Sir Ian McKellen says having trained intimacy coordinators on set can compromise the ‘purity’ of theatrical productions.
The veteran of stage and film said that in the early stages of his career, the cases that needed such coordinators “would have taken care of themselves”.
In an interview with poet laureate Simon Armitage, Sir Ian, 83, discussed the many changes in the theater industry, some of which were “not always for the better”.
He listed a number of production roles, including lighting and sound designers and dialect coaches, and mentioned intimacy coordinators.
“This isn’t mandatory yet, but I imagine there are situations where you need to be careful and people find it difficult to be intimate, so a co-ordinator is just what you’re looking for,” he said on BBC Radio 4’s The Poet . Laureate has gone to his barn program and podcast.
“But why can’t it be the director who does that? Why does it have to be someone trained to do it?
He continued, “This has been a huge change and it’s a bit of a beef for me because with all these names of people doing all these jobs who previously seemed to have taken care of themselves, you’re not going to see any other actors. than the ones you see in the play that night because they don’t have permanent employment.”
He continued that he preferred the “purity” of a production where “as few people as possible get in the way”.
It follows comments from Sir Ian’s Lord Of The Rings co-star Sean Bean, who said intimacy professionals could “spoil the spontaneity of sex scenes”, were criticized by female members of the industry.
Actresses including Rachel Zegler spoke out after Bean’s comments in August, with Dame Emma Thompson calling the role “fantastic”.
Gillian Anderson and Bridgerton star Rege-Jean Page have also previously praised intimacy coordinators for their work in on-screen productions.
Anderson, who stars in Netflix’s raunchy coming-of-age comedy Sex Education, said such professionals made sure all cast members were “at ease” and “felt protected.”
Page, who rose to fame as Simon Basset, Duke of Hastings, in the period drama — also on Netflix — said the show’s intimacy coordinator helped take the “risk” out of the sex scenes.
Emilia Clarke and Gemma Whelan, stars of the hit HBO show Game Of Thrones, have also previously spoken out about the need for on-set intimacy professionals.