Ex-porn star brings trouble to Texas town in Cannes film ‘Red Rocket’

screenmixJuly 15, 2021
(From left) US actress Suzanna Son, US actor Simon Rex and US actress Bree Elrod pose during a photocall for the film ‘Red Rocket’ at the 74th edition of the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France, on July 15, 2021. — AFP pic
(From left) US actress Suzanna Son, US actor Simon Rex and US actress Bree Elrod pose during a photocall for the film ‘Red Rocket’ at the 74th edition of the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France, on July 15, 2021. — AFP pic

LONDON, July 15 — A former porn star returns to his Texas home town in American director Sean Baker’s “Red Rocket”, a raw character study, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival. Set in the run-up to the 2016 US election, the comedy drama follows award-winning adult film actor Mickey Saber, played by Simon Rex, who flees Los Angeles for Texas City, hoping to stay with his estranged wife Lexi.

He rekindles their relationship for selfish reasons but soon a 17-year-old shop assistant called Strawberry catches his eye, namely as a prospective adult film co-star.

“What it comes down to is that it’s my reaction to what I’m not seeing enough of, especially in US film and TV,” Baker, known for independent films “The Florida Project”, “Tangerine” and “Starlet”, told a news conference on Thursday.

“All my films cover the underground economy because I find it fascinating that there’s a thriving billion dollar underground economy in what we consider the richest country on the earth … Why is that underground economy happening? Are there people who aren’t allowed into the system? And so I want to explore that.” While Saber is conniving and selfish, Rex said he still wanted audiences to cheer for him. “It wasn’t really about digging into the character … as much as it was his personality that I wanted to make interesting and to make him a likeable arsehole, if that makes sense, because you want to root for the guy, but he has to be unredeemable,” he said.

“So that was the fine line … you’ve got to root for him otherwise you’re going to lose interest in the movie and not care what happens.”

Baker said he had sought advice for the film’s numerous sex scenes.

“We had both adult film stars and sex workers and we really, wanted to hear what they wanted us to do, meaning I asked them how they wanted the correct representation,” he said.

“They read our initial script … and they gave us notes, which were incredible.”

“Red Rocket”, which received positive reviews from critics, is in the running for the Palme d’Or prize at the festival. — Reuters

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