, Leo Grande was released in UK theaters and is currently streaming in the US, exclusively on Hulu.