Steven Soderbergh Defends Casting of Sasha Grey

Bob Preston
HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — In an extensive interview, director Steven Soderbergh defended his choice to cast adult performer Sasha Grey in his movie "The Girlfriend Experience."

Soderbergh covers a lot of topics in the interview, but when the conversation turns to "The Girlfriend Experience," the Oscar-winning director is asked to answer for the movie's "mixed" reviews.

“Actually, I’m really proud of [the movie],” Soderbergh said. “And, structurally, it’s like my film 'The Limey.' It is very non-linear. And using Sasha was definitely correct: she’s not flaunting anything, but she has a comfort level with sexuality that you just can’t fake."

"The Girlfriend Experience" grossed less than $1 million worldwide and earned a 61 percent score on the review-aggregating website Soderberg went on to defend his unusual casting choice by comparing Grey's look to mainstream stars.

"For me, I feel that everyone I see on TV looks like he or she is in porn," he said. "It seems to be the accepted aesthetic in terms of grooming and dress.”

But despite the movie's mixed reviews, Grey herself mostly received good notices from the mainstream press, although many of those reviews focused on the presumed weirdness of having an adult star in such a high-profile project.

"'The Girlfriend Experience' is a film about its own making," wrote J. Hoberman of the Village Voice. "It’s also a hall of mirrors. Are we watching an authentic sacred monster playing the part of a cute little chippie — or is it vice versa? Grey isn’t the first porn actress to go straight, but she may be the first to allegorize her own situation — projecting an on-screen self-confidence that’s indistinguishable from pathos."