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Will You See This Movie? | Amanda Seyfried is Reluctant Porn Superstar 'Lovelace,' Now Shooting

Photo of Bryce J. Renninger By Bryce J. Renninger | Indiewire January 6, 2012 at 10:00AM

Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, the filmmakers behind "Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt," "The Times of Harvey Milk" and Allen Ginsberg biopic "Howl," have the confidence of anti-pornography lawyer Catherine MacKinnon for their new project "Lovelace," the story of notorious porn star Linda Lovelace (née Boreman).
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Heidi Jo Markel and Jim Young, two "Lovelace" producers
Heidi Jo Markel and Jim Young, two "Lovelace" producers

Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, the filmmakers behind "Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt," "The Times of Harvey Milk" and Allen Ginsberg biopic "Howl," have the confidence of anti-pornography lawyer Catherine MacKinnon for their new project "Lovelace," the story of notorious porn star Linda Lovelace (née Boreman).

Lovelace, of course, starred in the box-office smash "Deep Throat" in which she played a woman with the titular talent and the curious mutation of a back-of-the-throat clitoris. After leaving the porn industry, Linda felt she'd been exploited by a series of men who controlled her and her career.

MacKinnon, who became Lovelace's lawyer after they met on the Phil Donahue Show and worked together on the anti-pornography movement of the 1980s, and now oversees Linda's estate. The attorney has provided the filmmakers with access to Linda's papers and the cooperation of Linda's family on the film.

Laura Rister, Jason Weinberg and Jim Young have been working with the project for years now, initially with a different screenwriter (W. Merritt Johnson, who is now an executive producer) who had met Linda. Eventually, Weinberg met Heidi Jo Markel, who brought on Andy Bellin, a screenwriter who she worked with on the film "Trust" to rewrite the script.  Epstein and Friedman have been with the project for two years and Bellin reworked the script a year and a half ago.  

Young and Markel called Indiewire last week from the set of the film. Said Young, "I had seen 'Inside Deep Throat,' but I wasn't so familiar with the story.  We got the original script, but we decided we didn't want to go down the traditional biopic route."

"Before hiring [Epstein and Friedman], we had two meetings with them," Markel said. "They were so confused with Linda that they felt they needed to go back and do more research. She seemed to be so many different things.

"There's multiple ways to view anyone, but with Linda, she's so many different things at the same time. She was a daughter of the sexual revolution, she was a staunch women's advocate against pornography and in the end, she had a complicated but comfortable understanding of who she was."

Markel confessed that this confusion is what fascinated her about the prospect of producing the project. "I wanted to know how an innocent conservative Catholic goody-two-shoes schoolgirl became the queen of porn."

Like "Howl," the directing team's previous narrative feature, "Lovelace" will take a mixed media approach, this time interspersing new and archival footage. "[Epstein and Friedman] pitched us on using Linda's career as a jumping off point to tell different versions of her and her life, showing her life as an evolution," Markel said. "We pounced on that. We're not storytellers that are dwelling on only one framework for a story."  

"Casting was crazy," Markel said. "We didn't come upon Amanda right away. We actually immediately approached her camp and we approached a few other actresses. We pinched ourselves that we got an actress as brave and fearless as Amanda.

"Who was gonna be Linda's husband was such a conundrum. For a while, James Franco was attached. A few actors we were looking at all got work. We needed the best actor to pair up with Amanda. We needed someone to give a tour-de-force performance, and we went after Peter Sarsgaard. He was so excited, and so were we, knowing that we were able to get what turned out to be the best actor for this part. Amanda was really excited about the idea. He had done a version of this role with 'An Education,' but that was a much lower-key, subtle performance.  He would need to be that manipulative bad guy times 10."

The team assembled an all-star cast for the rest of the roles and are in the midst of their shoot, which is being shot on location in  Los Angeles thanks to a California tax credit.

"Lovelace"

Directors: Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman
Screenwriter: Andy Bellin
Producers: Heidi Jo Markel, Laura Rister, Jason Weinberg, Jim Young
Executive Producers: Boaz Davidson, Danny Dimbort, Mark Gill, W. Merritt Johnson, Avi Lerner, Trevor Short, John Thompson
Cast: Amanda Seyfried, Peter Sarsgaard, Hank Azaria, Bobby Canavale, Chris Noth, Adam Brody, Demi Moore, Eric Roberts, Robert Patrick, Wes Bentley, Sharon Stone, Juno Temple

This article is related to: Will You See This Movie?, Amanda Seyfried, Peter Sarsgaard, Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman





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