Maggie Gyllenhaal Attended a One-Woman Sex Show to Prepare for 'The Deuce' Role

"I ended up finding it to be, honestly, so incredibly inspiring, and it was inspiring because it actually pushed the limits of what I am comfortable tolerating in terms of sexuality," Gyllenhaal told In Studio.

Maggie Gyllenhaal joins The Hollywood Reporter In Studio to discuss her preparation process for the role of Candy, a sex worker turned porn director in HBO's The Deuce, which included attending a one-woman sex show while filming season two.

"I'm always continuing to prepare," she says. "That's another thing that's been cool. Four years I've been thinking about this show, and I love that state of mind that I can get into sometimes when I'm working on something where everything is grist for the mill. Everything, a song you hear, something you're reading, someone who walks by and you're like, 'Oh, oh. Throw that in the pot.' But yeah, of course in the beginning when I knew nothing about sex work in New York, I really didn't know much about vintage porn, and now I’m an expert."

Gyllenhaal describes picking the brain of former '70s sex worker Annie Sprinkle, who was an "intellectual, radical performance artist, and used her body as part of her performance."

"She was amazing because she really has a really powerful, interesting, exciting mind, and so does Candy. I think there are people who, in this line of work, get destroyed, and whose minds and bodies fall apart under the brutality that is part of the job. But not Annie, and not Candy."

Gyllenhaal's continuing research also included attending performer Madison Young's one-woman sex show in Bushwick, Brooklyn, while filming season two. "Candy is such a badass, and she's so up for anything, and not judgmental, and so open. I'm definitely inspired by her, but I was freaked out to go to this show. I tried to get my husband to come with me, but he was sick," the actress tells THR.

"I ended up there alone. And I was scared, and I ended up finding it be, honestly, so incredibly inspiring, and it was inspiring because it actually pushed the limits of what I am comfortable tolerating in terms of sexuality."

She continues: "I think of myself as really curious and out there and everything, but I was like, 'Whoa, this person is more understanding, more empathetic, more open than I am.' And that's what Candy’s like."