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HBO hires intimacy coordinator to assist on sex scenes across several shows

Sex scenes in movies and TV shows may seem quick and look intimate on screen, but the filming of them must be nothing short of awkward, uncomfortable and, in worst cases, violating. However, as more men and women in the industry speak up about their experiences and share their horror stories studios and networks must find ways to make sets more accommodating and comfortable for actors, and HBO is leading the charge by hiring an "intimacy coordinator" for several of their shows.

While HBO shows are known for their abundance of sex and nudity, including on shows like TRUE BLOOD, ENTOURAGE, GAME OF THRONES and really anything you can throw a rock at, the change came on the filming of the recent second season of THE DEUCE. Actress Emily Meade knew a change was necessary in this era of #MeToo and Time’s Up, and her speaking up led to the hiring of Alicia Rodis, an intimacy coordinator, and co-founder of the nonprofit Intimacy Directors International whose job it is to make actors feel comfortable and safe while doing any scenes involving sex or nudity.

Per the original Rolling Stone article:

Rodis is a mediator among actors, directors, producers and crew. She reviews scripts, facilitates group discussions about the sex scenes they’re going to film and meets with actors individually. When new or tweaked sex scenes are added to a day’s shoot, she is often the one to break the news to an actor, checking in to clarify what their personal boundaries are — to make sure, as she puts it, “consent is informed and certain before we move forward.” Then she advocates for the actors in discussions with the production team.

HBO loves this approach so much that they’ve hired Rodis to oversee sex scenes on shows like CRASHING, Damon Lindelof's WATCHMEN and the DEADWOOD movie. Even David Simon, the creator of THE DEUCE, says he will never do another project without an intimacy coordinator ever again. Meade spoke about why it’s so important to have someone like Rodis around, as her sole job isn’t to make drastic changes, but rather to provide much-needed support in an industry that has provided so little in the past.

“It’s not the things [she does] that are so radical. It’s just having someone other than yourself to think about it. It shouldn’t be a radical concept to give someone something to cover their private parts. But to have someone do it at all — the gesture of it — it helps.”

She continued:

“She understands how to help us choreograph things to make them look more real than they are, by actually doing something less real. Left to your own devices you’re just sort of doing what you do in real life. And that’s a problem if you don’t want it to feel like real life.”

Frankly, the name “intimacy coordinator” may sound a bit hokey, but their presence on sets is long overdue. Filming sex scenes are notoriously uncomfortable, mostly because you’re doing an intimate act with someone you probably aren’t intimate with in real life, and all in front of camera crews under hot lights. Even the directors may not know how to approach it other than “just lay on top and do this and this.” There’s nothing wrong with having someone around to make scenes like this better for actors, especially if it makes the performance better for audiences to watch. In fact, it’s a bit of a no-brainer, and I can expect many studios to follow in the steps of HBO.

Source: Rolling Stone

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