Earlier this week, Yellowjackets’ Christina Ricci stopped by The View to talk about the highs and lows of her long acting career—specifically when it comes to filming sex scenes. Ricci, who noted she’s been acting for nearly 35 years now, expressed relief that working conditions for young actors have improved. But in her own experience, she recalled not being so lucky.
“Someone threatened to sue me once because I didn’t want to do this sex scene in a certain way,” Ricci said. She previously referenced the incident last summer in conversation with Sydney Sweeney for Variety. Ricci didn’t get specific about which project she was working on at the time, who threatened her, or what she was asked to do. But ultimately, as she told Sweeney in June: “It was fine. I didn’t do it anyway. And they didn’t sue me.”
Nonetheless, the incident seems to have given Ricci a deeper appreciation for relatively recent change in the industry, especially for women. “Us older ladies talk about it all the time. It’s amazing to see that they don’t have to necessarily go through the things that we had to go through,” Ricci said on The View. “They’re able to say, ‘I don’t want to do this sex scene,’ ‘I’m not going to be naked.’”
She continued, “They can set boundaries for themselves that we were never allowed to do. Now that it’s more of their choice instead of something you’re forced to do, then you can get into the artistry of it or know how important it is for the story.” In contrast, Ricci said, “When you take away somebody’s control over something like that, it just makes you never want to do it.”
Ricci’s comments then prompted a conversation on among The View hosts about intimacy coordinators, who play a substantial role in making workplaces less terrifying and exploitative for actors—especially young actors—today. One intimacy coordinator, Jessica Steinrock, echoed Ricci’s observations last month, telling Jezebel that, not so long ago, “There was a lot of this culture of ‘if you won’t do it, there’s 100 other people who will,’ this pressure to say yes constantly in order to stay relevant and in the project.”
Steinrock also explained that her purpose on set is “to facilitate the vision of the director within the boundaries of the actors, and the parameters of the set as a whole.” To Ricci’s point, Steinrock noted that when actors feel comfortable and safe, this is to the benefit of the scenes they create. Normal People, famously one of the steamier shows presented to us in lockdown, was also one of the first to pull the curtain back on the intimacy coordinator process.
Other actors have also spoken out about harmful experiences filming nude or sexual scenes years ago. Where Ricci faced the threat of a lawsuit for declining to film a scene like this, last week, Sharon Stone said she was punished for filming one. The actor claimed that her nude scene in Basic Instinct in 1992 led her to lose custody of her son.
I’m certainly glad to hear from Ricci that conditions in this industry are changing, and I’m also glad there’s growing knowledge of the work of intimacy coordinators, who are increasingly in demand on film sets since the rise of MeToo, Steinrock said. Many women—and men!—who have praised working conditions around sex scenes in recent years have attributed much of this progress to intimacy coordinators.