Shonda Rhimes Is ‘Very Strongly’ for Intimacy Coordinators, Finds Them ‘Very Empowering’ for Actors

The brain behind "Grey's Anatomy" and "Bridgerton" embraces the collaboration needed to make her sex scenes pop.
Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story. (L to R) India Amarteifio as Young Queen Charlotte, Corey Mylchreest as Young King George in episode 101 of Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story. Cr. Liam Daniel/Netflix © 2023
"Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story"

Here’s how “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Bridgerton” creator Shonda Rhimes thinks about sex scenes: carefully.

In a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly in support of her just-launched Netflix series “Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story,” the doyen of steamy TV expounded on her philosophy for writing sexy sequences, telling the outlet she really doesn’t “write them any differently,” no matter if they are for broadcast or streaming TV. “I really don’t. I’m kind of a prude,” she said. “So, what I write into the scenes is what I want the audience to get in terms of the character emotion or the character story that’s playing out. I basically write like, ‘This is how we want them to feel.'”

And she’s found plenty of key assistance along the way, including the use of intimacy coordinators on set, of which Rhimes is a major fan. “I’m very strongly for the fact that we have intimacy coordinators, who can then work with the actors to make sure they’re comfortable in doing everything,” she told EW. “I always say, ‘If you wanna do a love scene in a snowsuit, do a love scene in a snowsuit, we’ll figure it out.’ To let them have that freedom is really empowering for actors.”

The use of intimacy coordinators on both stage and screen has been on the rise in recent years, though many creators and stars have different takes on the usefulness and necessity of the role. Director Karyn Kusama recently praised them, saying that intimacy coordinators should become an industry standard and “that it helps us see each other and the role of sex in our lives differently, as something richer and more filled with possibility.”

Elsewhere, star Toni Collette is less convinced of their utility. In November, the actress told IndieWire that, on some occasions, when an intimacy coordinator was provided during a production, she didn’t feel they were needed. At the time, she said that she “felt so connected and safe with my creative partners that the intimacy coordinator felt like they were encroaching upon the process, and I’ve denied them access to the actual scene because I didn’t feel like I needed them.” Still, Collette praised their existence as a “safety net” for those who feel they can assist.

Per IMDb, Rhimes’ latest series employed a trio of intimacy coordinators for its first season, including Lizzy Talbot (one of the best-known intimacy coordinators in the biz, who has also worked on “Bridgerton”), Lucy Fennell (“Pennyworth,” “True Detective”), and Joshua Okpala (“Bridgerton,” “Great Expectations”).

The prequel series, Rhimes’ latest offering on Netflix, follows a young Charlotte (India Amarteifio) as she prepares to marry King George III (Corey Mylchreest), causing a stir in society in the process. “Bridgerton” star Golda Rosheuvel plays the adult Queen Charlotte, who now reigns over England.

Per Netflix’s official synopsis, the show is “centered on Queen Charlotte’s rise to prominence and power, this ‘Bridgerton’-verse prequel tells the story of how the young Queen’s marriage to King George sparked both a great love story and a societal shift, creating the world of the Ton inherited by the characters in ‘Bridgerton.'” The ensemble cast also includes Michelle Fairley, Sam Clemmett, Freddie Dennis, Richard Cunningham, Tunji Kasim, Rob Maloney, Cyril Nri, and Hugh Sachs.

The series is now streaming on Netflix.

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