Sir Ian McKellen says privacy coordinators can ruin the ‘purity’ of theater

Sir Ian McKellen says having trained privacy coordinators on set can affect the “purity” of stage productions.

The stage and screen veteran said that in the early stages of his career, matters requiring such coordinators “would have taken care of themselves.”

In an interview with poet laureate Simon Armitage, Sir Ian, 83, spoke about the many changes in the theater industry, some of which “were not always for the better”.

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The theater veteran joined his Lord of the Rings co-star Sean Bean in criticizing privacy coordinators on sets (Yui Mok/PA)

Listing a number of production roles, including lighting and sound designers and dialect coaches, he singled out intimacy coordinators.

“This is not yet mandatory, but I imagine there are situations where you have to be careful and people find it difficult to be intimate, and therefore a coordinator is just what you need,” he told BBC Radio 4’s The Poet. Show and podcast Laureate Has Gone to His Shed.

“But why can’t the director be the one to do that? Why does it have to be someone who has been trained how to do it?

He continued, “This has been a big change and it’s a bit of a problem for me, because with all these names of people doing all these jobs that seemed to have sorted themselves out before, you won’t see any other actors.” than the ones you see at the play that night because they don’t have a permanent job.”

He went on to say that he preferred the “purity” of a production in which there are “as few people as possible to get in the way.”

It follows comments by Sean Bean, Sir Ian’s co-star in The Lord of the Rings, who said intimists could “spoil the spontaneity” of sex scenes, were criticized by female members of the industry.

Actresses including Rachel Zegler spoke out after Bean’s comments in August, with Dame Emma Thompson hailing the role as “fantastically important”.

Gillian Anderson and Bridgerton star Rege-Jean Page have also previously praised the intimacy coordinators for their work on the on-screen productions.

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Dame Emma Thompson has called intimacy coordinators ‘fantastically important’ (PA)

Anderson, who stars in Netflix’s raunchy comedy Sex Education, said those professionals made sure all cast members were “comfortable” and “feel protected.”

Page, who rose to fame as Simon Basset, Duke of Hastings, in the period drama, also on Netflix, said the show’s intimacy coordinator helped de-risk the sex scenes.

Emilia Clarke and Gemma Whelan, stars of HBO’s hit show Game Of Thrones, have also previously spoken out about the need for on-set intimacy professionals.

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