Scene 2 Seen Podcast: Intimacy Coordinator Brooke M. Haney On The Language Of Intimacy In Hollywood

Hello, and welcome to the Scene 2 Seen Podcast! I am your host Valerie Complex, associate editor and film writer at Deadline. Today, I’m chatting with author and intimacy coordinator Brooke M. Haney, one of the first 50 intimacy coordinators recognized as qualified by SAG-AFTRA.

Haney has worked all over the world in theater, film, TV and academia. They are the creator of The Actor’s Warm Down, a 20-minute closure practice for actors working on difficult material, and the editor of The Intimacy Coordinator’s Guidebook: Specialties for Stage and Screen.

They have worked across TV with the likes of CBS, Paramount+, Warner Bros, Disney, Prime Video, HBO, 20th Century Fox and more. They also love working in film; some of their favorites include Birder, She’s Clean, Herd, Ponyboi and Irish Exit (produced by Oscar winners Trevon Free and Nicholas Maye, and starring Zaria). Haney has taught workshops at Vassar College, Syracuse University, NYU, University of Central Florida, Ventura College, Missouri State and Marymount Manhattan College, where they also taught for eight years.

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As for Haney’s The Intimacy Coordinator’s Guidebook, it reveals how intimacy coordinators use their cultural competencies and specialties to create the most compelling storytelling. The job requires competency in the language of choreography — every move performed for the camera or a live audience, from a passionate kiss to a chilling assault, is meticulously choreographed, just like a dance or a fight scene — along with training in tools like modesty garments and props. It also features other intimacy coordinators’ stories and includes conversations with Olivia Luccardi (a producer and actress who played Melissa in The Deuce, the first television show to employ an intimacy coordinator), Tai Leshaun (Thunder Force and The Other Black Girl), Becca Blackwell (a trans actor, performer and writer), Jimmy Smits (NYPD Blue, Sons of Anarchy) and others. Chapters also explore:

  • Working with minors, ethically and effectively, with an understanding of developmental psychology, privacy concerns and legal aspects.

  • Nudity, attention to each actor’s emotional and physical comfort levels, and proficiency in working with prosthetics and modesty garments.

  • Intimacy and disability, including an awareness of and sensitivities to non-apparent disabilities. (For example, Selena Gomez has lupus, Orlando Bloom has dyslexia, and Daniel Radcliffe lives with dyspraxia, a neurological condition that impairs movement and coordination.)

  • Working with overweight actors, Black Americans and Queer intimacy, including the mechanics of positioning, gear and toys.

  • Stories of trauma and acts of sexual violence, with an awareness of triggers among cast members, the ability to choreograph disturbing scenes, and more.

In this episode, Haney and I discuss the guidebook, the training needed to become an intimacy coordinator, and how the language of intimacy has changed over time in Hollywood.

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