For decades, Hollywood has used stunt coordinators and experts behind the scenes to ensure a battle scene is accurate, believable and safe.
But when it came to sex scenes – actors, actresses and directors just sort of winged it.
Then came the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements, which caused major upheaval in Hollywood. Consent, harassment and assault were now mainstream topics, and naturally made their way to set.
Mamamia’s daily news podcast The Quicky speaks to intimacy coordinator Ita O’Brien.
Now, the same care that went into battle and fight scenes goes into sex scenes, and it’s all done with the guidance of an intimacy coordinator.
Intimacy coordinator Ita O’Brien, who worked on Netflix’s Sex Education, developed the Intimacy on Set Guidelines – which includes not asking for nudity or simulated sex scenes at auditions, having a closed set during filming of intimate scenes, and having robes on hand.
Speaking to Mamamia‘s daily news podcast The Quicky, O’Brien explained the series of steps she takes actors through before a sex scene is filmed.
First, they speak with the director to find out exactly what is expected of them physically.
Then the actors run through an ‘agreement of touch’: “‘Am I okay to touch you here? Am I okay to touch you there?'” O’Brien simulated. “‘Yes you can touch the side of my breast, no you cannot touch over my nipple’. Stuff like that, so it’s absolutely clear.”
The actors then physically run through the scene, with verbal cues such as ”I step forward, I place my hand round your waist, you place your hand on my cheek’. This is repeated so it becomes a physical structure “that you can perform like a dance,” O’Brien explained.