‘The Deuce’ Creator David Simon Explains Why Now Is the Perfect Time to Look at Misogyny in the Porn Industry

The Deuce Premiere
Invision/AP/REX/Shutterstock

A cleaner, tamer Times Square circa 1971 reappeared on Thursday in Chelsea, N.Y. Specifically, at the Eventi Hotel’s Second venue.

The occasion? The premiere of HBO’s “The Deuce.”

The drama, which bows Sept. 10, explores the birth and growth of the modern pornography industry in all of its grungy, seedy, early 1970s New York City glory. Unlike today’s Times Square, no part of the series – the latest HBO effort from “The Wire” creator David Simon – is Disneyfied.

“If you don’t really depict what sex work and pornography is in a fundamentally blunt and declarative way, you are on the road to ‘Pretty Woman,'” Simon said. “And that’s where we don’t want to be.”

Simon added that the rise of the X-rated industry played a role in Donald Trump’s ascent to the White House.

“This show comes in the immediate context of a president who is the Pussy-Grabber-in-Chief and an election cycle in which misogyny was overtly targeted at his opponent and not just at Clinton, but at every woman who tried to opine or assert her ideas in public,” Simon said. “What American men now feel entitled to say, sometimes anonymously and sometimes without anonymity, about women is a new and coarse dynamic. You can’t tell me that 50 years of increasingly misogynistic pornography hasn’t contributed to that.”

According to Maggie Gyllenhaal, who plays a prostitute, a show that takes a raw look at pornography is just what the country needs right now.

“What an amazing time to be unpacking misogyny and laying it on the table and taking a good look at it,” the thesp said.

Gyllenhaal, who also serves as a series producer, toplines “The Deuce” alongside James Franco, who plays twins — Vinnie Martino, a double-shifting barman, and Frankie Martino. Franco also directed two episodes of the series.

“The first conversation I had with David about this show was three-and-a-half years ago,” Franco said. “I told him I wanted to direct, which he was down with. Then I told him I wanted to direct more than one episode and he was like, ‘I don’t know dude. You might be the guy who does everything, but I don’t know.'”

So Simon “tested” Franco when he directed episode three. Despite having to direct an episode where the twins interact more than any other installment in the show, Franco pulled it off and got what he wanted – another shot in the helmer’s seat.

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  1. John says:

    It looks like a great show – the trailer looked like straight out of “Taxi Driver” with the Times Square in full glory…but something about these comments by David Simon and Maggie G. make me uneasy.

    Are they serious about their claim, that the history of pornography is linked to misogyny ?
    At least, they make it sound like that.

    That’s a very conservative, feminist PorNo argument, that sounds a little ridiculous today.
    The beginning of porn wasn’t pretty, that’s for sure, and some women were exploited,
    but so were men.

    Today, we have a different picture: Female porn stars earn much more than male talent.
    A female porn actress – if she works hard – can earn a good living and retire early.
    The adult industry has cleaned up its act in the last decades and you would be surprised
    what you can see at the annual XBiz events in L.A. and Las Vegas…no smut, high-quality,
    mainstream events full of nice people.

    So, is David Simon trying to sell his series as ‘about misogyny’, because he wants to exploit the current anti-Trump sentiment or is he serious about this ?

    He certainly sounds like an old conservative, not a liberal with some experience about the state of the adult industry…;-)

  2. Wyndi says:

    the subject matter alone caught my interest, then add James Franco !!!! Watching this now for sure. The Donald Trump comment….lmao – stay out of politics Hollywood

  3. JR says:

    I was an extra on the show and one thing I came away with (aside from Franco working his butt off) was the attention to detail. As someone who was around in those days, I’m looking forward to viewing the completed series. While I could tell my own stories about that time & place, I eagerly await Simon’s take.

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