Actress Jenny Hutton stars in the short film Pleasure, Ninja Thyberg short film that portrays the behind the scenes of a porn shoot. As the actors practice various positions, the rumor is that one of the girls (Jenny Hutton) is doing an advanced routine that requires someone extremely tough. Pleasure is a startling film about workplace intrigue, and a fascinating take on the complexities of the porn industry.
We talked with Jenny about her experience making the film, what it was like to portray a porn star, and the screening this Saturday at our short film program, Love Hurts.
Rooftop Films: In “Pleasure” you portray a porn star – was that something you were nervous about? How did you prepare for the role?
Jenny Hutton: It’s always an interesting challenge to portray someone far away from your own personality.
I wasn’t nervous because I knew I wasn’t going to have to do anything I wasn’t comfortable with. I had a lot of trust in the director, Ninja, and we shared the vision of the film.
I did a lot of research, watched a lot of porn films and did character development so by the first day of shooting I felt like a porn star, and it all felt very natural, haha.
RF: How did you come to work on the film? Can you tell us a little bit about the filming?
The director held extensive castings in all of the big cities in Sweden and I was asked to come to the one in my hometown, Stockholm. We did two scenes from the script and the director liked it so we improvised some scenes for 40 minutes. I got the part shortly after my audition.
There were so many talented professionals auditioning for this lead role so I felt very honored when I got the part. Before filming we had rehearsals and different “trust exercises” so the cast would feel comfortable and secure on set.
During filming we did some of the takes exactly as in the script and some of them we improvised as we pleased, keeping the gist of it. A lot of improv actually made it into the film! I think it worked so well because we thoroughly knew our characters and could play around with the scenes with ease.
The whole crew and cast were amazing! We felt like a family and worked hard together.
RF: “Pleasure” is screening in our “Love Hurts” program, which is an apt description for the film in more ways than one. Are you excited to be in a film screening here at Rooftop?
JH: Yes, very! Pleasure is being handled by the Swedish Film Institute and they only give approval to screenings at high quality places, so I knew Rooftop Films was going to be great even before I went.
I’ve now been to one short program screening and it was amazing! All of the films held a very high standard, I’m happy to be in a film chosen by these programmers -they know what they’re doing! I will be going to several more screenings this summer, Rooftop Films is a magical gem!
RF: Porn is often criticized for its unrealistic portrayal of sex, but one could argue that cinema is not much better. As an actress, what would you like to see in films in terms of creating healthier, more realistic portraits of sex and sexuality?
I think it’s time to remove a lot of clichés and focus on the fact that sex is about 2 (or more!) persons who are enjoying themselves and loosing themselves in that moment of pleasure. It’s not about trying to look good for the “camera” or anyone else, or feeling ashamed about preference or what society thinks, but to connect with the person you’re with and being able to speak up if something doesn’t feel right.
Everyone’s boundaries are different and you have to discover what works for the person you have sex with. What that person enjoys or not is different from what you’ve seen on film, in porn or what previous sex partners preferred. Discover each other with respect and trust.
RF: What was it like to be in a film about the making of a film (though of a very different sort?)
JH: The big difference was that I had to look deep into the “fake camera”, but of course not look into the real camera. On set I jumped between three different personas; 1: Myself, 2: Me acting as a pornstar being herself (more down to earth) and 3: Me acting like a pornstar, acting as a pornstar in front of camera (super sexy).
There was a bit of a “meta” feeling to it and we had to refer to people as “the photographer” and “the real photographer”.
At one point the real sound guy was in the shot and they were like “Let’s just leave him in there, he really looks like a sound guy!”