“I can say to an intimacy coordinator, ‘You know, I feel like I’m watching two people pinch each other’s faces, and there’s zero heat here,'” said the “Yellowjackets” director.
Karyn Kusama wants audiences to see the ‘sex role’ differently thanks to on-set intimacy coordinators.
The “Yellowjackets” and “Jennifer’s Body” director said he believes intimacy coordinators add more “heat” to scenes when needed, despite seeing the misconception that they can spoil the portrayal of intimacy.
“It requires you to take ownership of your story with the actors, to really say, ‘Yes, we’re portraying sex, and here’s what it’s supposed to mean,’ meaning it has to mean something,” Kusama said. The New York Times. “And conversely, I can say to an intimacy coordinator, ‘You know, I feel like I’m watching two people pinch each other’s cheeks, and there’s no heat here.’
According to the article, Kusama added that she “would find it hard to imagine joining a project with intimate scenes without it.”
Kusama said she thinks intimacy coordinators should become an industry standard and “help us see each other and the role of sex in our lives in a different way, as something richer and full of possibilities.”
With intimacy coordinators newly added to the SAG-AFTRA union, the goal appears to be one step closer to being realized. But intimacy coordinator Jessica Steinrock, who worked with director Kusama on the pilot “Yellowjackets,” noted, “Intimacy coordinators are not a panacea for an industry that has historically abused its characters — and frankly, historically abused most people. that.”
Actress Emma Thompson disputed the notion that intimacy coordinators stifle sensuality, saying in August 2022 that the role was “fantastically important” on set.
“No, you can’t let it go.” There’s a camera and a crew there,” Thompson said of the choreographed sex scenes and nudity. “You’re not alone in a hotel room, you’re surrounded by a bunch of suitors, mostly.” So it’s not a comfortable situation, period.”
IndieWire’s Eric Kohn recently weighed in on the topic, writing that modern movies and TV series “need more sex, not less,” especially in the post-#MeToo era.
“Doing sex scenes should not be a prerequisite for anyone’s acting career,” Kohn wrote. “However, it’s too easy to focus on the generality of the need for sex scenes rather than the nuances: as sexual identity becomes an ever-wider conversation, there’s an increasing need for popular storytelling to define the terms…Storytelling can be sexy and sensual, or it can illustrate the dark underbelly of those same ingredients, its own at his expense. But there is profound value in accepting that same uncertainty.”
Kohn continued, “Sex sells, of course, which means writers and directors who can put it in the right context have more currency than ever. And if audiences feel that sex should play less of a role in the work they’re willing to watch, that says more about their own limits than the medium itself.”
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