Today in “Jesus, Who Asked?” Game of Thrones and Lord Of The Rings star Sean Bean decided to throw the advertising campaigns of two massive tv shows under the bus by sharing his awful opinion on intimacy coordinators.
per Varietybean awning The UK Times of his frustrations, claiming that intimacy coordinators “inhibit” him because they’re always “drawing attention to things.” Apparently, Bean finds it artistically stifling to have “someone” tell him “Put your hands there, while you touch his thing.” While we’re sure that Bean doesn’t want his scripted sex scenes to be a free-for-all, his description sounds a lot like the relationship between actor and director, a partnership in which the director tells the actor to do something and then the actor does their best to do that task. The Laurence Olivier technique of “try acting” is, after all, still on the table.
No one wants to feel uncomfortable at work, particularly actors. Mining the depths of humanity to express the truth and beauty in the world can be taxing, so some actors prefer to do this through performance, trusting that the rest of the production to do their part and help sell the reality of a given scene. Others just wish the zebras would take a day off and let them get down to the business of touching someone inappropriately. Film productions invite intimacy coordinators into the process as a mediator, allowing actors to express their concerns while providing a safe and comfortable guide through uncomfortable scenes.
Bean did bring up Lady Chatterley’s Loverthe DH Lawrence adaptation he made with arthouse hero and transgressive icon Ken Russell in 1993. “I think the natural way lovers behave would be ruined by someone bringing it right down to a technical exercise.” And what is the natural ways lovers behave? Is that the same for everyone? Wouldn’t it be great to have someone who can help actors answer such questions on set so they aren’t needlessly grabbing each other’s things?
“lady chatterly was spontaneous,” Bean said in his interview with the UK’s Times Magazine. “It was a joy. We had a good chemistry between us, and we knew what we were doing was unusual. Because she was married, I was married. But we were following the story. We were trying to portray the truth of what DH Lawrence wrote.” We can only assume that they just stripped off their clothes and went for it on set without a word of direction from Ken Russell. No direction, just vibes.
But we digress; surelythere’s a level-headed 21-year-old with a clear perspective on the matter. Say, the Rachel Zegler type. She seems to have a pretty good head on her shoulders. And wouldn’t you know it, she does!
“Intimacy coordinators establish an environment of safety for actors,” Zegler tweeted. “I was extremely grateful for the one we had on [West Side Story]—they showed grace to a newcomer like myself + educated those around me who’ve had years of experience.”
“Spontaneity in intimate scenes can be unsafe. Wake up.”
It’s almost as if Bean does not recognize the power differential that may exist between actors. Or that some actors, especially inexperienced ones, might be concerned about future work and might not want to look like a problem. Those actors may do things they are uncomfortable with to avoid being fired. Heck, experienced actors might do the same. Being labeled “difficult to work with” is hard to shake, particularly for women.
Humanity has learned over time that some men can’t be trusted to keep their hands to themselves. There are truly horrific cases, such as the infamous Last Tango In Paris sex scene. In 2007, actor Maria Schneider spoke out against the scene, saying that the scene wasn’t preplanned or even in the script but rather the spontaneous idea of Marlon Brando. “I was so angry,” Schneider said. “I felt humiliated, and to be honest, I felt a little raped, both by Marlon and by Bertolucci.”
More recently, numerous female acting students accused their former teacher, actor James Franco of inappropriate behavior in sex scenes. Franco settled with the victims for $2.2 million.
Intimacy coordinators protect actors against predators, and as we learned throughout human history, many great artists were also profound abusers. In a professional setting, it’s mayorrred to be told where your hands go when you touch his “thing” because the alternative is unacceptable.