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.