Intimacy coordinators are screen stars' new BFFs. But what do they actually do?

ロンドン Michaela Coel has used her acceptance speech at the 2021 BAFTA Television awards to shine a light on some of the new heroes of the film and TV industry: intimacy coordinators.

The 33-year-old British actress wrote, co-directed and starred inI May Destroy You,” a 12-part drama about a young writer seeking to rebuild her life after being sexually assaulted.
At Sunday’s ceremony, the critically acclaimed HBO series won the award for Best Mini-Series, with Coel also taking home the Best Leading Actress gong.
    Michaela Coel created and stars in "I May Destroy You," a 12-part drama about a woman attempting to come to terms with a sexual assault.

    In her acceptance speech, Coel paid tribute to the show’s director of intimacy, Ita O’Brien, crediting her with making it possible to shoot the series, which deals with themes of consent, assault and trauma.
      Thank you for your existence in our industry, for making the space safe, for creating physical, emotional and professional boundaries so that we can make work about exploitation, loss of respect, about abuse of power without being exploited or abused in the process,” Coel said.
        O’Brien, author ofIntimacy on Set Guidelines a best-practice guide to approaching simulated sex and nudityalso worked on hit shows includingNormal People,” “Sex Education” そして “Gangs of London”.

        What is an intimacy coordinator?

          The role of the intimacy coordinator is to support the actor in any intimate action on set, such as contact kissing, physical touch, and simulated sex. They often plan, choreograph and liaise with actors and the production team to ensure that those in front of, and behind, the camera feel safe and comfortable with every aspect and stage of the process.
          There are several training organizations across the world, including Intimacy Directors and Coordinators in the US and Intimacy for Stage and Screen (formally IDI-UK) in the UK.
          And in April this year, the Screen Actors GuildAmerican Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) announced plans to launch a registry and provide accreditation for intimacy coordinator training programs, in a bid to create an industry standard for the role.
          O’Brien told CNN in an email that intimacy coordinators must possess an in-depth knowledge of the actor-director process, understand power dynamics and need to be trained in pedagogy and intimacy coordination for theater and film.
          They need tohave body and choreographic skills and body awareness and anatomy so they can bring clarity to the physical dance,” 彼女は説明した.
          On completion of the basic training, they enter a mentorship program that allows them to put their training into practice in the profession before gaining accreditation.

          Why have studios started using them?

          The #MeToo movement and increased awareness of abuses of power in film and TV has created demand for intimacy coordinators on set.
          ザ・ Harvey Weinstein scandal and other incidents of sexual misconduct exposed an industry in which actorsboundaries were often ignored and where there was rampant misconduct both on and off screen.
          SAG-AFTRA said in October 2020 that it had been working to createsafer working conditions for members and the industry as a wholein the years since the actions of Weinsteinone of the most powerful people in the entertainment industrycame to light.
          O’Brien said she believes therole of the Intimacy Coordinator is key for protecting artists in the creation of intimate content.
          She told CNN: “Our process ensures a safe and professional structure is created, with open communication and consent agreed at all times, within which everyone can bring the best of their professional acting skills to the scene.

          Creating a safe space

          In a recent interview with CNN, Elizabeth Talbot, the intimacy coordinator on the wildly popular Netflix seriesBridgerton,” said anintimacy riderspells out exactly what an actor is willing to do in a scene.
          With the concept of consent that we work with, もちろん, if there’s anything where at any point anyone’s like, 'ああ, ええと, I don’t want to do this,’ they never will,” 彼女は言いました. “And it’s also my job to step in front of any director or producer and be like, 「ねえ, ええと, like they’re not comfortable with this.I’ve been really lucky to work with great directors and producers so that’s never happened.
          Bridgerton star Phoebe Dynevor told Grazia magazine she felt "安全&amquotot; having an intimacy coordinator on set when she filmed sex scenes.

          Bridgerton” 鉛 Phoebe Dynevor, who plays Daphne Bridgerton, told Grazia magazine in January this year that she felt “安全” having Talbot on set when she filmed a graphic sex scene.
            It was so great, because it felt safe and fun: you choreograph it like a stunt, or a dance,” 彼女は言いました.
            It’s crazy to me that (an intimacy coordinator) hasn’t been there in the past,” Dynevor said. “I’ve done sex scenes before that I can’t believe I did: it was only five or six years ago, but it would not be allowed now.

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