It's hard work keeping Manhattan's most powerful men undressed and on point.
The Girlfriend Experience, a film about high-class call-girls and the men who pay for them, aired earlier this week at the Tribeca Film Festival just a few blocks north of where the real action took place—Wall Street. Director Steven Soderbergh called upon adult-film star Sasha Grey to take the lead, a role that, surprisingly, made the porn actress weary.
"I got [to my first sex scene], and I was only nervous waiting around," the actress told MTV News. Then once the scene started, I was fine. But working for Steven—it's like, 'Am I doing this right? Should I have done this differently?'" Sasha also assumed she'd be having sex on camera but unlike her other starring roles, this film was rated R. Read: Sex Toys In Disguise
"Sex is everywhere in The Girlfriend Experience, except there's no sex," one critic commented. "We come to understand that Soderbergh is less interested in sex work than he is in work." And so it seems The Girlfriend Experience really is a movie based upon the relationships, not the raunchy bits, of Manhattan's highest paid hookers.
Soderbergh chose to focus on the drama surrounding the life of a Manhattan call girl and the work involved in keeping the city's most powerful men both undressed and on their toes. As an escort, Chelsea (played by Sasha Grey) must develop relationships with her clients that move beyond the bedroom and into everyday life. In one scene, one of Chelsea's clients, as he undresses, notes how she has to vote for McCain to best support the state of Israel. How's that for foreplay? Read: Making Out: The Kissing Advisory
As a working girl, Chelsea also brainstorms on how to improve her marketing efforts in the field and how to relaunch her website with the best possible search engine optimization. As a call-girl, Chelsea bounces between five-star restaurants and luxurious hotel rooms all while maintaining a running list of her client's family life, financial life and likes and dislikes. Her world is a combination of strategy and seduction and at times, deep sadness. The title, after all, refers to the complexity behind what these men are actually paying for—intimacy. This seems to be the one thrill men can't get from merely watching the real Sasha Grey take her clothes off on-screen.
The Girlfriend Experience opens in theaters on May 22.
Photo courtesy of Splash News.