Even as intimacy coordinators increasingly become the industry standard on film and TV sets, some actors still resist their input — including Sean Bean, who believes they can be an impediment to actors.
The presence of an intimacy coordinator on set "would inhibit me more because it's drawing attention to things," the Game of Thrones alum, 63, told The Sunday Times. "Somebody saying, 'Do this, put your hands there while you touch his thing.'"
Bean continued, "I think the natural way lovers behave would be ruined by someone bringing it right down to a technical exercise."
He then compared comparing love scenes today to ones he shot with Joely Richardson for 1993's Lady Chatterly's Lover.
"Lady Chatterly was spontaneous," he shared. "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."
In his chat with the Sunday Times, Bean also spoke about television companies or advertisers censoring his work.
Pointing to one scene in the television series Snowpiercer when he and costar Lena Hall become intimate with the help of a mango, Bean told the outlet, "I think they cut a bit out actually."
"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," he continued. "It's a nice scene, quite surreal, dream-like and abstract. And mango-esque."
And while Bean noted that Hall, 42, was "up for anything," given her background with musical cabaret, the Sunday Times pointed out how intimacy coordinators are on hand to aid actresses amid the #MeToo movement. In response, Bean said: "I suppose it depends on the actress."
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Bean's comments on sexuality on screen come about ahead of the release of House of the Dragon, the upcoming Game of Thrones prequel series that is directly inspired by George R.R. Martin's 2018 novel Fire & Blood.
"You do find yourself asking, 'Do we need another sex scene?'" said Smith, 39, who plays Prince Daemon Targaryen. "And they're like, 'Yeah, we do.'"
"I guess you have to ask yourself: 'What are you doing? Are you representing the books, or are you diluting the books to represent the time [we're living in]?' And I actually think it's your job to represent the books truthfully and honestly, as they were written," he continued.
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House of the Dragon's intimate scenes, however, are said to differ in nature from Game of Thrones' — some of which were blatantly abusive and non-consensual. Executive producer Sara Hess explained how the show is committed to showing non-violent sexual encounters during a chat with Vanity Fair.
"I'd like to clarify that we do not depict sexual violence in the show," she said. "We handle one instance off-screen, and instead show the aftermath and impact on the victim and the mother of the perpetrator."
Hess added that there are some sexual instances in which the female participant doesn't have much power. "We don't shy away from the fact that our female leads in the first half of the show are coerced and manipulated into doing the will of adult men," she continued. "This is done not necessarily by those we would define as rapists or abusers, but often by generally well-meaning men who are unable to see that what they are doing is traumatic and oppressive, because the system that they all live in normalizes it. It's less obvious than rape but just as insidious, though in a different way."
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House of the Dragon premieres Aug. 21 on HBO Max.