The intimacy coordinator is the new BFF of the actors. But what do they actually do?


The 33-year-old British actress wrote, co-directed and starred in “I May Destroy You”, a 12-part drama about a young writer seeking to rebuild her life after a sexual assault.

At Sunday’s ceremony, the critically acclaimed HBO series won Best Miniseries, with Coyle winning the Best Leading Actress hour.

In her acceptance speech, Coyle paid tribute to the show’s director Ita O’Brien, who credited 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 safer, for creating physical, emotional and professional boundaries so that we can operate without raving about exploitation, loss of respect, abuse of power, or abuse.” Koel said.

O’Brien, author ofIntimacy on set guidelines A best practice guide to approaching fake sex and nudity– also worked on hit shows including “normal people, “”sex education“and” 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 people in front of and behind the camera feel safe and comfortable with every aspect and step of the process.

There are several training organizations around 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 of this year, the Screen Actors Guild – the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) announced plans to launch a registry to create an industry standard for roles and provide accreditation for intimacy coordinator training programs. of. .

O’Brien told CNN in an email that intimacy coordinators need to have an in-depth knowledge of the actor-director process, understand power dynamics and need to be trained in the pedagogy and intimacy coordination for theater and film.

They need “body and dance skills and body awareness and anatomy to bring clarity to physical dance,” she explained.

Upon completion of 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 growing awareness of the abuse of power in film and TV has created a demand for intimacy coordinators on set.

Harvey Weinstein The scandal and other incidents of sexual misconduct exposed an industry in which actors’ boundaries were often overlooked and where there was widespread abuse both on and off screen.
'Bridgeton's' Intimacy Coordinator's Job Isn't As Sexy As You Think

SAG-FTRA said in October 2020 that it was working to create “safe working conditions for members and the industry as a whole” because of the actions of Weinstein – one of the most powerful people in the entertainment industry. – Came for the light.

O’Brien said he believes “the role of the intimacy coordinator is critical to protecting artists in the creation of intimate content.”

She told CNN: “Our process ensures that a safe and professional structure is created, with open communication and agreed upon agreement at all times, within which everyone can perform to the best of their professional acting skills.”

create a safe space

In a recent interview with CNN, Elizabeth TalbotThe intimacy coordinator of the wildly popular Netflix series “Bridgeton” said that an “intimacy rider” refers to what an actor is willing to do in a scene.

“With the concept of consent that we work with, of course, if it’s something where at any point someone’s like, ‘Oh, you know, I don’t want to do that,’ they never will, ” He said. “And it’s also my job to step up to any director or producer and be like, ‘Hey, you know, they’re not comfortable with that. I have been really fortunate to have worked with great directors and producers, so that never happened.”

Bridgerton star Phoebe Dienever told Grazia magazine that she "Safe"  She used to film sex scenes with an intimacy coordinator on the sets.
“Bridgeton” Lead Phoebe DienevoreThe one who played Daphne Bridgerton told Grazia magazine in January of this year She made Talbot feel “safe” on set when she filmed a graphic sex scene.

“It was great, because it felt safe and fun: You choreograph it like a stunt, or a dance,” she said.

“It’s crazy to me that[an intimacy coordinator]hasn’t been there in the past,” Dinevar said. “I’ve done sex scenes before, I can’t believe I’ve done this: It was only five or six years ago, but it won’t be allowed now.”

CNN’s Lisa Respers France contributed to this report.

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