Actor Sean Bean has sparked backlash from various Hollywood actors after saying in a new interview that, if he could, he'd prefer to do away with intimacy co-ordinators on set. During a new interview with The Times, the Game of Thrones star said he's not a fan of having somebody dictating and observing sex scenes being shot as it "spoil[s] the spontaneity".
He added, "I think the natural way lovers behave would be ruined by someone bringing it right down to a technical exercise. It would inhibit me more because it's drawing attention to things."
Whilst it's Sean's right to air that opinion, it hasn't exactly been welcomed with open arms – and in particular not by one former co-star, Lena Hall. Which makes sense, given that having an intimacy co-ordinator present during filming can also add to a sense of security and safety for a female actor.
In his interview, Sean commented directly on a scene he'd previously shot with Lena for Snowpiercer, in which their characters are intimate with the use of a mango. He implied that some of what they shot was cut.
"Often the best work you do, where you're trying to push the boundaries, and the very nature of it is experimental, gets censored when TV companies or the advertisers say it's so much, " he said. "It's a nice scene, quite surreal, dream-like and abstract. And mango-esque."
When pushed on his thoughts about intimacy co-ordinators being an essential presence on-set following the Me Too movement, Sean remarked, "I suppose it depends on the actress. This one [Hall] had a musical cabaret background, so she was up for anything." Eesh.
Replying to his remarks, Lena herself took to Twitter to say, "Just because I am in theatre (not cabaret, but I do perform them every once in a while) does not mean that I am up for anything.
"If I feel comfortable with my scene partner and with others in the room then I won't need an intimacy coordinator BUT if there is any part of me that is feeling weird, gross, over exposed etc… I will either challenge the necessity of the scene or I'll want an IC."
She also described intimacy coordinators as a "welcome addition to the set", despite not being a requirement for every actor or on every project.
Rachel Zegler, best known for her role in West Side Story (which required her 17-year-old self to shoot an intimate scene with a then 25-year-old Ansel Elgort), also took to Twitter to call out Sean's comments, writing: "intimacy coordinators establish an environment of safety for actors. i was extremely grateful for the one we had on WSS— they showed grace to a newcomer like myself + educated those around me who’ve had years of experience."
She added, "spontaneity in intimate scenes can be unsafe. wake up."
Activist and actor Jameela Jamil also chimed in with a comment in direct response to Sean's quotes, "It should only be technical. It's like a stunt. Our job as actors is to make it not look technical. Nobody wants an impromptu grope…"
Sean Bean is yet to respond to the backlash. Cosmopolitan UK has reached out to his team for comment.
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