‘the Great’ Intimacy Coordinator Wants More Kissing for Old Characters

  • Katharine Hardman, the intimacy coordinator on “The Great” season two, recently spoke with Insider. 
  • Hardman worked on a kissing scene with Ninette Finch, who plays Shakey. Finch is in her 80s.
  • Hardman hopes to see “more kissing scenes” and “full-on sex scenes” for actors over 70. 

Warning: Spoilers ahead for season two of Hulu’s “The Great.”

After the intimacy coordinator on “The Great” worked on a kissing scene with Ninette Finch, an actress in her 80s, she felt there should be more opportunities for senior performers to portray intimate on-screen moments. 

Finch guest stars on episodes five and six, “Animal Instincts” and “A Simple Jape,” as Shakey, a servant that Catherine The Great (Elle Fanning) and Lady Marial (Phoebe Fox) dress up as an aristocrat. While pretending to be the empress’ honorable guest Anastasia, the court’s wet nurse plants a kiss on the nobleman seated beside her.

“We were just like, ‘This is brilliant.’ That should be happening all the time,” Katharine Hardman, the intimacy coordinator on the show’s second season, told Insider, continuing, “She was like, ‘This is my first kissing scene!’”

the great ninette finch

Ninette Finch plays Shakey on “The Great” season two.


Prior to filming, Finch sat down for a conversation with Hardman, who has one-on-one check-ins with all the actors, regardless of how big or small their role. She ensures that performers’ boundaries and expectations for the show’s intimate scenes are clear.

The actors also sign waivers detailing the level of nudity they’re comfortable with ahead of shooting.

“We had a big conversation beforehand where she was telling me about how when she was starting out, it was a whole rule that you had to keep one foot on the ground. As soon as the second foot comes off, falling onto the bed, you cut,” Hardman recalled. 

Then, she took a moment to marvel at the progress made in the on-screen depictions of intimacy in film and TV. 

“I was just like, ‘Isn’t it amazing? The difference between how cinema has come along, and TV especially, and what we do enjoy watching now?’” Hardman told Insider. 

Finch’s acting career began in 1999, the year she retired from her post as a bank cashier. She began taking roles as extras in productions including the “Harry Potter” films and “Downton Abbey” before landing credited roles in shows like “Ted Lasso” and “The Great.”

According to The Daily Mail, Finch has appeared in more than 1,000 films, TV series, and advertisements. 

Hardman’s experience with the actress on the set of “The Great” convinced the intimacy coordinator that “we need more kissing scenes of people who are over 70.” 

“We need full-on sex scenes, please,” she added. 

catherine shakey marial

Catherine, Shakey, and Marial on season two of “The Great.”


Working with Finch stood out as a season-two highlight for Fox as well. Her character, Marial, interrupts Shakey’s kiss, telling her disguised servant to tone down the antics.

“I loved the stuff I got to do with a character called Shakey, who’s played by an actress who only became an actress in her 60s,” Fox told Insider. 

She continued, “There’s a scene where she is just full-on making out with a guy in his late 20s, early 30s. There’s this one line where I lean in and I’m like, ‘Ease up, you fucking whore.’”

“It’s like speaking like that to your grandmother! It was so amazing.”

Season two of “The Great” is currently available to stream on Hulu.

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