The network on Thursday announced its decision via its public relations Twitter account after Rolling Stone published a story about the pay cable network’s work with Deuce intimacy coordinator Alicia Rodis. “As reported in @RollingStone, all @HBO programs with intimate scenes will be staffed by an intimacy coordinator,” HBO PR tweeted.
Since working on The Deuce, a series about the burgeoning porn industry in New York in the 1970s, Rodis has worked on intimate scenes on Crashing, the upcoming Watchmen series and the Deadwood movie, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed. Rodis is additionally training new intimacy coordinators to be on hand during the production of the upcoming crime drama Jett and the Drake executive-produced high school series Euphoria.
The Deuce star Emily Meade, who plays the prostitute turned porn star Lori on the show, initiated Rodis’ initial hire when she asked the show’s co-creators and HBO for an “advocate purely for sexual scenes,” as she told HBO’s Ashley Morton in an interview. Following the onset of the #MeToo movement, Meade began questioning why stunt coordinators were nearly always on hand for small stunts, but no one had been enlisted to protect those involved in sex scenes.
“When it comes to sexuality, which is one of the most vulnerable things for all humans, men and women, there’s really no system. There’s never been a person required to be there to protect and bring expertise,” she said.
HBO found Rodis via her two-year-old nonprofit Intimacy Directors International, which aims to codify standards for sex scenes in theater and film and protect against sexual abuse on-set. Deuce co-creator David Simon has since told Rolling Stone that he will never work without an intimacy coordinator again.
“Because the truth is, we knew we were asking a lot of actors and directors and crew in terms of professionalism and to deliver this material bluntly and honestly. But you can ask all you want — at a certain point everybody has to trust everybody,” he said.
Rodis’ role on the show initially made headlines when The New York Times published an opinion story from an actress who had played a “female prison guard” in an X-rated movie on The Deuce and worked with Rodis.
“Ms. Rodis made sure I realized what was coming across on camera. I did, and kept going; it was a choice I felt empowered to make,” the author, Margaret Judson, wrote.