Photographer Jonathan Leder clearly has a thing for grainy VHS footage of nude women shoving objects down their throats. The trailer for his debut film Promiscuities shows actress Amy Hood in a series of suggestive scenarios including getting gagged with a curling iron.
Inspired by Jonathan’s art magazine A Study in Fetishisms: Manifesto—the new film explores the nexus of pain and pleasure. The plot follows a drug-addicted woman named Diane, played by Hood, as she seeks help escaping from her traumatic past. Ultimately, she ends up in the presence of a twisted psychotherapist, who, as you can tell from the trailer, makes her do a bunch of fucked up stuff. You can buy a digital copy of Promiscuties right now on the film's website—make sure to enter in the exclusive "VICODIN" promo code to get 60 percent off.
To find out more about Promiscuities I called up the leading lady and asked her about preparing for the role, getting electroshock therapy, and 50 Shades of Grey. I also asked her what was up with the much-hyped American Ecstasy, Jonathan Leder's sexually provocative thriller that has been years in the works and has yet to see the light of day.
VICE: What’s the premise of the movie? Is it based on a true story?
Amy Hood: Promiscuities is an original story written by myself and Jonathan Leder. Back in January of this year, after we published Fetishisms, we began to think about how we could bring the psychological concepts we had been exploring to a narrative film. The film is based on true stories, fiction, and some personal influences.
How did you find inspiration for the story?
The original concept started when we were doing research for the magazine. I began reading different books and was influenced by Sybil, personal experiences, and people we know.
What was it like filming?
We came up with the majority of the story. For certain scenes, we did collaborate with our screenwriters. A lot of it was improvised. I would say the VHS tapes are the primary example of improvisation. Most of my acting background is in improvisation. So you do research and take these ideas, develop them, and film it.
50 Shade of Grey is listed as an anti-inspiration for the film. What is that about?
It is kind of ironic that the trailer came out and it was so popular. I think that is a watered down Hollywood version of what our film is. It is not really the same film but the idea of an open sexuality is a theme you can compare between both of them. I think ours is much more realistic.
Can you tell me more about your character in the film?
My character is Diane. She had terrible experiences throughout her life, especially her childhood. She had problems, which primarily express themselves through her sexual psychosis. She has a problem with prescription pills and alcohol, delusions, anger, and she is extremely self-conscious. She has self-destructive tendencies, all of which are propelled and encouraged by her sadistic doctor.
You have worked with Jonathan before, what do you like about his roles? Some of them are pretty twisted.
They are quite bold, that is what I like about it. Go all the way or go home. Jonathan and I are very frequent collaborators. The roles are a composition of different influences. I like how you described him as twisted. We do characters that are quite demented but in a plausible and real way.
How do you prepare for those intense scenarios?
It took a lot of effort and mental strength to put myself in a darker place like Diane’s head. I really enjoyed being able to work with such a wide range of emotions, having all of the time we had to film really allowed me to explore the many facets of my characters persona.
What was the weirdest thing you had to do?
One of the weirdest things was having a curling iron in my mouth. We also shot some electroshock therapy, which was fun. I went to the hardware store and made a headset, I was lying on the table and would shake and they would shake the camera above me.
Are you still filming for American Ecstasy?
Absolutely. I am so excited for American Ecstasy, especially after going through the process of this movie. Stay tuned.
Follow Erica on Twitter