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Sean Bean Thinks Intimacy Coordinators “Spoil the Spontaneity” of Sex Scenes

"I think the natural way lovers behave would be ruined by someone bringing it right down to a technical exercise"

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Sean Bean, photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images
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    Just in case you’re one of the rare few who haven’t seen it: there’s a lot of sex in Game of Thrones, and a lot of behind-the-scenes work to bring it to the screen. But Sean Bean — aka Ned Stark of Winterfell — has denounced the role of intimacy coordinators on film sets, saying they “spoil the spontaneity” of (fictional) sex scenes.

    “[Working with an intimacy coordinator] would inhibit me more because it’s drawing attention to things,” Bean said in a recent interview with U.K.’s Times Magazine (via Variety). “Somebody saying, ‘Do this, put your hands there, while you touch his thing… I think the natural way lovers behave would be ruined by someone bringing it right down to a technical exercise.”

    For NSFW scenes in sex-heavy productions like Normal People, for example, intimacy coordinators serve as choreographers of sorts between the actors involved — and, more importantly, as a safety buffer in the wake of movements like #MeToo and Time’s Up.

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    Spontaneity, Bean seemed to imply, is more valuable to a production’s sex scenes than maintaining consent. He recalled his experience shooting 1993’s Lady Chatterly — based on D.H. Lawrence’s infamously obscene novel — where he had plenty of explicit screen time with Joely Richardson, evidently without any intimacy coordinators involved.

    Lady Chatterly was spontaneous,” Bean said. “It was a joy. We had a good chemistry between us, and we knew what we were doing was unusual. Because she was married, I was married. But we were following the story. We were trying to portray the truth of what D.H. Lawrence wrote.”

    Bean also has a bone to pick with TV companies and advertisers for allegedly censoring sexual content: “I think they cut a bit out actually,” he added, referencing a scene in Netflix’s thriller series Snowpiercer where he and Lena Hall get freaky with the help of a mango. “Often the best work you do, where you’re trying to push the boundaries, and the very nature of it is experimental, gets censored when TV companies or the advertisers say it’s so much. It’s a nice scene, quite surreal, dream-like and abstract. And mango-esque.”

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    Bean then made the bizarre assumption that a female actor’s history and career background could determine what she is or isn’t comfortable with doing on camera in a separate scenario: “[Hall] had a musical cabaret background, so she was up for anything,” he said.

    Game of Thrones got quite a bit of backlash for its excess of nudity and sexual violence throughout its tenure, which almost certainly contributed to Miguel Sapochnik and Ryan Condal’s decision to tone down the sex in their forthcoming GoT prequel series House of the Dragon. 

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