Firefly Lane's Katherine Heigl Was A Little Weirded Out The First Time An Intimacy Coordinator Was On Set, But Says She Changed Her Tune

Katherine Heigl in Firefly Lane
(Image credit: Netflix)

Following various reports of sexual misconduct in the workplace coming to light in the past few years, including in Hollywood, intimacy coordinators have become more routinely found on the sets of movies and television shows, including Firefly Lane. With Season 2 of the Netflix series among the streamer’s latest releases, Katherine Heigl has recently spoken about her own first encounter with an intimacy coordinator.

The reaction to intimacy coordinators has yielded mixed results as they’ve been utilized on more sets in recent years. Here is Heigl's take: 

The industry has really changed since I first started out. An example: For Firefly Lane, we had an intimacy coordinator on set — a person whose job it is to ensure that actors feel comfortable during intimate scenes. She'd talk to directors, producers, whoever, and say, ‘This is what they'll do, and this is what they won't’ — and then the actors don't get asked again. I'd never even heard of that before.

Heigl, who also had a memorable stint on Grey’s Anatomy, has been a working actress for the past 30 years, since she was a teenager. In an interview with Business Insider, she shared more about her experience with intimacy coordinators, continuing with these words: 

At first I was a little like, ‘Hey, I've been around the block a few times; I don't need this kind of attention.’ But then I was like, ‘Hell yeah! That's how it should be.’ It was such a blessing.

As Heigl said, having an intimacy coordinator on set took some getting used to, but ultimately she thinks it’s a “blessing” to have someone on set to work with the actors, and make sure everyone is comfortable and being treated fairly. Since actors play characters who are often in intimate circumstances, including showing nudity or simulating affection and sex, the lines could be blurred between business and pleasure at times. These coordinators help make sure everything stays professional. 

Sean Bean was an actor who went viral for saying intimacy coordinators can “spoil the spontaneity” of sex scenes on set, causing a lot of backlash from many in Hollywood. Emma Thompson was one example of an actor who shared how “important” having an intimacy coordinator on the set, especially for her recent film, Good Luck To You, Leo Grande, where she had both nudity and sex scenes. 

Lauren Graham recently shared that she felt bad for the intimacy coordinator on the set of her family-friendly Mighty Ducks series since all that needed coordinating was a harmless kiss between her and Josh Duhamel. However, she also echoed the statements of Heigl’s about how great it is to see the industry being more respectful to delicate situations compared to how it was handled even five and ten years ago. 

In the interview, Heigl also spoke to a “delicacy” in Hollywood nowadays that she didn’t sense when she first started in the industry. In 2022, she feels it's easier for her to speak for herself and advocate for better work conditions. 

Heigl’s latest project, Firefly Lane has returned for its second season after last year’s cliffhanger ending at the end of Season 1. The series is based on the book of the same name, and it “swept” Heigl off her feet after not knowing what story she wanted to tell next in her career. You can stream the series centered on two best friends with a Netflix subscription

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.