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What are on-set intimacy coordinators and why are actresses like Amanda Seyfried in favor of them?

Amanda Seyfried wishes she had intimacy coordinators on set when she was younger. What are intimacy coordinators?

Amanda Seyfried wishes she had intimacy coordinators on set when she was younger. What are intimacy coordinators?

Intimacy coordinators are a relatively new implementation on Hollywood sets during sex and nude scenes that started post-MeToo era.

Their roles as facilitators is to act as a liaison between actors and production to ensure safety and comfort for performers during nudity, simulated sex and other intimate and hyper-exposed scenes.

Since their enactment, actors have debated whether the intimacy coordinators benefit the on-set intimacy, or if they asphyxiate artistic expression.

Emmy-nominated actress, Amanda Seyfried, expressed in an interview on Monday that she wished intimacy coordinators were required in her earlier years of acting. More on that below.

What are on-set intimacy coordinators?

Intimacy coordinators are hired for scenes involving nudity or simulated sex or upon request for other intimate scenes. As facilitators, the Screen Actors Guild released in January 2020 that the coordinators’ roles involved:

  • Meeting with the executive producer/writer and director to determine degree of nudity and specifics of simulated sex.
  • Meeting one-on-one with performers before rehearsal and filming of an intimate scene.
  • Ensuring continued consent throughout rehearsals and filming.
  • Reviewing nudity riders, scene content, modesty garments and barriers with performers, directors and assistant directors.
  • Verifying that a final cut is consistent with contractual obligations

Why is Amanda Seyfried in favor of intimacy coordinators?

The 36-year-old actress who was nominated for her portrayal of disgraced entrepreneur Elizabeth Holmes, described in an interview by Net-a-porter coming under pressure and having to appear in nude scenes when she was just 19 years old.

Seyfried said: “Being 19, walking around without my underwear on -- like, are you kidding me? How did I let that happen?... Oh, I know why: I was 19 and I didn’t want to upset anybody, and I wanted to keep my job. That’s why.”

Seyfried also said she now enjoys respect on a “level that I have never felt so fully around me.”

Other actors have also spoken up following Seyfried’s comments, with some defending the role of on-set intimacy coordinators, and others criticizing them.

Actors against and in favor of intimacy coordinators

The “Game of Thrones” actor, Sean Bean, spiked a broader discussion of intimacy coordinators this week when he told the London Times that they “can spoil the spontaneity.” Bean said that bringing some natural scenes down to a “technical exercise” would spoil those scenes, and suggested that having safety on-set would depend on the actress. Speaking of Llena Hall, he thought she was okay without it.

In response to Bean, Hall posted a long Tweet that indicated Bean “made me feel not only comfortable but also like I had a true acting partner in those bizarre scenes.” Hall, however, acknowledged the benefit of intimacy coordinators:

On the other hand, Rachel Zegler, who played Maria in Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story” last year, shared a quick criticism of Bean’s opinion, saying that “spontaneity in intimate scenes can be unsafe.”