Dame Emma Thompson passionately hits back at Sir Ian McKellen after he questioned the importance of on-set intimacy coordinators for sex scenes
Dame Emma Thompson has hailed intimacy coordinators as ‘absolutely essential’ after fellow actor Sir Ian McKellen said they can ruin the ‘purity’ of theatre.
Sir Ian, 83, recently said that in the earlier stages of his career, matters requiring intimacy coordinators would have ‘taken care of themselves’.
Speaking to Andrew Marr on LBC on Thursday, Dame Emma, 63, dismissed Sir Ian’s remarks, saying: ‘It’s all very well, if you’re a bloke it’s a different kind of thing.
‘I think if you’re a young woman on a set, which is largely peopled by men, the crew will be 90 per cent men and the women won’t be on the set with you, because generally speaking we do not have parity on any level on film sets, it’s all men.
‘And that’s a very uncomfortable position for a young woman who’s starting in the industry, but it is absolutely essential that there is someone there to protect them. Absolutely essential.
Speaking out: Dame Emma Thompson, 63, has hailed intimacy coordinators as ‘absolutely essential’ after fellow actor Sir Ian McKellen, 83, said they can ruin the ‘purity’ of theatre (pictured in December)
‘You cannot imagine what people went through in some of those big series when they first started the streaming series.
‘They were just told when they walked on set, now this is what we’ve got to do… And that’s absolutely outrageous.
‘So, it’s all very well, if you’re a bloke it’s a different kind of thing.’
Dame Emma’s remarks came after Sir Ian told BBC Radio 4: ‘I can imagine there are situations when you have to be careful and people find it difficult to be intimate, and therefore a coordinator is just the thing.
‘But why can’t it be the director who does that? Why has it got to be somebody who’s been trained in how to do it?’
Dame Emma previously expressed her admiration for intimacy coordinators after comments made by Sir Ian’s Lord Of The Rings co-star Sean Bean, who said that intimacy professionals could ‘spoil the spontaneity’ of sex scenes.
Other female members of the industry including Rachel Zegler also criticised Bean’s comments.
Dame Emma said: ‘It’s not to say that they’re going to be in there all the time arranging your boobs, it’s that they can be there in case you might feel that there’s a position that you’ve got into that you’re not quite comfortable with, you know, your bum hole’s waving in the air, and you just think I don’t feel quite comfortable…
Back in the day: Sir Ian recently said that in the earlier stages of his career, matters requiring intimacy co-ordinators would have ‘taken care of themselves’ (pictured in October)
‘I’ve worked with young actresses who’ve been truly traumatised by their experiences on set.
‘And so, my passion for intimacy coordinators and protection for young women particularly, and young men, I mean, it’s not necessarily an easy thing for any person.’
Gillian Anderson and Bridgerton star Rege-Jean Page have also previously praised intimacy co-ordinators for their work in on-screen productions.
It comes after Daryl McCormack revealed how he and co-star Dame Emma prepared for the racy sex scenes in their latest film, Good Luck To You Leo Grande.
‘Before we knew it, three of us were naked!’ Daryl McCormack revealed how he and Dame Emma prepared for Good Luck To You Leo Grande sex scenes – with the help of their director (Daryl and Dame Emma pictured in June)
Speaking to The Independent, Daryl, 30, said he and Dame Emma had the help of their director, Sophie Hyde.
He revealed they shared some intimate details about their bodies on paper in rehearsals, before slowing stripping off to ‘tell stories about their bodies’.
He said it was a ‘gentle, beautiful introduction for us to step into a place of vulnerability’.
‘The map of the body then led to us telling stories behind each thing. Then from there, the three of us all took a layer of clothing off, one by one, and told stories about our bodies,’ he said.
‘Before we knew it, the three of us were naked, and it felt like we never even took our clothes off in the beginning. There was a level of comfort I’ve never experienced before,’ he said
‘Before we knew it, the three of us were naked, and it felt like we never even took our clothes off in the beginning. There was a level of comfort I’ve never experienced before,’ he added.
In June last year, Daryl revealed he and Dame Emma opted not to use an intimacy coach for the film.
The new movie follows Nancy (Dame Emma), a widowed school teacher who hires a male escort (Daryl) for a date, hoping to experience an orgasm for the first time – with the two characters sharing very intimate moments throughout.
But Daryl told how he, Dame Emma and director Sophie Hyde chose to navigate the scenes themselves as they felt it would be more ‘special’ to do their own ‘unique’ thing, with the actor adding that things were never ‘awkward’ between them.
Going it alone: In June last year, Daryl revealed he and Emma opted not to use an intimacy coach for the film
While many TV shows including Normal People and Bridgerton brought in an intimacy coach for the sex scenes, the trio instead chose to choreograph their own sex scenes after first becoming comfortable with each other.
He told Bustle: ‘We felt like it was something we could do together, so we did. ‘It feels that little bit more special because it’s our own unique thing.
‘It started with simple things. Just talking about our body: the things we like and don’t like. There’s something about detaching judgment from yourself and just seeing the potential in your body and what it can offer you. That gives you access to step into the intimate nature of the film.’
Thanks to their rehearsals and concerted efforts to know and be comfortable with each other (Emma and Daryl enjoyed walks around the park together), when it came to the more intimate scenes, the duo were able to fully embrace the moment.
Latest film: The new movie follows Nancy (Dame Emma), a widowed school teacher who hires a male escort (Daryl) for a date, hoping to experience an orgasm for the first time (Daryl pictured in June)
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