TV & Radio

‘Truly traumatised’: Emma Thompson explains why intimacy coordinators are ‘absolutely essential’

Emma Thompson has passionately advocated for intimacy coordinators on set, saying that the demands put on women in shows such as Game of Thrones was “absolutely outrageous”.

Speaking to Andrew Marr on LBC, Thompson, 63, said: “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.”

She continued: “And that’s a very uncomfortable position for a young woman who’s starting in the industry. It is absolutely essential that there is someone there to protect them. Absolutely essential.

“You cannot imagine what people went through in some of those big series when they first started, the streaming series where women just had to take their clothes off.”

Marr interjected at this point, saying: “Like Game of Thrones, for example.”

“Yes, absolutely,” replied Thompson, “And that’s absolutely outrageous…

“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.”

Thompson added: “I’ve worked with young actresses who’ve been truly traumatised by their experiences on set. And so, my passion for intimacy co-ordinators and protection for young women particularly, and young men, I mean, it’s not necessarily an easy thing for any person.”

The actor namechecked Ita O’Brien, an intimacy coordinator who has worked on the sets of Sex Education, It’s a Sin and I May Destroy You, to name a few.

One of the lead actors in the Game of Thrones, Emilia Clarke, previously revealed that she felt overwhelmed by what she described as the “f*** ton of nudity” in the show’s first season – which aired on HBO in 2011.

Thompson’s comments come after male actors such as Ian McKellen and Sean Bean have questioned the need for intimacy coordinators.

Interestingly, there was not an intimacy coordinator on the set of Thompson’s recent film Good Luck to You, Leo Grande. Read more about how the actors approached the sex and nudity in that movie in our recent interview with Thompson’s co-star Daryl McCormack, here.

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