The intimacy coordinator for House of the Dragon, Miriam Lucia, has responded to Sean Bean’s criticisms of the job. House of the Dragon is a prequel series to Game of Thrones, which is now widely considered as one of the best fantasy television series of all-time. The prequel series has gone on to receive critical acclaim, even with only four episodes having been released so far, and has already been renewed for a season 2.
As with Game of Thrones, House of the Dragon doesn’t shy away from graphic sex scenes. In film and television productions, an intimacy coordinator is used to ensure that cast and crew members alike are comfortable with and consenting to sex scenes that are being filmed. This past August, Bean made headlines when he openly criticized the role of intimacy coordinators, saying that having such a professional takes away from “the natural way lovers would behave.” Bean went on to say that intimacy coordination reduces a sex scene to a “technical exercise,” with coordinators telling actors to “do this, put your hand there, while you touch his thing.” Many of those in the film industry responded to these criticisms, including James Gunn and Amanda Seyfried, saying that intimacy coordinators are vital to the safety and wellbeing of those on-set when filming a sex scene, and now one close to the Game of Thrones franchise is sharing their thoughts on his feelings.
In an interview with Deadline, House of the Dragon‘s intimacy coordinator Miriam Lucia responded to Bean’s criticisms. Lucia says that, while she’s a fan of Bean’s work, Bean is simply from another era of the film industry, and doesn’t understand why intimacy coordinators are so necessary. Lucia also reinforces the importance of her work, saying that just because sex scenes are coordinated, that doesn’t take away the emotion from actors. Read Lucia’s comment in its entirety below:
It was good to hear that following on from Sean Bean’s comments about how intimacy coordinators ruin spontaneity. But I get why he said that, because he doesn’t have the same experience of it, and because this is a new function on sets. People don’t really know what it is that we do. Some question why we’re there. It can still be weird for people who wonder if I’m checking up on whether they’re adhering to the rules of a closed set. But often my work has been done beforehand behind the scenes, talking to the director, the producer, the actors, even lawyers if necessary, in terms of waivers and things that need to happen. And if there’s an issue or a change, or something becomes physically uncomfortable, or mentally uncomfortable, we shift it, but at that point, the work has largely been done, and hopefully it’s seamless. We need to be ready for the shoot date but also to know there won’t be any ugly surprises…I love him as an actor, and I’ve just watched Marriage: he’s great in that. I just think he is a man of a certain age, who has been in this industry for a very long time, and he doesn’t have an experience of the other side. Or maybe he’s had a bad experience of working with an intimacy coordinator. All I would say is that in my experience so far, I don’t think it gets in the way of the creative process. I think it helps to enable the creative process, because I think once you’ve worked out what the actors are comfortable with in terms of touch and consent, and what the movements are going to be, then you add the emotion to it. And then you find the freedom, because you’re not scrambling and fumbling and trying to find it there and then in the moment.
In discussing her role as an intimacy coordinator on House of the Dragon, Lucia references the sex scene Emily Carey (young Alicent Hightower) filmed in episode 4. The scene sees Alicent (played by a 17-year-old Carey) getting intimate with her ailing husband (played by a 47-year-old Paddy Considine), and Carey expressed extreme discomfort about the age difference. Carey has since gone on to say just how important it was to have Lucia on set, as she wouldn’t have felt comfortable to do the scene without Lucia. Lucia says that it was important not only to support Carey through the filming of that scene, but Considine as well, who has a child that was Carey’s age at the time.
Throughout film history, it’s tragically common for poorly-negotiated sex scenes to wind up traumatizing actors. Having an intimacy coordinator on-set is not only important for physically coordinating movements in the scene, but also to ensure that everyone involved in the process is comfortable with everything going on. While Bean might not approve of intimacy coordinators, it’s clear that the House of the Dragon cast and crew are thankful to have Lucia on-board.