Naked truth about Satisfaction star
Dustin Clare called on male sex workers to get himself into character for Satisfaction, writes Geoff Shearer
IT’S THE sort of research project you wouldn’t discuss with your mother. Spending hours hanging out with male sex workers in Melbourne and discussing everything in the spectrum between love and lust helped Dustin Clare flesh out his Logie Award-nominated role of Sean in the steamy drama series Satisfaction.
Not only did he pick up physical characteristics and costume tips from the research, he also managed to get an insight into how these men approach their careers as gigolos.
‘‘There are certain things they had and said that fed into Sean, like their confidence, their bravado and that confidence with their sexuality,’’ Clare says.
‘‘But emotionally, I also took things from these guys — like intimacy and the blocks they had about talking about love and their exploration of love and what relationships meant to them.
‘‘Because of their line of work, how they view relationships is skewed compared with how you or I might view it.’’
His conversations with gigolos and booking agents also brought to light information that has been used in storylines for series three of the drama.
Satisfaction follows a small band of fictitious sex workers who operate out of 232, an upmarket establishment somewhere in Melbourne managed by Sean’s on-again-off-again love interest Nat (Kestie Morassi).
Chloe (Diana Glenn) and Heather (Peta Sergeant) from season two have been replaced by troubled university student Amy (Camille Keenan) and Tess (Renai Caruso), a high-powered PA who leaves her career after having an affair with her married boss.
Also among the cast are Madeleine West as Sean’s sister Mel and Alison Whyte, who is a standout as working girl Lauren.
But it’s Sean and Nat’s relationship that has been coming in for the lion’s share of storylines this season.
‘‘Last series was all about setting Sean up, getting the audience to warm to him and enjoy him, and now we’re gonna untangle him and work him him out,’’ Clare says.
Stripping him bare is also part of the plan.
But Clare dismisses the criticism that the show’s nudity and sex scenes lead it close to being soft porn. ‘‘We play sex workers so it would be a disservice not to show the workers in their environment,’’ he says.
‘‘There is one side of the industry that is the hardline drugs and corruption and crime, but I think Australian television has told a lot of those stories.
‘‘Our producers and writers wanted to be involved in the other side, which is kind of a fantasy world. The characters are involved in this fantasy aspect. Drugs do play some role in the show, at points, but we don’t go down that path.’’ CLARE says he is comfortable with the sex scenes he films — ‘‘I’m a veteran of them now’’ — and ensures he makes the women he works with feel at ease.
‘‘I’m fine with that because I’m doing it every day and these actresses are coming in and they have men and women standing around them and you have to make them feel comfortable, make them feel safe in a working environment,’’ he says.
‘‘Everything is taken seriously. A lot of work goes into a sex scene. It’s like blocking a fight scene or a dance. The director has to understand how he wants us to cover it and we have to come up with ... a dance really, that works with the coverage.’’
And when he does have his clothes on as Sean, Clare has to be one of the best-dressed men on television. It’s all silky, open-neck shirts and tight black trousers.
‘‘The Satisfaction wardrobe is outstanding. Christopher Chronis of Melbourne has done two of my suits and quite a few of my shirts,’’ Clare enthuses.
Outside of Satisfaction, Clare is involved in the production company Fighting Chance Films, which he formed with Clarke Richards. They currently have three short films under their belt, two features in production and are pitching a 13-part TV series.
Dustin Clare plays the on-off love interest of Nat (Kestie Morassi), who runs an upmarket brothel.