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Who are the “coordinators” who lurk behind the scenes of sex in the cinema?

In 29 years, the idea to shoot a sex scene was not new for the actress Emily Meade, whose first experience dated back to 13 years earlier. But before starting, the last year, the shooting of The Deuce , series of HBO on the middle of the cinema porn and prostitution, it decided that it had to be done otherwise. It is, therefore, went to see the creators of the series to request the presence of an outside observer.

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In a post-Weinstein, nothing is self-evident in the articulation of desire and sexuality, especially in the world of film and television. Shaken by the wave #MeToo, studios and television channels to recruit more advisors to turn the intimate scenes, in order to avoid any blunders but to also obtain a result more credible.

HBO has therefore recruited Alicia Rodis, the first ” intimacy coordinator “, coordinator of the intimate scenes on a tv tray. The concept, to him, was not again used in the theatre since the early 2000s at least, but ignored by Hollywood. Experience on The Deuce to have been a success, HBO has decided, at the end of October, to hire a co-ordinator for all its series including sex scenes.

“How it’s done, then?”

After the series of scandals of sexual harassment and assault, and then the awareness, the question was raised: “we know what not to do, but how they do it, then?”, explains Claire Warden, coordinator, at Intimacy Directors International , the first specialized agency, such as Alicia Rodis is the associate director. “Now that there is a tangible solution”, which is shooting, in any case, “perhaps it is a bit easier to deal with the problem,” she said.

“I always try to respect the wishes and limits of the actor while doing the scene and telling the story”

Claire Warden, coordinator at Bi Directors International

On a plateau, the coordinator, or more often the coordinator, begins with a tender ear. And listen to the actors and actresses, to know “their limits”, explains Amanda Blumenthal, who works on the series “Euphoria” of HBO, whose first broadcast is scheduled for this year. “If an actress told me that she does not want that you could see his chest, she said, I make sure that the way in which the scene is choreographed avoids it.” Another time, with an actor whose sex was not to appear on the screen, it was designed with him the fake penis that the would replace.

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there are also exchanges with the producer and “showrunner”, the custodian of the DNA of the series, who give him their vision of a scene, which she then discusses with the actors. The “co-ordinator of the intimate” is a technician, but it is also a relay, a facilitator, to “teach people how to talk about it,” said Claire Warden. Discussions that can open the field of possibilities and improve the result on the screen, ” she says.

The question of credibility

Claire Warden ensures that the home is almost unanimously favorable. “The resistances often come from people who don’t understand why I’m here,” she said, “and think that I’m going to censor, to supplant the producer or prevent them from telling their story.” But “we are here in support of the director”, she says. “I always try to respect the wishes and limits of the actor while doing the scene and telling the story”, abounds Amanda Blumenthal. More importantly, it ensures, in choreographing the sex scene, “that this is going to be believable and look real.”

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The pioneers of the co-ordination of the intimate scenes have all of the specific profiles, non-standard, which draws in several universes, a mixture of art and psychology. Behind HBO, a few have taken the plunge and committed coordinators, including Showtime (group CBS) or Netflix, for its new series Sex Education , on the high school and the sex, but the tidal wave soon to come.

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“It takes time for the people who occupy positions of power, learn what it is and understand why it is important”, says Claire Warden. “I believe that within 5 to 10 years, this will become fairly standard in the industry”, predicts Amanda Blumenthal. Claire Warden dream of one day be able to work at the source, directly with the authors, to better prepare the ground. Because the issue goes beyond just the trays, ” she said. “The way we represent the intimacy can really change the perception of the world, as the television has a major influence on what the company sees as appropriate or not.”

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