More noticeable this week is the introduction of a firm Mafia presence, in the person of mobster Rudy Pipilo (Michael Rispoli, best remembered as Jackie Aprile on The Sopranos). It was bound to happen – New York organized crime figures were a major part of the financing, distribution, and (most of all) profitability of pornography from the jump, and if James Franco’s Vinnie and Frankie are first connecting with the mob to facilitate what is, essentially, a check-cashing arrangement for construction crews, they’ll presumably make their way to other endeavors. The first step in that progression seems to be handing him the keys to one of their family’s gay bars (another quite accurate bit of business, this); Rudy brings Vincent onto the premises with a grinning, “C’mon Vince, they don’t bite,” and assures him that, should the barkeep take on the business, he can just think of Rudy as “a regular landlord.” Uh huh.
Despite the early scenes involving Ashley and Darlene, it seems that our primary gateway character to adult cinema will be Maggie Gyllenhaal’s Candy, though she’s initially resistant to the offer of going to a shoot: “$75? You could make that on the corner, whaddaya wanna go all the way up to the Bronx for?” It’s certainly not glamorous; our first glimpse behind the scenes reveals a naked guy in a basement, smoking a cigarette in a Viking hat, and when Candy asks about a script, she’s told, “This isn’t Dr. Zhivago, honey. They don’t even record sound.” The conditions are neither erotic nor professional: hot lights, a skeezy guy with a handheld camera, and a girl with a bounce board. But our Candy is immediately looking around, taking mental notes, asking questions after the fact, and when it’s over, she checks out the final product, like a football coach watching game film. She’s clearly not just there to merely act, or observe. She’s figuring out how it’s done.
A few miscellaneous observations:
Listen to film editor Jason Bailey discuss “The Deuce” every week on “The Deuce Rethread” podcast, via the DVR Podcast Network.