Emma Thompson Disagrees with Sean Bean, Calls Intimacy Coordinators ‘Fantastically Important’

Ever since SAG-AFTRA opened its membership to intimacy coordinators in July, the film industry has been ripe with discourse about what the position contributes to a film set. For the most part, actors have overwhelmingly praised intimacy coordinators for making sex scenes easier and safer to film. But “Game of Thrones” alum Sean Bean recently made waves when he slammed the idea of working with one, saying it would ruin the spontaneity that’s necessary for a good sex scene.

“I should imagine it slows down the thrust of it. Ha, not the thrust, that’s the wrong word. It would spoil the spontaneity,” Bean said. “I think the natural way lovers behave would be ruined by someone bringing it right down to a technical exercise.”

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Emma Thompson disagrees.

The actress, who recently earned strong reviews for her sex-positive performance in Sophie Hyde’s film “Good Luck to You, Leo Grande,” was asked about Bean’s comments on the Australian radio show “Fitzy & Wippa” this week (via Variety). She believes that the safety benefits of having an intimacy coordinator on set significantly outweigh any lost spontaneity, and also cast doubt on the idea that spontaneous sex scenes were ever possible in the crowded environment of a movie set.

“Intimacy coordinators are fantastically important and 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,’” Thompson said. “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.”

To drive the point home, Thompson ended her comment with a joke about Bean’s apparent misunderstanding of the differences between real sex and simulated activities on movie sets.

“So I don’t know who the actor was,” she said. but maybe he had an intimacy coordinator accidentally at home.”

“Good Luck to You, Leo Grande” is currently streaming on Hulu. 

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