Best three-way sex scene, best group sex scene, best oral sex scene — these were some of porn star Sasha Grey’s highest accolades until she was scooped up by Steven Soderbergh to star in “The Girlfriend Experience,” a mainstream movie chronicling the career and love life of an upscale escort.
“It’s a really great film to throw into contemporary American theater,” said Grey, looking more like the girl-next-door than the girl-doing-the-guys-next-door in a t-shirt and jeans. Grey sat down with Blast during an appearance in Boston.
Born in Sacramento, California, the 21-year-old entered the adult film industry in 2006, shortly after she turned 18. Since then, she has appeared in more than 80 films. “The Girlfriend Experience” is her first mainstream movie, and the work she is most proud of.
“It felt really natural,” she said of making the movie. “I felt completely in my own element.”
For a girl whose element is usually much raunchier, Grey found herself totally invested in “The Girlfriend Experience,” researching the role and even creating her character’s back-story.
She read blogs of real-life escorts and met with them as well. Her character, Christine (alias Chelsea), is guided by personology books and writes in her journal after every date, things Grey picked up from the escorts she met and thought would flesh out her character nicely.
Grey, who is engaged, said she doesn’t have a lot in common with her character.
“It’s quite different because I don’t have to go onto an adult set and pretend to be somebody’s girlfriend like Chelsea does, you know, I don’t have that intimacy with the people I’m having sex with,” she said.
But now, Grey is hoping to parlay her experience in “The Girlfriend Experience” into a mainstream acting career.
“It’s an uphill battle, so I know that,” she said. She has a few film offers and plans to get a casting agent soon.
“Even though I come from adult films, I’ve always felt highly respected from my peers and from my fans,” she said. “I have no problem having sex on camera but that doesn’t mean I have to look a certain way or act a certain way and if you want to hear my opinions, that’s great, and if you don’t, that’s fine too.”
She said working with Soderbergh was a new and thrilling opportunity for her. Grey praised his talent and direction. “There are the 10 probabilities of how the scene is going to be shot and he would come up with an eleventh one,” she said.
But working for the man who directed “Sex, Lies and Videotape” and “Traffic” could be nerve-wracking at times. Said Grey, “You go back to your hotel and you’re thinking, “God I wish I would have said this differently or done this differently.’”
Surprisingly, there weren’t any sex scenes in the film, though it was about a high-class hooker portrayed by a porn star.
“It would have been too easy to say, ‘hey we have a porn star, let’s put her in a sex scene’. Bqut most importantly what I think really distinguishes it is that this is a film about a certain type of prostitution. You have the cream of the crop women who are there for more than just the sex; they are there to create this fake bond where the client feels as if it’s real,” Grey said.
Hearing her wax poetic on the meaning of her film, it’s almost hard to believe a quick Google search will turn up video after video of Grey doing things your grandmother can’t imagine. But she’s a confident chick who has her reasons for her career choice.
“I’m in ultimate control, you know, I’m in control of my destiny whether it be adult films, music, acting, writing, anything. I would not be happy sitting at a desk nine to five,” she said.
Grey says the worst thing about her job is having to pick your battles and learn when to let things go, but she certainly seems to pick her battles well.
“Sometimes you might have strict guidelines and sometimes you might not, so I think that’s a really liberating thing as a young woman and as an artist,” she added.
Busy and loving it, Grey is launching her own adult film production company and plans to begin directing. She’s been promoting “The Girlfriend Experience,” working on her website, writing a sex philosophy book and she has an adult novelty line coming out this summer. “It’s non-stop,” she said.
Why is she working so hard? “I’m pretty proud of this but I try not to rest on my pride and I try to always challenge the last thing I’ve done,” Grey said.
Grey is trying to prove she is not just a porn star: she has a brain, an articulate voice and interests beyond sex.
“Music, writing, art, I really don’t have a limit, as long as it keeps my juices flowing. No pun intended.”