Se­crets from the set

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We live for porn ’taches – and you’d bet­ter be­lieve we live for James Franco with a porn ’tache! Thank­fully, the HBO gods – who sure know a hit se­ries when they’re pitched one! – have come to the party, with the ac­tor sport­ing one in a grungy, dark and twisted new TV se­ries à la Big Lit­tle Lies. Set in the ’70s, The Deuce hones in on the seedy streets of New York York, where hook­ers, pimps, bart bar­tenders, cops and hus­tlers not­not-so-har­mo­niously co­ex­ist. Aft After a po­lit­i­cal ef­fort to clean up the streets forces the pimps a and pros­ti­tutes in­doors, mob-con­nected twins V Vin­cent and Frankie Martino (p (played by James) and a p pros­ti­tute named Candy ( Mag­gie Gyl­len­haal) at­tempt to re­shape and le­git­imise the porn in­dus­try, tak­ing it from un­der-the-counter to a bil­lion-dol­lar in­dus­try. “Ev­ery­one re­alises that the money about to be made is go­ing to be real. What hap­pened to those people who were the pioneers and who be­came caught up in it and seized it ag­gres­sively and will­ingly is re­ally fas­ci­nat­ing,” says co-cre­ator David Si­mon – who also gave us The Wire and the post-ka­t­rina, New Or­leans­set drama Treme.

“I was much less in­ter­ested in whether porn was good or bad.”

Here’s ev­ery­thing you need to know about The Deuce... IT’S BASED ON RE­AL­ITY “My char­ac­ter Vin­cent is based on an ac­tual guy who had a twin brother,” spills James.

How­ever, James never got the chance to meet the man – a New York bar­tender – as he passed away be­fore they even shot the pi­lot in 2015.

But he reck­ons his IRL coun­ter­part would be happy with his por­trayal, as he’d al­ways dreamed of his story be­ing made into a TV se­ries.

“[He had] 90 hours of record­ings he did on his own in his liv­ing room, dream­ing of meet­ing some­one like the cre­ator of The Wire to come and t tell his story,” says James.

Even Candy, a pros­ti­tutet turned-porn-pro­ducer, comes f from a place of au­then­tic­ity.

“She’s a mix­ture of about two p people,” says David. “There was a Candy who was a part-time b bar­tender at Vin­cent’s bar who a ac­tu­ally started as a pros­ti­tute/ s street walker.

“There was [also] a woman n named Can­dida Roy­alle... She was some­body who found some agency within the world of porn. [She] started as a per­former but be­came the di­rec­tor and tried, at some crit­i­cal junc­tures, to cre­ate some­thing maybe a lit­tle bit more egal­i­tar­ian.”


TheTh ac­tor, who’s as com­fort­able beh be­hind the cam­era as he is in f front, helms a cou­ple of epis episodes in Sea­son One. But he

says it was Mag­gie’s steamy mo­ments that pro­vided the real magic.

“In ad­di­tion to be­ing just an in­cred­i­ble ac­tress, [Mag­gie] is fear­less, and she re­ally led the charge with how she han­dled the sex scenes and how she han­dled her­self, and re­ally set the tem­plate for ev­ery­one else,” he spills.

“If I didn’t have some­one like her, I think it would have been re­ally, re­ally hard to en­gage in those scenes, but she just made it so easy. She’s fear­less.”


Ms Gyl­len­haal sure did her home­work, vis­it­ing an adult movie set and get­ting tips from sex­perts like le­gendary for­mer sex worker and porn star An­nie Sprin­kle.

“She had some very sim­ple, help­ful in­sights,” spills Mag­gie. “How many people do you f**k a night? What do you do if it’s re­ally cold?”

She was also given a list of ’70s flicks set in New York to watch... and a bunch of smut.

“I thought I’d seen some porn – 1970s porn was way bet­ter!” she says.

What’s more, the ac­tress – who en­joyed small-screen suc­cess in the 2014 minis­eries The Hon­ourable Woman – says her char­ac­ter Eileen will open au­di­ences’ eyes to how sim­i­lar porn is to other forms of act­ing.

“All the sex you see her have, it’s a per­for­mance,” she says.


Hav­ing worked on Break­ing Bad, The Walk­ing Dead, Game Of Thrones and West­world, di­rec­tor Michelle Ma­claren who helms both the sea­son opener and the fi­nale – sees a link be­tween all th­ese hit shows and The Deuce.

“I find it re­ally in­ter­est­ing when char­ac­ters seem to be one thing on the sur­face and we get to find out who they re­ally are un­derneath,” she ex­plains.

View­ers can also ex­pect some se­ri­ously raw sex scenes – along the lines of what Daen­erys Tar­garyen and Khal Drogo, or Jaime and Cer­sei Lan­nis­ter, gave us in Got’s first sea­son.

“There’s not a lot of fan­tasy make-be­lieve go­ing on,” she says. “Just hard­core real people hav­ing sex.”

As for nail­ing those sleazy ’70s porn vibes?

“It was a mas­sive col­lab­o­ra­tion in­spired by re­search from the ’70s, both real pho­to­graphs and movies, many shot by Martin Scors­ese,” adds Michelle.

In­deed, one critic said things are so au­then­tic, you feel “like you’d get an in­fec­tion on set”.

Er, we’ll use pro­tec­tion then!

The Deuce pre­mieres 11am (en­core 8.30pm) Mon­day on Show­case

Mag­gie and James hit the small screen as pioneers of porn!

The Wire’s Gbenga Akin­nagbe plays pimp Larry Brown

Chris Coy (right) from The Walk­ing Dead plays Vin­cent’s kin­dred spirit The Left­overs’

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