So the production turned to a professional increasingly sought after in the entertainment industry: an intimacy coordinator. Ita O’Brien, the “Normal People” coordinator, sees her work as bringing the same professionalism to sex scenes that you have at other stages of a shoot, to keep actors from being coerced or left to work out the choreography themselves. She speaks with the director and actors one-on-one, hearing their concerns and establishing the scene’s shape, so there are no surprises when everyone is on set.
O’Brien’s work may have been especially valuable given Rooney’s approach to writing intimate moments. In the book, she grounds sex in sensation and the context of a character’s emotional life, rather than description. She also co-wrote the first six episodes of the show with Alice Birch, and described the sex scenes as “probably less ‘written’ than other parts of the script.” She wanted to leave room for Abrahamson, Edgar-Jones and Mescal to decide what worked best for them, she said.
More . . .