The Deuce Created A "Sex Director" Position To Maintain A Safe Space

Photo: Courtesy of HBO.
Following the watershed of sexual assault accusations in Hollywood that occurred last fall, HBO's The Deuce made a change. According to Maggie Gyllenhaal, who spoke to Refinery29 at 29Rooms last week, the show added a "sex director" of sorts who would be present during every sex scene.
"We created a new position," said Gyllenhaal, who also produces the show. She compared the new position to that of a stunt coordinator. Explained Gyllenhaal, "If you do a fight scene, there's always a stunt man on set there to make sure that everybody's physically safe...we created a new position for sex scenes. Where anybody involved in a sex scene — which is many, many people on The Deuce — there was somebody there to protect you, to make sure your boundaries were not crossed, to make sure that you had a place to go if you had a complaint or a concern."
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The Deuce is in a unique position. A show about porn and sex work, it's already sort of talking about the issues raised by the Time's Up initiative. Season 2 features a number of storylines about the pay gap as well as how difficult it is to be a woman director in Hollywood. The Deuce has also been at the forefront of that conversation because of James Franco, who plays not one, but two roles in the show. Franco was accused of sexual misconduct in January following his Golden Globe win for The Disaster Artist. The Deuce creator David Simon told The Hollywood Reporter at the time that he'd looked into Franco's behavior on the set and found no complaint. Franco, via his attorney, denied the allegations and has, for the most part, shifted back into a normal career.
So, on a show like The Deuce, where background actors and principals are frequently naked, ensuring everyone's comfort would be especially important. "[That's] one example of a way in which what's been happening in Hollywood had a direct effect immediately on the set that I was on," Gyllenhaal said, adding, "but there are a hundred more."
She also said that production on The Deuce made sure that actors were "wired" — wired with microphones for sound purposes — in their trailers or somewhere private, just to make sure no one's privacy was violated. "We really made a serious effort to make changes," she said.
The Deuce season 2 premiered Sunday night. Gyllenhaal also stars in The Kindergarten Teacher, out October 12 on Netflix.
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