An Intimacy Coordinator is, quite simply, the person on set that is making sure that during intimate exchanges in the movie, which involve nudity or sexual scenes, the actors are being taken care of in a physical and mental sense so that they’re not being taken advantage of or harmed in any way. That’s what I tend to get out of it at least, though someone might say that this is a little too simplistic. In reality what an intimacy coordinator appears to be is a buffer between the director and the actors that can step in and ask ‘is everything okay?’ when they feel the need. David Robb of Deadline goes into far more description in stating what kind of protocols have been put into place since the Weinstein scandal so that actors will feel safer and more secure in their position and not have to suffer through sexual harassment as has apparently been the case for so long. Unfortunately comparing the making of a movie or show to the Weinstein scandal sounds a bit odd since the two sound as though they’re not quite as related as people might think. Take a moment to realize what Weinstein wasn’t IN the movie when he committed his heinous acts, while a big part of an Intimacy Coordinator’s job happens to deal with what happens IN the production.
That unfortunately appears to be the lingering paranoia around the unfortunate reality of sexual harassment in Hollywood, as it’s been allowed to continually tinge whatever it touches and whatever is within reach so that people will continue to believe that more and more measures must be taken to insure that such a thing never happens again. At some point it does feel as though the precautions are going to become more of a problem than the original issue, since it’s already been seen that people are afraid to say or do anything that’s out of bounds when it comes to interacting with others. Travis M. Andrews of The Washington Post might have something else to say about this however. The role of an IC sounds far too much like that of an on-site counselor/instructor that is there to meddle in things that could possibly be worked out between the actors, the director, and the producer in a reasonable and very adult fashion. It’s very true that getting naked on camera, and being intimate with another person, is very difficult for some actors since they have their own set of values that create a barrier that they don’t want to cross. But there is the thought of getting paid and not wanting to be labeled as someone that’s hard to work with since this can stain an actor’s reputation as much as anything.
There are some serious issues with intimacy in TV and in movies, and it has to do with realism and how comfortable people are with getting ‘too real’ since there have been movies in which people can’t hardly believe what’s going on and how an actor could bring themselves to do such things, and then there are projects that basically mock what intimacy is all about even if that wasn’t the intent. In other words some situations look real and make one wonder how an actor can say ‘it’s just a job’ when grinding against another colleague, while in other scenes it’s enough to make an audience bust up laughing as the attempts at intimacy are just so painfully awkward that it’s easy to assume that the actors didn’t speak to one another about the scene beforehand. In a way it does feel as though the IC is kind of a waste of money since they’re basically there to insure that no one’s rights are being trampled and that they’re not being made to do anything that they’re not comfortable with. Actors are paid to undertake difficult scenes now and then, intimate scenes are without any doubt some of the hardest for many actors since they require being exposed in a way that many individuals would never dream of being when the thought of being viewed by millions of people comes to light. Yet in the same breath an IC is necessary since this position is yet another assurance that there will be no repeats of the past, hopefully, and that actors won’t be forced, coerced, or bullied into actions on screen that might damage their reputation or self-esteem. Jill Serjeant of Reuters would likely agree with this sentiment. So yes, an IC is important, but there are moments when it would appear that the increased precautions and new ground rules that are being established are a bit extraneous since in show business many of those taking on intimate scenes are consenting adults and it’s very possible to have the actors sit down with each other and with those in charge to discuss the scenes they’re about to shoot and how they need to be done. Otherwise it feels like a very roundabout and expensive method to use when trying to keep everyone as safe and secure as possible.
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