Michael Caine Questions Need for Intimacy Coordinators

The actor seemed skeptical about their growing presence

Michael Caine
Michael Caine waits in a lobby of hotel Thermal prior the presentation of his film Best Sellers during the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.
MICHAL CIZEK/AFP via Getty Images

There was a moment not long ago when, doing press for the film Poor Things, director Yorgos Lanthimos made an emphatic defense of the importance of intimacy coordinators. Lanthimos opted for an eminently pragmatic argument: that working with a skilled intimacy coordinator makes it clear why having someone with those skills on hand on a film or television set is important.

Unfortunately, not everyone in the film and television industry agrees. Actor Frank Langella has written that he finds the concept of intimacy coordinators unnecessary – though Langella’s disagreement with one such professional appears to be at the heart of his getting fired from the miniseries The Fall of the House of Usher. Now, another critically acclaimed actor of Langella’s generation has also inveighed against intimacy coordinators: namely, Michael Caine.

Over the course of an interview with The Daily Mail, Caine made his skepticism clear. “We never had that in my day. Thank god I’m 90 and don’t play lovers anymore is all I can say,” Caine told The Daily Mail. “In my day you just did the love scene and got on with it without anyone interfering. It’s all changed.”

Admittedly, Caine’s heyday as a romantic lead was a period when onscreen romances were less explicit than they are now. Nonetheless, that was also a time of heightened sexism in most spheres, the film and television industry among them.

Later in the same interview, Caine noted his frustration at “[n]ot being able to speak your mind and not being able to call anyone ‘darling’.” (That said, Caine also stated that he has tried to be mindful of his language and that he “[likes] to learn from friends who are younger than me.”)

How On-Set “Intimacy Coordinators” Are Helping to Fix a Broken Entertainment Industry
Ita O’Brien is at the forefront of a new era of communication, boundaries and consent in film and television production

Obviously, there’s a big difference between Langella’s opposition to intimacy coordinators and Caine’s — Langella was addressing his own interaction with one, while Caine is speaking more in the abstract. Still, it’s evidence of a generational divide in the industry, at least relative to one part of that industry that seems to be in the spotlight.

The InsideHook Newsletter.

News, advice and insights for the most interesting person in the room.