Created by George Pelecanos and David Simon (‘The Wire‘) and starring James Franco and Maggie Gyllenhaal, ‘The Deuce’ follows the story of the legalization and subsequent rise of the porn industry in New York’s Times Square from the early 1970s through the mid-1980s, exploring the rough-and-tumble world at the pioneering moments of what would become the billion-dollar American sex industry.
Last night, The Rialto Report attended the premiere screening of the pilot episode of ‘The Deuce’ – which was the opening evening event at the Split Screens Festival in New York.
‘The Deuce’ premieres on HBO on September 10th, 2017.
‘The Deuce’ revolves around a colorful clutch of hookers, pimps, bartenders, cops and sundry hustlers trying to make a living on the trash-ridden streets of New York, and transports viewers back to Times Square in all its grungy, seedy, early 1970s glory.
Here’s the official trailer:
After the screening, there was Q&A with Maggie Gyllenhaal and director Michelle MacLaren, known for her work on ‘Breaking Bad,’ ‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘Westworld.’
Maggie spoke about researching her role with Annie Sprinkle, who gave her some simple but helpful insights – like “How many people do you fuck a night, and what do you do if it’s really cold.”
Maggie also mentioned The Rialto Report and our podcasts (!), and that she’d met a number of people we’re profiled, such as Veronica Hart who invited her to the set of a porn shoot in Los Angeles, having been invited by a former adult film star who was working craft services for the shot: “I did get some behind-the-scenes information there,” she said, adding that porn pics “shoot really slowly.”
Maggie recommended two books that we gave to her that were useful to her as research – Tina Russell‘s autobiography ‘Porno Star’ (1973) and ‘Ladies of the Night’ by Susan Hall and Bob Adelman.
Apparently the list of required viewing for working on ‘The Deuce’ included 1970s porn (“I thought I’d seen some porn. 1970s porn was way better,” Maggie said) and mainstream films such as ‘Mean Streets,’ ‘Taxi Driver,’ ‘Shaft,’ ‘The Panic in Needle Park’ and ‘The French Connection.’
Most of the Times Square sequences were actually shot in a two-block section of Washington Heights around 164th Street and Amsterdam Avenue. Producers were able to dress those blocks to recreate New York of a generation-and-a-half ago, and they made liberal use of CG technology to strip traces of 2017 out of their frames. Michelle MacLaren said that shooting a period piece in Times Square today would be nearly impossible: “You can’t say to 10 million people: Can you move out of the way and take your cars with you.”