Creator Sally Wainwright brought an intimacy coordinator on board to choreograph the (many) sex scenes on the series. And it shows.
What we may now call a butch lesbian, Anne Lister ‘wanted to deny her own femininity and didn’t want to show her own breasts and wanted to give pleasure to her partners,’ intimacy coordinator Ita O’Brien tells GSN.
‘We just looked at someone coming from that place of empowerment and coming from that more masculine point of view and just took that into the dynamic of the intimacy.’
O’Brien has spent years developing the best practice when working with intimacy, scenes with sexual content, and nudity in film, TV, and theatre.
If you had no idea such a role existed, you’re not alone. The profession is brand new and it’s a positive consequence of the MeToo movement.
It all comes down to safety and consent. If it’s common practice to have a fight coordinator on set to plan a duel scene, why can’t you have an expert working through a sex scene with the actors to make sure it feels natural and everyone is comfortable with it?
‘The intimate content in our lives is natural and so it should be in our storytelling,’ O’Brien continues.
‘It should be dealt with in an adult, open and actual way. It should be dealt with in the same way as any other part of the script or play is dealt with.’
An intimacy coordinator talks the actors through the quality of a sex scene, including the positions and the lead-up to it.