The Girlfriend Experience starring Sasha Grey screens at Sundance

Sasha Grey, starring in The Girlfriend Experience

As you probably know, porn star Sasha Grey (link to Wikipedia) is starring in Steven Soderbergh’s new film The Girlfriend Experience, which just screened at Sundance.

More on the film itself from Defamer:

Starring 20-year-old porn princess Sasha Grey amid a strong cast of non-actors (including former Premiere movie critic Glenn Kenny in a hilarious, disturbing cameo as a talky sex-trade connoisseur), Experience follows elite New York escort Chelsea through the routines and rigors of ambition, love and lifestyle. While she and her gym-trainer boyfriend Chris (Chris Santos) strive for a more sizable slice of the American Dream — even as the economy contracts violently around them — their relationship erodes to a stalemate. The presidential election, the recession and each lover’s unwavering career-mindedness coalesce into a nonlinear cocktail of modern dread, made all the more potent by Soderbergh’s still, chilly camerawork and Grey’s compounding vulnerability.

From an interview with Sasha Grey by Las Vegas Weekly:

“I never sought any of these projects out,” she said Friday at the Adult Entertainment Expo, “and I’ve been very fortunate enough and very, very, very grateful to have people come to me and seek me out, I believe, because of my own interest in film and music, because it stretches much further than a James Bond (film) or radio music.” …

“There might be more people who are career-driven, who realize this isn’t just another job,” she said. “It’s something that really can go further. And people with a desire like that, nothing can stop them. It’s only a matter of time before more and more acceptance happens. More and more of the girls getting in the business these days are smarter and have this drive in them. It’s a select group, but there are a lot more of them than there used to be.”

BlackBook interviews Soderbergh:

Did you feel like you trained her as an actor at all?
Oh, absolutely. She was really smart about it. She found exactly the right balances. Sort of doing her homework and being prepared, but not imposing … It’s a tricky thing, the way these movies (like
Bubble) are made, because I want as much of them as I can get. But you’re working from sort of a detailed outline. You’re doing these sort-of improvisations that have bullet points. When we were done with something, she would immediately go into her notebook and write down everything that she heard and everything that she said. ‘Cause she knew that a couple days later there might be some reference to it, and you need to remember the world of movies as we do in our lives. And she was really diligent about that, and it really paid off.

When did you get the idea to start working with Sasha?
I read this article in
Los Angeles Magazine two years ago. She’s seen a ton of movies, and she’s really inquisitive. She’s interesting, she’s really interesting. She’s got a quality that’s totally unique. I mean, she really delivered. She was great.

from the MTV Movies Blog:

Given that Grey is experienced in having sex on screen, was Soderbergh tempted to have the actress perform unsimulated sex acts in the movie? No, says the director. “I guess I felt like that’s been done. That boundary has been broken. I don’t want that to distract. But I was looking for someone who was comfortable in scenes that were sexual. There’s a scene early on where she’s watching a guy get undressed and she’s standing there. She’s almost undressed already and the look on her face is fantastic. I don’t know how to describe it. She is absolutely in her element. That only comes from being in situations like that and being in control. She looks comfortable and in control. You can see it on her face. Its kind of awesome.”

Vulture on sex flicks at Sundance:

Before each screening at Sundance, one of several short promos, featuring various filmmakers being interviewed about the festival, runs. One of these has John Waters saying, “You could probably make a porno film and get it into Sundance!” This is ostensibly meant to be funny and sorta hyperbolic, but the fest has indeed shown some films in the past that came pretty damned close: 2006’s Destricted, for example, was an omnibus film with various auteurs taking a stab at erotica. And who can forget 2005’s fuck-fest, 9 Songs?

Luckily, this year’s festival is no slouch in the sex department. We can confirm that the Bret Easton Ellis adaptation, The Informers, handled the downturn in the indie-financing arena by entirely excising Amber Heard’s wardrobe from its budget, and that the competition title Unmade Beds gives us exactly the kind of naked-young-polyglot bed-hopping that we had hoped to find when we backpacked to Europe back in [date deleted]. The Ashton Kutcher gigolo flick Spread was apparently no slouch in the T&A department, either. And, of course, there’s Humpday, the dudes-make-a-gay-porn-flick that’s been one of the big hits of the fest. We can’t confirm that there’s that much explicit sex in the gay-prison-love movie I Love You Philip Morris, but it does feature Ewan McGregor, whose schlong once had its own development deal, so who knows.

And to bring this back around to Best Sex Writing 2009, contributor Susannah Breslin recently ran an American Apparel ad on her blog Reverse Cowgirl featuring Sasha Grey (the new American Apparel ad features someone else). Here’s Sarah Estrella at Examiner.com on Grey and her mainstream potential:

There have been porn crossovers before Sasha Grey, some of them finding huge mainstream succeess, but the self-proclaimed “existentialist porn star” is somehow different, in ways that (yes, please) threaten to bring down all kinds of barriers and taboos. Hell, having seen some of what else she’s capable of in her other work I feel silly even having to label these images NSFW and crop them for the Examiner.com audience but, then again, where do you draw the line?

Perhaps Sasha Grey can help move this imaginary line in the sand which all businesses must eventually dance around to determine how much sex really does sell versus how far societal buttons can be pushed in some new way? This isn’t just some sexy model wearing some socks, after all: Sasha Grey is one of the most foul-mouthed females in hardcore porn, and she’s somehow managed to take ownership of her own exploitation and twist it around into something like a feminist statement.

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