Rex Shutterstock As an aspiring actor, Karl Glusman studied at the William Esper Studio in New York, where his instructor once chided a classmate for really shaving in a scene. What would happen if the student cut himself and bled all over the stage? When it premiered at Cannes at a midnight screening, it pushed the envelope with even a European crowd.
The movie not only features full frontal nudity — there are many close-up shots of genitalia — but oral sex, intercourse, ejaculation and a threesome scene with a transgender partner.
Many of the scenes in the film were improvised from a short outline written by Noe. A couple of years ago, I had a very intense breakup.
I ended up flying to Paris to heal myself, and my friends brought me to this club one night where I met a girl at the door name Ambre who found out I was an actor. Gaspar wants an American in his next movie. He asked me how I was doing, and if I was comfortable showing my d—k in his movie. Did you talk about the story? He flew me to Paris. It was supposed to be for two days to see if he could stand being around me. And then he liked me so much, he extended it to four days. He eventually sat me down and came back with a little eight-page outline.
It was a mission statement challenging the norms of cinema and arguing that some of the key aspects of love are false in cinema. He wanted to change that. Did he tell you it was in 3D? I thought that sounded ridiculous.
I think the whole 3D porno thing is a bit of a marketing gimmick. There are no breakups and fights. To put it frankly, I doubt Thierry [Fremaux, the Cannes director] would put a straight porno in Cannes.
If you look at the definition of pornography, the chief purpose is sexual arousal. Did you use any body doubles? I have to say — a magician never revels his secrets. How did you prepare? I watched a lot of movies. Gaspar is constantly watching films and sending me titles. I thought if Mr. Rylance could do it, and I want to be like him, I could follow. Was the entire movie improvised? The outline is all we had.
The call sheet was a joke. We never had any dialogue written down. And then when we did a second take, one of the girls would steal my line. Did you know how explicit the sex would be? Well, as far as close-ups in the movie, Gaspar likes surprises.
That was my ice breaker. Did you think about quitting? I went to the bathroom to garner some courage. I looked in the mirror. This is not you. You should run away. I thought about the rest of the crew. I think many young actors want to be daring. They want to surprise their fellow actors as well as their audiences. The night that we shot with Stella [Rocha], the transgender woman that Electra and I pick up, I kind of drew an invisible line. She was so confident, I was extremely intimidated by her.
In the end, it was a fun scene to shoot. And then we spent some time where Stella chased me around the room. Gaspar would joke and call me Rocco, which turned to Rocky. He started to hum the Rocky theme song in the morning when everyone came in.
Did you have an agent at the time you took the role? I did, and a manager and a lawyer. Were they worried the movie would hurt your career? No they have not. Before we started, I asked my mother and sister to promise not to see it. Do you think your mom will ever see it? I think my mom will read a lot of articles on it. Both my parents are doctors.
My mother has always been a proponent of equality on the screen. So in a way, this is for her.