Sexual Role-Playing With Martin Scorsese

Nathan Pensky is on the set of Scorsese’s latest cinematic seduction.


Hello, Sweetheart… Lovely girl. Beautiful hair. Good to see the agency finally got that right this time. Please, if you’ll step right this way, Ingrid will show you to make-up and we can get under way…

I’m sorry. I talk very quickly so just try and keep up, alright?

I can tell just by looking at you I can tell you’re not going to need much make-up. In fact, let’s just skip the make-up for now and I’ll tell you a little more about this project. I apologize that we won’t have too much time for rehearsal before we get into the sex part.

So here’s our set. Mind the flaming torches there. Don’t singe your costume, which fits beautifully, by the way. As you can see, we’re going with a King Kong motif. Are you familiar with this film? Great film. You’ll be Fay Wray, and I’ll be the beast, obviously. I’ll enter here in my costume…

Now what I want you to do, for starters, is stand here with your arms like so, between the bamboo pillars. And I want you to try and put yourself in a very Constance Bennett, The Easiest Way frame of mind, alright? You’re a young social climber who just married her way into a patrician lifestyle. You’re ruthless and worldly and ready for anything… Really, any of Constance Bennett’s films would be fine. I’m thinking more her aesthetic than any particular character from her oeuvre

Sweetheart, what’s the matter? You’ve got such a blank look. Not familiar with The Easiest Way? Picture directed by Jack Conway, with Robert Montgomery and Clark Gable, Constance Bennett obviously… Or is there a problem with the whole King Kong scenario? Really? Because we can change it. Yes, yes! Of course, of course we can… Out, gone. Pretend it never happened. I didn’t get this far in life without learning how to think on my feet. People tell me I’m an excellent lover.

Alright, new scenario. Now just bear with me here. I’m thinking… 1930’s New York. Prohibition. Scarface. No, no, no. The Howard Hawks Scarface. Which is not to say that the De Palma film isn’t without merit. Not at all. But I think the Hawks is a better reference for this moment. I can’t imagine myself as Tony Montana. Then again, maybe the gangster thing is wrong here. I fall back on that too much. How do you feel about cowboys. I’m thinking Hell’s Heroes? William Wyler? Are you familiar with that picture?

Actually, why don’t we scratch that, and… Are you familiar with any of my own work? The Departed, for instance? Thank you, thank you… I enjoyed working on it very much, thank you. But what I’m going to want you to do is to… Do you know the scene with Leo in the car with Martin Sheen and Mark Wahlberg, and Leo’s been undercover for a while now and is starting to feel the heat from Jack Nicholson’s Irish mob boss…? Right, he has a particular line, “What are you waiting for, for them to chop me up and feed me to the poor?” You remember? Leo had such an intensity in that scene, such desperation. Well, I want you to keep that in mind, as we proceed into the actual sex part. Just run that scene over and over in your mind, Leo’s face screaming that line… In fact…

Ingrid! Let’s get a Leo wig for the young lady. Yeah, the blonde one. And do we have any of The Departed costumes left? Wonderful. Thank you, Ingrid.

Ingrid’s going to get you your costume and wig. That’ll be much better, I think. Getting the costume and prosthetics right will really just add such a level of realism to it, don’t you think? I like realism in my love-making. Makes for a more visceral experience. So anyway, I want you to picture Leo DiCaprio screaming at Martin Sheen in the back of a police car, really get yourself into a frenzy there. And I’m definitely going to want to call you Leo, as we move into the actual sex… No, the character’s name was Billy Costigan. But, no, yeah, I’m going call you Leo.

Okay, here’s Ingrid with your suit. And it fits great. Eh, a little baggy, but that’s alright. The wig. Just get that on there, and… perfect. Ingrid can we get the lights up? Alright, and intensity… And just let me get into my gorilla costume here. Good. Now, remember you’re Leo DiCaprio… Jack Nicholson wants to chop you up and feed you to the poor… Roll film… aaand SEX!

Nathan Pensky is a writer and editor living in rural Pennsylvania. Follow him on Twitter.