Naked truth about Sat­is­fac­tion star

Dustin Clare called on male sex work­ers to get him­self into char­ac­ter for Sat­is­fac­tion, writes Ge­off Shearer

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Front Page -

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.

Lo­gie nom­i­nee:

Dustin Clare plays the on-off love in­ter­est of Nat (Kestie Mo­rassi), who runs an up­mar­ket brothel.

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