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Kristen Stewart praises intimacy coordinator on ‘Love Lies Bleeding,’ says past sex scenes have been a ‘free-for-all’

Kristen Stewart enjoyed working with an intimacy coordinator on her new movie Love Lies Bleeding, telling Yahoo Entertainment that she credits the position with eliminating the “free-for-all” kind of sex scenes she encountered in her earlier films.

The 33-year-old actress stars with Katy O’Brian, 35, in the romantic crime thriller directed by Rose Glass. The film has received positive reviews since its January premiere at the Sundance Film Festival with critics highlighting the pair’s electric chemistry. While Stewart has said her sex scenes with O’Brian will shock people, she credits their intimacy coordinator with helping the scenes look real — and “hot.”

In Love Lies Bleeding, Stewart plays Lou, a gym manager who falls hard for Jackie, an ambitious bodybuilder (played by O’Brian) who is passing through town. The two have multiple intimate scenes that will have people talking. The role of an intimacy coordinator is somewhat controversial in Hollywood, but O’Brian says it was “cool” to work with one.

“It felt free,” she tells Yahoo. “I know people are like, ‘Oh, it just hinders what you can do’ and didn’t.”

“No, I was into it,” adds Stewart. “It’s almost like having a nice open conversation about like what you all want and then, so you can have really good sex.”

That hasn’t always been Stewart’s experience while filming sex scenes.

“I’ve always just been sort of thrown into [sex scenes],” Stewart tells Yahoo Entertainment, adding that she was not very familiar with the role an intimacy coordinator played on set before this film.

“Every scene usually is just — they begin kissing, maybe someone says something, they fall down, they begin to make love. And then you’re like, cool so it’s just a free-for-all, huh? Like, no one knows where anything’s going? We didn’t do it like that at all,” she says. “There’s a precision to the scene, there’s a real power play dynamic thing happening, and so in order for that to really land and not us just being self-conscious face-smushers, it was directed pretty finitely.”

Katy O'Brian, left, and Kristen StewartKaty O'Brian, left, and Kristen Stewart

Katy O’Brian, left, and Kristen Stewart star in Love Lies Bleeding. (A24)

According to SAG-AFTRA, an intimacy coordinator “is an advocate, a liaison between actors and production, and a movement coach and/or choreographer in regards to nudity and simulated sex and other intimate and hyper-exposed scenes.”

Stewart says she’s lucky to be at the stage in her career where she gets to make the movies she wants to make, not the ones she has to make.

“I read the script and just thought it was really bold, and scary, and funny, and hot and a movie that felt like from a different time,” she says.

While Love Lies Bleeding is from a different time — it’s set in the ’80s — there was something about telling this queer story that spoke to her.

“In the ’80s, there was an audaciousness and like a sort of lack of fear. I don’t know, not lack of fear, just sort of an intensity that we’ve lost a bit. Like our edges have been dulled a bit in trying to be more considerate and nice to each other — which I am all about. But also we are monsters because we’re humans,” she says. “It’s important to not make movies about, especially queer people, that are strictly just sort of just teaching lessons and trying to be good all around, moral compass people. So I was like this is good, this is fun.”

Stewart publicly came out on Saturday Night Live in 2017 and has embraced being a role model to many LBGTQ people.

“I didn’t even know what the movie was going to be,” she says. “I was just like, I think this filmmaker is someone to support and that’s why I did.”

Love Lies Bleeding will be released in theaters on Friday, March 8.

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