Behind-the-scenes support! Outlander, Sex/Life and more TV shows and movies have hired intimacy coordinators to manage sex scenes — and the stars have found these roles make them feel safer.
“I brought on board the intimacy advisor Vanessa Coffey because, with intimate scenes, it’s important that everyone is protected, but also we find a way to explore these scenes and actually maybe get something more out of them,” Sam Heughan, who portrays Jamie Fraser on STARZ’s Outlander, said during a March 2022 appearance on the “Happy Sad Confused” podcast. “I think this season we’ve done an even better job with those types of scenes because she really helped us understand what we are doing and how we build up this relationship and take it somewhere else, so she’s been terrific.”
Outlander, which debuts its seventh season in late 2023, premiered in August 2014 at a “very different time” in Hollywood. Heughan, for his part, has been candid about filming his character’s difficult sexual assault scene — and how he felt some of the production’s direction seemed unnecessary.
“This wasn’t a moment where I felt that being naked would add to the horror of what Jamie undergoes in that castle dungeon as a form of punishment, subjugation and humiliation,” the Men in Kilts alum wrote in his Waypoints memoir, which was published in October 2022. “I pushed back, reasoning that nudity sexualized a horrific experience for my character, and it sparked quite a debate. Creative conversations are a feature of all productions, good art is made by questioning the truth and we all want to get it right.”
Heughan added at the time: “It would have been handled differently [if it was filmed today]. Times have changed. The [full-frontal] shot was unnecessary and did betray my trust in the creative team a bit. We don’t need to see the horror to imagine what the characters go through. Imagination is way more powerful.”
Sex/Life — which premiered its first season on Netflix in June 2021 — also features plenty of racy, NSFW scenes between stars Sarah Shahi and Adam Demos, who sparked a real-life romance on set.
“My task early on in the season was No. 1, to check in with them and go, ‘OK, so you’re together this season, how can I help you feel safe?’” intimacy coordinator Casey Hudecki exclusively told Us Weekly in March 2023. “‘How can I help you protect your relationship as your characters go off and have other relationships? How can I help the actors who are … being their scene partners to feel safe and to feel free even though they know that, you know, Adam and Sarah [are] together?’ So there’s a lot of talking.”
The L Word alum — who was previously married to Steve Howey, with whom she shares son William and twins Violet and Knox — and Demos debuted their relationship in 2020 while filming season 1. By the drama’s second season, they were pros at their steamy scenes.
“I think with Adam and Sarah, they feel safe together and they’re very comfortable with each other,” Hudecki recalled to Us. “I think in their scenes, they’re free to have a lot more fun and play with each other.”
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