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Ewan McGregor Explains Why Intimacy Coordinator For Sex Scenes With His Own Wife Was 'Necessary'

The actor spoke to 'Radio Times' about the importance of having an intimacy coordinator on set while filming sex scenes with his wife, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, in the upcoming Showtime series 'A Gentleman In Moscow.'

Ewan McGregor with wife Mary Elizabeth Winstead
Roy Rochlin/Getty Images for Paramount+ with SHOWTIME

The emergence of intimacy coordinators on Hollywood TV and film sets in recent years has sparked a divisive discussion on the practice, which is meant to ensure the well-being of actors in filming sex scenes.

Venerated British actor Emma Thompson, who defended having intimacy coordinators on set, subtly threw shade at Game of Thrones actor Sean Bean's strong objection to them by saying the actor in question may have "had an intimacy coordinator accidentally at home."

Thompson said intimacy coordinators were "fantastically important," while Bean bemoaned they "spoil the spontaneity" of shooting sex scenes.

Ewan McGregor, who stars in Showtime's upcoming Gentleman In Moscow with his wife, actor Mary Elizabeth Winstead, recently weighed in on the heated topic, expressing his approval of intimacy coaches.

The Obi-Wan Kenobi actor said he and his wife had an intimacy coordinator present during their sex scenes together in their new drama series, even though the couple has been married since April 2022.

Speaking to Radio Times, McGregor stressed the importance of having professional coaches during erotic scenes regardless of the off-screen relationship between actors.

He said:

"It’s still necessary because it’s also about the crew."
“And it’s odd to be naked in front of people, it’s odd to be intimate in front of the camera.”

McGregor said that dancers working with a choreographer were not that dissimilar in the delicately collaborative scenario.

“If you were doing a dance scene, you’d have a choreographer," he said, adding:

"It’s an important part of the work now, because it’s somebody that the director and actors meet in the middle."

McGregor stressed the importance of hiring intimacy coordinators because a young actor, who may be similar in age to his 22-year-old daughter Esther, may struggle with being obligated to film "unnecessary" scenes that make them feel uncomfortable.

He continued:

“My daughter is 22. If an older, famous director goes to a 22-year-old and says, ‘I want you to be naked in this scene,’ that actress might feel, ‘Oh, my God, I’ve got to do it, my career might depend on it.'"
“And then five years after that, she could look back and go, ‘I wish I hadn’t. Why am I naked in that scene? It’s unnecessary.’”

This hesitancy is shared by Argylle star Henry Cavill, who refuses to do sex scenes unless they're absolutely integral to the storyline.

"There's not a performance here," he said on the Happy Sad Confusedpodcast, adding "There's not a piece which is gonna carry through to the rest of the movie.'"

A Gentleman in Moscow is based on Amor Towles’s 2016 novel of the same name.

It takes place in post-Revolutionary Russia, with McGregor playing the fictional protagonist Count Alexander Rostov.

The character is stripped of his title and wealth and placed under lifetime house arrest in the attic of an opulent Moscow hotel, "where, oblivious to the world outside, he discovers the true value of friendship, family, and love,” according to a description.

Winstead portrays Anna Urbanova, described as “a glamorous, independent and self-made film actress, at the height of her fame.”

You can watch the trailer here.

A Gentleman in Moscow | Official Trailer |

The limited series will be released on Paramount+ with Showtime on March 29.