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Hollywood’s Egyptian Theater was home to the L.A. premiere of Lovelace, the latest from two-time Academy Award winner Rob Epstein and writing/directing partner Jeffrey Friedman (Howl, The Celluloid Closet).
The biopic brings the troubled life of adult film icon Linda Lovelace (Amanda Seyfried) to the big screen in a way that her infamous role in 1972’s Deep Throat never could. Though Lovelace — born Linda Susan Boreman — only spent 17 days in the porn industry, it was a career that would haunt her until her untimely passing in 2002. She spent the rest of her life trying to show the world the real woman veiled by her notorious persona.
The crux of the film hangs on the sordid relationship between Lovelace and husband Chuck Traynor (Peter Sarsgaard). Raised to dutifully obey her husband, the Christian, prude Lovelace was forced into the porn industry to help pay Traynor’s debt. He went so far as to sell her body for quick cash, and he beat her mercilessly behind closed doors.
Lovelace depicts the relationship’s tribulations with chilling authenticity, and Seyfried and Sarsgaard grandly rise to the occasion. The film’s ensemble cast also includes Hank Azaria, Adam Brody, Bobby Cannavale, Chris Noth, Sharon Stone, Juno Temple, Debi Mazar, Wes Bentley, Romeo Brown, Robert Patrick and Eric Roberts. There’s even a memorable cameo from James Franco playing a young Hugh Hefner, Playboy’s founder.
“The sexual revolution was a very important moment in our history; it sort of defined who we are, and it was a lot more complicated than I think people recognize, or than the mythology would have you believe,” Friedman tells The Hollywood Reporter. “Linda’s story is really about all of that. She’s a very complex person who became the poster girl for the so-called “sexual revolution,” and then as she became more and more of a self-possessed woman and a feminist, she told a very different story about her life.”
Co-writer/director Epstein says that Lovelace’s impact on modern sexual culture is all the more prevalent considering the landscape of adult film in 2013.
“From the point of view today, where porn is ubiquitous and free and kids grow up with it, it seemed like an interesting moment to look at a time when we were just opening up to the possibility of mainstreaming porn,” Epstein says. “She was the genie.”
That said, there is no Lovelace without the right leading lady. Seyfried successfully taps into Lovelace’s balancing act of feverish sexuality and doe-eyed innocence, documenting the stars gradual transformation from girl exploited to card-carrying feminist.
“It was nerve-wracking,” Seyfried tells THR. “It was like I was playing two different characters. In the beginning, [Linda] was this naïve, idealistic young woman that was struggling with her family life and coming to terms with her sexuality, and the later years is when this woman really kind of came full circle. She’s maybe contradicting how she felt when she was younger — we all do in our formative years. It’s something you want as an actor.”
Other celebrity guests on the Egyptian’s red carpet included Adam Lambert, Anna Camp, Skylar Astin, Tony Hawk and Carmen Electra. The screening was followed by a night of tight-knit dancing and mingling at Hotel Juniper’s No Vacancy just a block’s walk down Hollywood Boulevard.
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