Over the weekend, Maggie Gyllenhaal opened up at Vulture Festival about growing tired of her many sex scenes on The Deuce, in which she plays sex worker Candy Merrell. But there’s one sex scene in particular that Gyllenhaal now says she fought to include in the series. In its first season, Candy has sex with a date who leaves her unsatisfied, so she turns over and finishes herself off. Gyllenhaal now tells The Hollywood Reporter that the scene wouldn’t have made it onto the show had she not battled creator David Simon to keep it in. She recalls giving Simon a production note that the show needed more depictions of female orgasms that weren’t being faked for work.
“When I first said it to him, he pretended to spit his water back in his cup,” she says. But then Simon wrote Candy a genuine masturbation scene. “I thought about it, and then I went in and did that on TV. And that’s way more vulnerable than the orgasm that’s the performance,” she says. “But then I see the cut, and they cut the orgasm.” She continues, “I wrote a dissertation by email, and then I woke up at 6 o’clock in the morning to see if they [read] it. And the second I got to set, I was like, ‘Where is the orgasm?’ I explained to them again why they needed it in. And they put it in.”
Elsewhere in THR’s Emmys roundtable, the conversation turns to how much control actresses have over nudity and sex scenes in their roles. Thandie Newton recalls having very little throughout her career until Westworld: “I’ve been objectified, I’ve had directors lie to me when I’m in a naked situation on a movie and been told that they’re cutting here (motions to her bust line and up) when in fact they’re shooting from here (motions to whole body), so you see everything.” But Gyllenhaal and Elisabeth Moss, who are both producers on their shows, say they have 100 percent approval over their sex scenes. “I can literally say, ‘You cannot use that scene,’” Moss explains. Newton tells her, “I wish I’d known that. That’s why we all need to talk.”