James Gunn Slaps Back At Sean Bean Over Sex Scenes

The storm keeps raging.

By Michileen Martin | Published

james gunn

This week is starting to look very “Boromir’s last stand” for Sean Bean, though in this case he’s the one who started the dust-up. Earlier this week the Game of Thrones star bemoaned the introduction of intimacy coordinators on productions, saying they ruin the “spontaneity” of sex scenes. The comments had both fans and colleagues responding passionately to the actor, and now writer/director James Gunn is responding to Sean Bean in the classiest way he can; not by tearing down Bean, but by lifting up the people whose jobs Bean is attacking.

Earlier this week, James Gunn took to Twitter to address Sean Bean’s criticisms of intimacy coordinators, writing that “of all the newer positions in the film industry,” intimacy coordinators were the one he was “the most grateful for.” Gunn countered Bean’s claims that their presence ruined spontaneity, saying because the coordinators help all the cast and crew stay “on the same page” as far as what is and isn’t expected — and what is and isn’t acceptable — while filming the scene, the actors “feel MORE free, not less.” You can see his tweets below.

One might try to argue that this is an arena where James Gunn knows less than Sean Bean because intimacy coordinators didn’t start showing up on sets until 2017, and Gunn’s directorial efforts have stayed in the realm of comic book superheroes since 2014. Of course, that would forget exactly what kind of superhero productions Gunn has been a part of. No, it’s not likely intimacy coordinators were needed for either his two already released Guardians of the Galaxy flicks, the one on the way, or this year’s The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special. But he also directed last year’s The Suicide Squad and the majority of Peacemaker‘s inaugural season. The Suicide Squad included a sex scene between Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn and Juan Diego Botto as the ruler of Corto Maltese, while Peacemaker had a couple of (mostly hilarious) sex scenes.

Among the many Twitter users responding to James Gunn’s take on Sean Bean’s comments, Kumail Nanjiani of Eternals fame spoke up, saying that the coordinators make “everyone feel safe.” He added the coordinators’ involvement “[m]akes for a better working environment and, in my opinion, a better scene, because everyone comfortable and that’s when you do your best work.”

A response to one fan seemed to underline exactly why creatives like James Gunn, as opposed to Sean Bean, see intimacy coordinators as a gift rather than a drag. The fan asked Gunn if there were any such coordinators on set for the 2010 indie film Super, saying the filming of a “specific scene” — in which Elliot Page‘s character sexually assaults Rainn Wilson’s — must have been difficult. Since intimacy coordinators came about as a response to #MeToo, they weren’t around much when Super was in production, so as James Gunn writes, he was forced to do some extra work. You can see that exchange below.

James Gunn isn’t the only Hollywood notable to respond to Sean Bean on the subject. As Deadline reports, actors like She-Hulk‘s Jameela Jamil and West Side Story‘s Rachel Zegler responded to the actor, the latter of whom told Bean in her tweet to “wake up.” In fact, Bean’s own Snowpiercer co-star Lena Hall responded, saying she welcomed intimacy coordinators. One of the more controversial things Bean said in the interview that started the brouhaha was when he referred to a sex scene he had shared with Hall, and he described her as seeming “up for anything.”