The social norm is changing these days when it comes to television and rightly so. In August, Variety reported on an interview wherein Game of Thrones actor Sean Bean had espoused his views on the need for intimacy coordinators on set during production, calling them unneccessary.
His comments were not well received and many came forward to speak of the essential need for intimacy coordinators within the industry. Sam Heughan, who stars as the dashing Scottish Highland warrior from Starz’s Outlander, has spoken about an incident earlier in the series which prompted his taking action, and hiring an intimacy coordinator.
Outlander follows the story of a World War II nurse, Claire Randall (Caitriona Balfe) who is mysteriously transported back in time to Scotland in 1743, at the peak of the Jacobite uprising. Claire meets and falls for Heughan’s Jamie Fraser and the pair weather many a storm throughout the series. For those familiar with the show, Outlander does not in any way shy away from depictions of sexual violence, however, per Insider, Heughan revealed that he had felt betrayed by the show’s creative team for a scene that revealed his penis. In his memoir, Waypoints: My Scottish Journey, Heughan felt out of control during the scene and termed it “unnecessary.” Whilst admitting the show was not venturing into new waters, Heughan felt nudity on his part was not necessary for the scene. “This wasn’t a moment where I felt that being naked would add to the horror of what Jamie undergoes in that castle dungeon as a form of punishment, subjugation, and humiliation,” Heughan wrote.
The scene in question involved Heughan’s Jamie being sexually assaulted by his enemy — the first of many throughout the series — Black Jack Randall (Tobias Menzies). Referencing the power of one’s imagination, “The cock shot was unnecessary and did betray my trust in the creative team a bit,” Heughan said. “We don’t need to see the horror to imagine what the characters go through. Imagination is way more powerful.” The actor added that he “pushed back” and “creative conversations” took place. “I pushed back, reasoning that nudity sexualized a horrific experience for my character, and it sparked quite a debate,” Heughan added. “Creative conversations are a feature of all productions, good art is made by questioning the truth and we all want to get it right.”
The result of those conversations resulted in Heughan only appearing naked with those explicit scenes taken out. Filmed in 2014, Heughan believes things “would have been handled differently” if filming such scenes were being done today. Now a producer on the show, Heughan confirms he has hired the series’ first intimacy coordinator. “It’s important that everyone is protected, but also we find a way to explore these scenes and actually maybe get something more out of them,” Heughan said.
Outlander Season 7 does not have a release date yet. Watch a sneak peek of the new season below:
— Outlander (@Outlander_STARZ) June 1, 2022