Five Favorite Films with Adult Film Star Sasha Grey

The Girlfriend Experience star opens up on her cinematic tastes.

The Girlfriend Experience was shot fast, and beyond writers Brian Koppelman and David Levien's outlines, was highly improvisational. How much of your character was laid out for you before you came onboard, and how much did you create her yourself?

SG:  There really was no character on paper. I think Steven kind of left that up to me to do or not to do, and I thankfully did. I wrote a character back story, and once I was happy with that I gave it to Steven and asked him what he thought; he agreed with what I had on paper, I guess you could say. A lot of the things in the film were actually picked up from two escorts that Steven and I actually met; a lot of the idiosyncratic behavior of Christine, or Chelsea -- you see her buying a prepaid phone, or she screens her clients with these personology books, or the way she writes in her diary -- a lot of those things were picked up from these women we met. The casting director sent us links to these anonymous escorting blogs and I read those; I tried to incorporate as much as I could into this character because I knew going on set, Steven would want a very natural reaction in all of the scenes. So it was finding a way to build this character and who she is, but at the same time allowing these natural reactions to happen.

If the shoot lasted only 16 days, how much prep time did you spend -- working with Steven or otherwise -- prior to filming?

SG: A lot of the things I did were solitary, because he didn't want me to do a lot. From the first time I met him to the time we went into preproduction, it was a year and a half. In the in-between time I would keep in touch with him, and I asked him if there were any films he wanted me to watch, and he only named two: Vivre sa vie and Pierrot le fou. Aside from that, I spent a good two, two and a half months [preparing].

Since Rotten Tomatoes is a film review site, I wanted to zero in on one of your co-stars in particular: film critic Glenn Kenny, who plays an escort blogger dubbed the "Erotic Connoisseur." Tell us what it was like to work with him.

SG: He was just brilliant. It was so hard for me not to laugh at some of the s--- he said. We actually talked about it a couple of weeks ago when he interviewed me in New York, but that was... he was just insane. You could tell he was a writer [from his dialogue], because he was just so good at it.

As an actress, musician, and adult film star, how much does the concept of persona play a part in your life, both professional and personal?

SG: I would say there's about ten percent reserved for me, and it's mostly to do with personal safety issues. I really try to be honest and open, and to be myself, as much as I can, and I think that's important especially dealing with the primary industry that I'm in. So I try not to have a separation between the two, and I just look at it as my life, and not just my career. I think the only thing I don't do as much publicly is, I probably curse a lot more when I'm with my friends.

Will we see you in the near future in more mainstream roles?

SG: I actually have a film coming up in August, it's a lead role, a great role, and it's against type. And I have two more that I was actually just offered. Another film, Smash Cut, will be coming out at the end of the year as well.


Read reviews and more from The Girlfriend Experience, in theaters this Friday.  For more Five Favorite Films, visit our archive.

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