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Q&A – Carla Gugino on Portraying a Pregnant Porn Star for Women in Trouble

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A pregnant porn star is trapped in an elevator. No, that’s not the beginning of a dirty joke — but it is a moment in a new sex comedy starring Carla Gugino as the aforementioned porn star. Written and directed by Sebastian Gutierrez, Women in Trouble features a range of seemingly random characters that ultimately connect on one really bad day in Los Angeles. Gugino tells it’s just the beginning of a trilogy, so expect more to come.

Q: You’ve already shot the sequel to Women in Trouble and there’s a third on the way. Are you guys doing this trilogy back-to-back, Lord of the Rings-style?

A: It’s a total independent film homage to Lord of the Rings! [Laughs] What’s cool is the second one is finished before the first one is even out. And the third is written, but not shot; we’re doing them about a year apart. Storywise, the second one, Elektra Luxx takes place six months after Women in Trouble, and the third one, Women in Ecstasy, I probably shouldn’t say too much, but my character won’t be pregnant anymore.

Q: Did Sebastian Gutierrez write the part of Elektra specifically for you?

A: Yes, he did. When he wrote the script, he said, “I have a
part I really want you to play,” but there were so many great women
roles, I would have been excited to play any of them. But now I am so
in love with Elektra Luxx. It’s always interesting to play a complex
character, especially one people would think is just a porn star with
blonde hair and fake boobs. I loved that she had so much humanity and
empathy. She’s funny, she’s crass, she’s vulnerable, she’s tough, she
has all these different things going on.

Q: Did you use any real-life porn stars as a model for Elektra?

A: I did. I watched some documentaries of porn stars on HBO,
because I was intrigued by more than just the mechanics of the job. I
wanted to know why they do it, what success means to them, and all of
the things I wanted to understand from the inside out. But this isn’t
an expose of that industry, it was just the backdrop to the character.
The tone of the movie is light, but it does get to a place where you’re
emotionally moved. Being pregnant is a really big thing for any women,
but the fact that you’re a porn star adds complications.

Q: You would think being a porn star, she’d know about birth control.

A: That’s why she’s so shocked! “That’s impossible! There’s no
way!” I’m sure she’d been taking the Pill for many, many years, and
she’d been going regularly to the doctor, but her fear would have been
disease prevention.

Q: Like her friend Holly Rocket says, “Nobody thinks it could happen to them, but anybody could get a PhD — get tested.”

A: That’s my favorite line!

Q: Is Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s scene after the credits supposed to lead into the sequel?

A: Joe’s got a much bigger part in the sequel, but it just
wasn’t structurally part of this story, which was just one day in the
life of these women. [In the sequel] Holly and Bambi also return, and
we have new characters; Elektra’s contemplating what kind of life
changes she has to make and Vincent Kartheiser plays my neighbor.
Suffice to say there’s another elevator scene — only this time it’s
Vincent who ultimately ends up with no clothes on. He’s fantastic.

Q: You also have Malin Akerman, your daughter in Watchmen,
in the sequel. It seems like you’re re-uniting with a lot of your
former co-stars… and you’re doing it in mostly female casts, like in
Zack Snyder’s upcoming Sucker Punch.

A: I’ve spent most of my career being the only woman in the
cast, and now the universe is balancing it out! Malin and I were the
only women in Watchmen, really, and then Emmanuelle Chriqui and I were with mostly men on Entourage.
The connections are crazy, because it’s a small world. The shoot was
kind of a family affair, where we just roped in everybody for a few
days in December during everyone’s down time and basically said, “Let’s
see if we can shoot this thing.” This time, Malin and I are peers,
because it took full-on prosthetics to look older than her in Watchmen. She’s a checkout girl at a grocery store, and she has a storyline that intersects with Joe.

Q: As part of your viral marketing campaign, not only does Elektra have a blog, some of her films are listed on IMDb — even though they’re fictional, and they’re porn! How did that happen?

A: I have no idea! [Laughs] I think it’s fantastic. Who’s to say
she doesn’t exist? I feel like my character comes to life for me when I
spend so much time in her head. I keep thinking one day I might run
into her on the street!

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