In the wake of Sean Bean facing backlash over his recent criticism towards Hollywood’s use of intimacy coordinators, actress Lena Hall has come to her Snowpiercer co-star’s defense and offered her own opinion that “Sometimes you need ’em, sometimes you don’t, but every single person and scene and experience is different.”
Bean spoke out against Hollywood’s burgeoning reliance on intimacy coordinators during a recent interview with The Times given in promotion of his latest project, the BBCTV drama Marriage.
Asked by outlet columnist Janice Turner how he thought such coordinators may have affected the filming of Lady Chatterley, the risque (to say the least) 1993 BBC television adaptation of D.H. Lawrence’s original Lady Chatterley’s Lover novel in which the actor starred as one of its leads, Bean opined, “I should imagine it slows down the thrust of it.”
Laughing at his own slip of the tongue, he clarified, “Ha, not the thrust, that’s the wrong word. It would spoil the spontaneity.”
“It would inhibit me more because it’s drawing attention to things,” he explained to Turner. “Somebody saying, ‘Do this, put your hand there, while you touch his thing…’ [laughs] I think the natural way lovers behave would be ruined by someone bringing it right down to a technical exercise.”
“Lady Chatterley was spontaneous,” Bean explained. “It was joy. [Co-star Joely Richardson] had a good chemistry between us, and we knew what we were doing was unusual. Because she was married, I was married. But we were following the story. We were trying to portray the truth of what DH Lawrence wrote.”
In support of his argument, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellow of the Rings actor then turned to recall a recent scene from the Snowpiercer series in which he and a co-star’s characters battle with their physical desire for each other.
“I think they cut a bit out actually,” said Bean. “Often the best work you do, where you’re trying to push the boundaries, and the very nature of it is experimental, gets censored when TV companies or the advertisers say it’s so much.”
“It’s a nice scene, quite surreal, dream-like and abstract,” he affirmed. “And mango-esque” – a reference to the central use of a fruit in Bean’s on-screen seduction of his co-star.
Drawing his thoughts on the subject to a close, Bean noted that he was of the opinion that “intimacy consultants are there to protect actresses after #MeToo.”
“I suppose it depends on the actress,” he concluded. “This one [in Snowpiercer] had a musical cabaret background, so she was up for anything.”
Though she went unnamed by either Bean or Turner during the interview, based on the specific scene summary provided by the actor, Snowpiercer fans were quick to connect the dots and realize that the actress he described as “up for anything” was his co-star Lena Hall.
Soon after the interview was published, Hall was inundated with concern from social media users, many of whom accused Bean of sexually assaulting the actress – or at the very least wanting to – during the filming of the Snowpiercer scene in question.
In the face of the accusatory backlash against her co-star, Hall took to her personal Twitter account “to clarify some information in this random article since people are reaching out to me like ‘girl, are you ok?’”
“The infamous mango scene wasn’t a naked scene,” she began. “I was ‘naked’ (but not really naked) in the bathtub/suicide scene (which I guess is in that same moment) but Sean Bean was in the bathtub fully clothed in a tuxedo.”
Regarding Bean’s declaration that she was “up for anything”, Hall offered a slight push back, explaining, “Just because I am in theater (not cabaret, but I do perform them every once in a while) does not mean that I am up for anything.”
“Seriously does depend on the other actor,” she added, “the scene we are about to do, the director, and whatever crew has to be in there to film it.”
As for Bean himself, the actress declared, “Sean is an awesome actor and made me feel not only comfortable but also like I had a true acting partner in those bizarre scenes.”
“It was us against the world and we were gonna tell that story,” she wrote.
Hall then turned to address the topic at the center of the backlash, beginning by offering her personal opinion that “If I feel comfortable with my scene partner and with others in the room then I won’t need an intimacy coordinator.”
“BUT if there is any part of me that is feeling weird, gross, over exposed etc,” she elaborated, “I will either challenge the necessity of the scene or I’ll want an IC.”
Further recognizing that the concept behind an intimacy coordinator was not entirely without its merits, Hall posited, “I feel that when an actor has to do a scene that is extremely emotional (like committing suicide or being raped) there needs be some kind of mental health person available to talk to post shoot.”
“Even though we are only acting we are still experiencing trauma,” the actress continued.
Ultimately, Hall stated that while she did “feel that intimacy coordinators are a welcome addition to the set and think they could also help with the trauma experienced in other scenes,” at the end of the day, it all came down to personal choice.
“Sometimes you need ‘em sometimes you don’t,” she asserted, “but every single person and scene and experience is different.”
Hall concluded her thread by tossing the questions to the public, asking, “How do you feel about this article and the idea behind needing or not needing an IC? Also, what are your takes on a trauma coach?”
Marriage premieres on BBC1 on August 14th.