While having dinner with a friend of mine the other day, an extremely attractive woman entered the restaurant. Upon her arrival, I (along with the majority of the other male patrons) immediately stopped mid-conversation and watched her take a seat in the adjacent booth. She was your prototypical California beauty. Beach blonde hair extensions. Caramelized skin tone. Surgically “enhanced” figured.
But there was something else. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I recognized her from something. Was she a model? Had she been on television or in a movie I’d seen? It bugged me the entire meal. So I just kept looking over at her.
And that’s when it hit me… oh my God.
SHE’S A PORNSTAR.
And she saw it. I knew who she was. And she knew I knew who she was. And we had a brief moment where we both understood a part of each other’s lives I suspect neither of us wanted to talk about. So I meekly smiled at her… and turned back to my panini.
“Who is that?” my friend asked. Oh great. Now I had to decide very quickly how far down this slippery slope I wanted to go. By confessing my knowledge of the woman’s identity, I would not only be exposing myself but revealing the degree of my familiarity by my ability to pick her out a crowd. “Not sure.” I lied. My friend went back to his meal before taking one last look.
“Huh. She kinda looks like that pornstar.” And I laughed.
For better or worse, the world of pornography creeps further and further into the mainstream each and every day. Some people believe this to be a good thing. That this country’s two hundred year “out of sight, out of mind” puritanical approach to sexuality has only helped to propagate a back world of infidelity and sexual abuse. Others simply see it as the degradation of society and gradual decline of moral values. But either way, the tide is already rolling in and nothing illustrates this better than Steven Soderbergh’s upcoming film THE GIRLFRIEND EXPERIENCE.
One of the most powerful and influential directors working in Hollywood today, Soderbergh has always gone out of his way to maintain his indy roots. For every “Ocean’s Eleven” or “Erin Brokovich”, he couples it with a micro budget film focusing on a very simple subject matter. BUBBLE, for instance, detailed the day-to-day lives of three co-workers laboring away at a doll factory. By casting real life employees in the leads, Soderbergh was able to achieve a specific style and authenticity that helped the film overcome its rather mundane storyline. So when his latest project examined the life of a high-class call girl, Soderbergh once again stepped outside of the box and found his lead in a porn star named SASHA GREY.
Though I have not seen the finished film, the casting itself raises two particular issues. Not only does it give Soderbergh an actress who is obviously comfortable with the sexuality required for the role (though I hear there are no actual sex scenes), it also provides him with someone who can give the performance the realistic weight it will require to ascend beyond a B-level skin flick. What the film may lose in acting chops, it will gain in its unique ability to straddle the line between documentary and narrative.
Secondly, it furthers Hollywood’s growing inclusion of porn stars. What started with the casting of Traci Lords on 90210 several years ago has come full circle with Kevin Smith’s recent “Zack and Miri make a Porno”. Sex will always sell so it only makes sense that Hollywood finally include those who do it for a living.
I don’t know if the day will ever come where Hollywood starlets are routinely plucked from the fringes of the internet, but with each girl that goes “legit”, the less I have to worry about who I recognize at dinner.
Hit me back. Until next time…