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Normalizing Sex

“Intimacy has changed for the better” | TV Tonight

In the past five years the role of Intimacy Co-ordinator has become an accredited role on screen productions and is now indispensable for shows involving nudity, simulated sex acts, and even intimate contact such as kissing scenes.

Premium drama, in the quest to gain attention in a crowded marketplace, has also ramped up the level of explicit content in shows such as Sex / Life, Industry, Minx, Euphoria, Sex Education.

Bojana Novakovic, who once starred in 2007 brothel drama Satisfaction, says having an Intimacy Co-Ordinator on a drama such as Love Me has improved safety and work conditions for cast and crew. The show has a high level of romance and sex, with Novakovic’s Clara inseparable from Bob Morley’s Peter.

“It’s changed for the better, not just for us as performers, but for the people watching it and for the better of how we portray intimacy,” she tells TV Tonight.

“We worked with Amy Cater, who is a phenomenal Intimacy Co-ordinator. Her approach to intimacy is not just ‘How do you guys physically do something?’

“The conversation starts with ‘How are these people feeling? What are they expressing to each other and how are we going to physicalise that?’ Sometimes something that was written as a hug, we’ll decide actually needs to be a lot more intimate and ends up a lot more physical. But something that may be written as a sex scene, we decide ‘Actually, they shouldn’t be doing that.’

“We talk in this show in the preparation for that intimacy so openly. You can’t do this with everybody but because Amy is that person, she creates that space. She loves her job, she loves actors, she loves physical connection, she makes the effort, she creates an atmosphere of no judgment.

“For this show, where you have everyone from young 20s to mid 60s doing intimacy scenes, you need someone with her level of maturity and understanding of humans and their emotions and how they’re expressed physically.”

Cater’s (pictured right) credits also include Bad Behaviour, Safe Home, The Clearing, The Newsreader 2 and The Rooster. Her background includes erotic photography, somatic sex education, cabaret performance and adult industry. Her role also serves as a neutral individual who can liaise between departments, especially when time-pressured crews are demanding of talent with sensitive material.

“Intimacy Co-ordinators play a crucial part, not just in how good the sex scenes look or how real they are… but how we map our emotional arcs within the whole season. There’s a lot of physical stuff in this show but I don’t even think about it like that. Whereas in other things I’ve done there’s the show, and ‘this many’ sex scenes,” says Novakovic.

On Love Me intimate scenes were woven so seamlessly into the character arcs that Novakovic doesn’t even recall how many were shot.

“Some of these scenes are not about the physical part, they’re about two people getting along or not… people who are struggling to find each other, or two people not connecting, but it’s done physically,” she explains.

“Amy’s ability to talk about things like that and base it in feelings is incredible.

“And also a big shout out to Bob (Morely) as well. The way that he works with Amy and her leadership is really amazing. I’ve actually never had that experience doing intimacy before. I hope I have it in every job.”

You can also hear a podcast with Amy Cater at Screen Australia.

Love Me is now screening on Binge and FOX Showcase.

Photos: Ben King, Screen Australia.

 

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