Kate Winslet has welcomed the introduction of intimacy co-ordinators in the film and TV industry and admitted it was “quite scary and intimidating” to be a young actress involved in nude scenes.
The 45-year-old, who stars in hit HBO crime drama Mare of Easttown, said the industry had improved for women in terms of equal pay and better roles for female performers of all ages since she shot to fame aged 20.
The Hollywood star said the recent introduction of intimacy co-ordinators, who ensure the wellbeing of actors who participate in sex or other intimate scenes, remained vital to the welfare of women on set.
She said Mare of Easttown, in which she plays a troubled detective investigating a murder in a small town near Philadelphia, had been one of the few productions in which she had felt full control over her body image.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, she said: “I think things are changing in terms of equal pay. I think that’s something that is really changing for sure.
“I think great roles for women – we’re seeing a huge increase in terrific roles for women to play, especially women of my age group, actually, which is new.
“And I also think that we have things now that we never had before, like intimacy co-ordinators and for people who don’t know what that person is, an intimacy co-ordinator is someone who helps choreograph intimate moments between actors on screen, and also works with the director to find the right words to communicate what the director might want or need visually from a scene, because it can be very uncomfortable for everyone involved.
“Now, when I was younger, I never had a single person like that. And it’s quite scary and intimidating to be a young person and to find it uncomfortable to even say certain words, be they intimate or a sexual nature.
“Just making those words come out of your mouth when you’re young can be really awkward.
“So now we have intimacy co-ordinators, in fact I think in some countries it’s now become a legal requirement on a film set.
“And also, I think that women in general, actresses in general, are celebrating one another very freely now in ways that feel really good and really grounding and positive and just to use supportive wording.
“That didn’t really exist quite as much when I was younger, and feeling that and hearing that – that’s a big shift.”
Winslet has said both she and director Craig Zobel had been “adamant” about not digitally altering her body on screen.
She said Zobel had assured her that if she “wanted to be specific about how I looked without my clothes on that he understood that too” and that it was her body on screen “for millions to see and not his and that I should be in complete control of how I wanted to present myself physically”.
She added: “But I do feel proud that as a woman in the film industry in her mid-40s, now having been doing this job since I was 17 years old, that I’m being given that space to fully embrace all of these changes that life years have left my face and body with.”