Sasha Grey is a renaissance woman. Not only does she pay the rent doing what most people do for fun (or babies), she also happens to be an intelligent and ambitious 21 year-old creative. And with her starring performance in Steven Soderbergh’s newest film, The Girlfriend Experience, she’s now officially under the mainstream microscope.
Screen Junkies had the good fortune to be invited to the film’s press junket, where Grey discussed such subjects as juggling porn and indie film, the odds of starring alongside teenybopper celebs, and her soon-to-be produced adult script, The F&%k Junkie. If we ever start a porn column on this site, we now have a name.
SASHA GREY, on her first meeting with Steven Soderbergh:
I knew I was big fan. I’m not 14 anymore, so I don’t know every little detail about the people I admire necessarily anymore… My first meeting [with Soderbergh] was really exciting, and I felt like a bumbling little kid.”
On switching into mainstream film and how that will affect her adult career:
Right now, I think I want to do both. I think it’s unprecedented that a woman from the adult industry has been able to juggle both at the same time and play the non-eponymous character in more than just one film. So I think the climate is right, and if people enjoy what I do outside of the adult films that there is room for growth and there is room for opportunity.”
I’m locked to shoot a film in August; I have the lead role, and I don’t play a sex worker. I also have two other scripts I was just offered… There have been very few women to do both at the same time; usually women quit and go “I’m a redeemed sinner, it’s ok that I hate porn now and you can all accept me!” I think that’s bullshit.
On her production company, Grey Art:
Well again I’d like to do both [mainstream and adult film], I don’t think it’s been done to its fullest potential. I enjoy the challenge of people saying no to me, and me proving them wrong. That’s just kind of my natural personality.
On studio heads accepting an adult film actress as legitimate:
I’ve been taking it in baby steps right now. People have been very accepting of it, mostly because of the pairing of her name with Soderbergh’s.
On mainstream films she thinks she might do:
I don’t think I’ll be cast as Zac Efron’s girlfriend in his next movie. I’m not going to do a teen movie, and I’m okay with that.
On her training in acting, and being a huge film geek:
I studied acting from the ages of 12-18. One of my most influential theater teachers, one of his things was you should be watching one film per week, minimum. And I was like “well, what film am I supposed to watch?” F*ckin’ Street Fighter? No! That’s not going to build your character or hone your craft as an actor.
Which directors does she admire/want to work with?
Godard, Cassavettes, Catherine Brouillex. I don’t know if I’d like to work with Godard; sometimes the mystery is better than the truth. With the case of Steven, it was both good, so I was lucky to get that opportunity. Out of all people I know, this is out of left field, but John Carpenter. I have a weird obsession with him, and I think it’d be really fun to work with him. And um, David Gordon Green.
Was sex planned in The Girlfriend Experience?
Uh, he never really said whether there would be a sex scene or not, but in the outline it did say for three different scenes, sex scene with Chris, sex scene with Client B, sex scene with the hobbyist. So you never really knew, but I think on the fifth day of shooting I really didn’t think there was going to be sex in this because it would have happened by now. If there was to be one, it kind of goes back to what [co-star] Chris [Santos] said; I trusted Steven. I knew he would do it so the sex scene itself would be in context to the story, it wouldn’t just be sex for the sake of sex. Was I relieved that there wasn’t one? Yes and no, I mean, again I think because it was Steven it would have been done well, so if somebody would have approached me who didn’t have his resume and was like “you’re going to play an escort in this movie and have five sex scenes I probably would have said no.
On her controversial appearance on the Tyra Banks show:
It’s funny how people still don’t get how the media works… They wanted to use me, and I wanted to use them. I was okay with that; I was still pissed off, but I got what I wanted out of it… Did Tyra run up to her producers and ask them what to say, because she was stumped by an 18 year-old? Yeah.
Yeah, [it] pretty much [felt good]. That’s all I really needed.
On whether her performance in the Girlfriend Experience is going to open up adult entertainment into the mainstream:
I don’t think it’s just this role, but I think the mainstream, or the media, is very fascinated by the adult industry. So whether it’s because I got a legitimate role, or putting a porn star on a talk show gets ratings, people want to see it. We don’t want to talk about it, but we want to see it, and listen, and spy on it, and vilify it. So I think it’s not just this, it’s the plain and simple fact that people are fascinated by the adult industry.
Between her looks, smarts, and willingness to admit she’s seen the Street Fighter movie, Sasha Grey has completely won us over here at Screen Junkies. We’d like to thank Ms. Grey, Mr. Soderbergh, and everyone at MPRM for having us at the press day.
The Girlfriend Experience is now available on HDNet Ultra VOD and opens in New York and Los Angeles on Friday, May 22, 2009.
To see the film through Video On Demand online ahead of time, head on over to Amazon.com by clicking HERE.