Michael Douglas feels intimacy coordinators take ‘control away from filmmakers’

Michael Douglas is getting real about the use of intimacy coordinators on set. 

During a recent interview with Radio Times via The Telegraph, Douglas compared the process of filming sex scenes to how it was done in the past versus today, with an intimacy coordinator on set.

“I’m past the age where I’ve got to worry about that. But it’s interesting with all the intimacy coordinators,” he told the outlet. “It feels like executives taking control away from filmmakers – but there have been some terrible faux pas and harassment.”

He went on to explain that in his experience it was his “responsibility as the man to make sure the woman is comfortable,” by talking through each step of the scene together. 

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Douglas further elaborated, saying he would make sure all his actions were okay with his scene partners, letting them know “ok, I’m gonna touch you here if that’s all right,” while filming. He said filming would take longer, “but looks like it’s happening organically, which is hopefully what good acting looks like.”

The actor does not think intimacy coordinators were necessary in his heyday, because people were afraid of being labeled a certain way.

“I’m sure there were people that overstepped their boundaries, but before, we seemed to take care of that ourselves. They would get a reputation and that would take care of them,” he said. “But I talked to the ladies, [because] I did a few of those sex movies – sexual movies – and we joke about it now, what it would have been like to have an intimacy coordinator working with us.”

Douglas has spoken about what it was like to film a sex scene in the past, comparing it to filming a fight scene, while speaking at a panel at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival.

He said the key to a successful sex scene is proper rehearsal, explaining that just like when rehearsing for a fight scene, “you start very slowly, and then you work your way up to a faster pace.”

“Well, the same thing; and particularly if you’re doing a love scene, it’s important for the lady that you’re not taking advantage,” Douglas said. “You tell them beforehand when you’re starting: ‘All right, I’m going to put my hand here. Is that all right? Okay, you put your hand here and then we’re going to go kiss, kiss, and then we are going to go … we’re going to go down. It’s very well choreographed.”

The “Ant-Man” actor is not the only person in Hollywood to speak about the presence of intimacy coordinators on set. 

While Ewan McGreggor found having an intimacy coordinator on set “an important part of the work,” actress Toni Collette revealed she felt “anxious” having them on set. 

“I think it’s only been a couple of times where they’ve been brought in, and I have very much trusted and felt at ease with the people I was working with. It just felt like those people who were brought in to make me feel more at ease were actually making me feel more anxious,” she told The Sunday Times in March. “They weren’t helping, so I asked them to leave.” 

Fox News Digital has reached out to Douglas’ rep for comment.


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