The Perverted Intimacy Coordinator

The rise of the profession couldn’t have come at a more perfect time (thank you, Harvey Weinstein). And Keira Knightley was now talking about never allowing a male to direct her in a sex scene again, for fuck’s sake. This was Cassandra’s time to shine in an industry previously uncharted. No one needed to know about her motive for wanting to take on the job, and that it had no correlation to feeling a desire to create “a safe space.” And everything to do with getting aroused not only by watching people “do sex,” but the added mental orgasm of manipulating how they did it. 

She also took on the role of “intimacy choreographer” when she wasn’t coordinating (two very different occupations, Hollywood will have you know), aided by watching plenty of porn, which would have been much to the dismay of the actresses who relied on her for achieving true “projections of intimacy.” She wanted to vomit–as if intimacy could be pantomimed for a camera. One was better off looking to porn for inspiration on that front. At least it was a window into a world that imagined how sex could be, as opposed to how it really was: disgusting, desperate and embarrassing. Cassandra ought to know–she had fucked enough men in her day to understand something about sex that no other “good girl” seemed to. It had absolutely nothing to do with intimacy or “chemistry.” It was just a guy getting off inside your hole, which honestly, could have been any hole as far as his pleasure was concerned. 

But the film and TV industry still made its living on peddling lies, and the assurance that sex was intimate (even in a movie like Shame) was one of the greatest of them all. The bread and butter of any storyline, if you will. Cassandra was just glad she didn’t end up getting the job on Bridgerton. What a crock of shit. They even somehow managed to make the Duke of Hastings look as though he was enjoying his rape. That’s how deep the ruse of “intimacy” must go. 

As she sat in one of the trailers on location in New Mexico for a film production called Anna Goes Bananas (a movie about an attractive zoologist who falls for an ape), she poured herself a bit of whiskey into her coffee. She knew it was a cliche and a rather gross combination, but it got the job done. And the job needing to be done was to make her forget about her own, as she found it to be increasingly demoralizing in its disingenuousness. This movie, too, was just such a goddamn farce. She was actually coordinating for scenes of Anna (played by an up-and-coming actress–aren’t they all?–named Diana Fontaine) and the ape, who were to share many “intimate” moments. Mainly consisting of the ape grunting and beating his chest in between grabbing his pendulous penis in excitement every time he sees Anna. Cassandra honestly didn’t understand how it was that she could never get a screenplay produced, yet this was the sort of thing that made the cut in people with money’s eyes. 

Oh well, why be a screenwriter when you could participate in the Hollywood scheme of making actors feel “safe”? Despite everyone knowing that even with Harvey gone, there were other unavoidable fates at stake now. At least in Harvey’s day, there was money to be made in “the biz.” Now it was nothing but an endless paper chase, just hoping your project could curry enough favor with one of the streaming services. And nobody, anywhere, seemed to actually have any money. So low-budget projects like Anna Goes Bananas get made, appealing to the inner freak inside every viewer, who just wants to see fucked up shit, yet also simultaneously be reassured that they themselves are not a perv. Again, enter “intimacy coordinating.” Designed solely to make everyone involved feel “at ease” when the fact of the matter was, there was nothing “assuring” about a load of actors pretending to shoot their load for a camera that audiences would, in turn, get off on themselves. 

It was all part of this theater of the absurd called “Hollywood Tells Itself It’s Moral.” When that, of course, was never the point of Hollywood. It was a town founded upon the idea of total, uninhibited freedom and Caligula-level sexual debauchery. Or, at least Nero-level, if Quo Vadis is anything to go by. The inaugural Hollywood “superspectacle” set in Ancient Rome (a favorite backdrop of the studios for decades to come), the film was the first of its kind, employing five thousand extras and expensive set designs that were often put to good use after hours as well (Enrico Guazzoni only knows what kind of orgies went on). Masterpieces were subsequently created for an entire century without the help of an intimacy coordinator. Which was funny considering that the “moral majority” composed of one, Will H. Hays, should have been just as obsessed with the emotional well-being of the actors feigning “love” onscreen as he was with omitting any “wanton” sexual behavior. Alas, it took another Fatty Arbuckle in the form of Weinstein to send the Hollywood scene in the same straightjacketing direction of self-censorship that occurred post-Arbuckle. The town gets so scandalized by its true nature sometimes that it has to run the other way from it. As though it was ever designed to be a beacon of morality. Quite the opposite. 

Could Andy Warhol have been deemed an intimacy coordinator, what with his gentle, dulcet tones toward Edie and her co-star du jour? Imagine telling Erich von Stroheim he had to have an intimacy coordinator. These thoughts absolutely tickled Cassandra, who couldn’t stop laughing as she poured herself another splash of whiskey. It would be time to go out there and face them soon, pretend this bullshit job wasn’t just another sign that filmmaking was going down the toilette. If anything, having a “supervisor” over your mimed sex acts only made things all the more awkward and less authentic. So be it, if that’s what they needed to soothe themselves–to “purge” of the industry’s past sins. But they didn’t yet know she had another “move” in mind for Anna and the ape to try out for the camera. One so subtly obscene it could easily eke by in the editing room before they had a chance to censor Cassandra’s subversion.

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