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About The Production (Continued)
Producer Peter Newman was glowing in his assessment of the stars, who have earned reputations as two of the most incisive and intelligent young talents working today. "We always knew that they were great, but Molly and Peter exceeded our expectations. They truly went beyond what would have been expected of them, in every way in terms of their interaction with each other, and how much of their own insights and experiences they brought to their roles. They're both so smart and so fearless."
Added Wang. "They went to places that I think many actors wouldn't attempt to reach. A lot of the scenes are incredibly intense, emotionally, sexually and physically. And they were very brave; they really took it out there. So it's a big credit to them."
Wang noted that the stars are accessible as well as attractive, so that viewers feel as if they're witnessing the intimate moments of two complex individuals. "Molly's sexy, but she looks like a real person," Wang remarked. "She reminded me of an actual stripper that I met who's a little bit like Florence — approachable, but able to project this intense sexuality and at the same time remain absolutely in control. A lot of those qualities went into Florence's character."
He continues. "Peter reminds me of a young Nicholson — he has a devilish kind of handsomeness that's also a little bit boyish. And very unpredictable." That quality was essential for suggesting the volatility beneath Richard's cheerful, accommodating demeanor. "You feel this is someone whose emotions could run quite dark if you hit the wrong button."
Discussing his involvement in the film, Sarsgaard cited his admiration for Wang's work as well as the themes tackled in the film. "I love Wayne's movies and he seemed like the perfect person to do a film like this because he's not after sensationalism," the actor stated. He found the film's treatment of sexual and emotional power plays to have
a universal resonance. "Most people have not hired a stripper and taken her to Vegas for three days, but most people have been in a relationship where the power was not equal or was being fought over, or a lot of games were being played. I think the film looks at these issues honestly."
Parker responded strongly to the film's conception of Florence. "Florence was an interesting character to play because she is making choices for herself that she thinks are sound, but that end up placing her in a very difficult position," she explained. "Both Wayne and I were determined to represent this woman as realistically as possible."
To ensure a well-rounded portrait, Wang and Parker met with a number of strip club dancers. Wang also sought the advice of professional sex worker and
U.C. Berkeley instructor Anna O, who sat in on several meetings. Recalled the filmmaker, "We talked about what would be realistic for the character of Florence, because I didn't want to glamorize her in any way, I also didn't want to exploit her in any way. I wanted to have a very authentic stripper character in the context of this story. We discussed what kind of rules Florence would have for a trip like this, the fact that she would have a specific person to call if she got into trouble — concrete details."
Other consultants on the film included adult film star Alisha Klass and entrepreneur Jason McCabe
Calacanis, the founder and editor of the influential Internet journal The Silicon Vallex Reporter. Calacanis is featured in the film as Richard's hard- driving colleague. Pete, while Klass appears as one of the Pandora's Box dancers.
Details were also important when it came to designing the high-priced Las Vegas hotel rooms that are the film's primary setting. Production designer Donald Graham Burt went straight to the source, visiting several Las Vegas hotels and bringing back a wealth of ideas about furnishings, artwork and ambiance. He then went about recreatin
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