At least 170,000 lose jobs as film industry grinds to a halt due to coronavirus

Around 120,000 people are out of work in Hollywood, while in the UK it is estimated that 50,000 freelancers will lose their jobs

About 120,000 film industry workers have already lost their jobs in Hollywood as a result of the coronavirus shutdown, according to the US entertainment industry union IATSE (International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees).

The estimate emerged in a newsletter sent out by the ICG (International Cinematographers Guild) to its members, which said: The IATSE reports that the pandemic shutdown has resulted in the loss of 120,000 jobs held by its 150,000 members. It is critical that our industry be included in pending federal relief package.

The film and TV industry worldwide has experienced a near-total cessation of activity, with thousands of largely freelance crew laid off at short notice with little or no financial compensation. Scores of productions, ranging from studio shoots such as the Avatar sequels and Fantastic Beasts 3 to independent films such as Paul Schraders The Card Counter, have been halted.

The ICG, which has nearly 9,000 members, added: Although some of our members are being paid for up to two weeks after their shows shut down, based upon the reality of the healthcare crisis we now face, it is highly unlikely that productions will resume after so short a period of time This problem is likely to continue for months, not weeks.

In the UK, the situation for below the line crew appears equally catastrophic. Bectu (Broadcasting, Entertainment, Communications and Theatre Union) estimates around 50,000 industry freelancers will have lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic. The unions head, Philippa Childs, said: Nearly all film and TV production has ground to a halt in the UK The [countrys] world-class film and TV sector is at risk of a whole generation of talent being financially ruined by this crisis. A survey conducted by the union suggested that 71% of freelancers about 35,000 people in the industry will struggle to survive financially as a result of the shutdown.

Directors UK, the trade guild representing British screen directors, sent a letter to chancellor Rishi Sunak calling for further measures to support freelance and self-employed film industry personnel. Directors UK CEO Andrew Chowns wrote: There is now a critical need for similar emergency support measures to be introduced for self-employed workers who are worried, not just about losing their current work, but at the prospect of facing months without income as productions are suspended longer term and, for some smaller productions, indefinitely. Chowns called for the introduction of proportional income support and sick pay to mitigate the effects of the pandemic.

The Guardians callout for insight into how the shutdown has affected film industry workers has revealed scores of anecdotes about the impact of coronavirus. A selection will be published in the near future.

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James Franco accusers are ‘jumping on the #MeToo bandwagon’, say actor’s lawyers

Franco denies allegations and asks Los Angeles county superior court to dismiss lawsuit against him

James Franco has responded to allegations of sexual harassment by two former students by claiming they were an attempt to jump on the [#MeToo] bandwagon and played into the medias insatiable appetite to ruin the next celebrity.

In a demurrer filed on 28 February to the Los Angeles county superior court, Francos lawyers asked that the lawsuit filed in October by Sarah Tither-Kaplan and Toni Gaal be dismissed, saying none of the alleged events detailed had happened, and the statute of limitations had passed for the accusations.

Tither-Kaplan and Gaal have alleged that a now-defunct programme run by Francos Studio 4 acting school had enabled Franco and his male collaborators to engage in widespread inappropriate and sexually charged behavior towards female students by sexualizing their power as a teacher and an employer by dangling the opportunity for roles in their projects. Among other claims, Tither-Kaplan say Franco allegedly removed plastic guards that had been placed over actors genitals while he simulated oral sex.

In the demurrer, Francos lawyers state: The salacious allegations in the complaint have made great tabloid fodder, but like most tabloid stories, they are false and inflammatory, legally baseless and brought as a class action with the obvious goal of grabbing as much publicity as possible for attention-hungry plaintiffs.

The filing by Franco denies that actors were pressured to participate in nude scenes, saying that all performers had signed nudity waivers and no complaints were made at the time. It also denies that vaginal guards were removed as Tither-Kaplan alleged, saying that all of the performers using them confirmed this was the case.

In a statement the plaintiffs lawyer James Vagnini rebutted the filing. Mr. Francos aggressive effort to position himself as the victim and smear the reputation of the survivors who have come forward is, unfortunately, a tactic commonly used by perpetrators of wrongdoing We firmly believe Mr Francos claims to be without merit and we are confident that, as we work through the legal process and hear from numerous other witnesses and survivors, we will achieve full justice.

In 2018, he was accused of sexual misconduct by five women (including Tither-Kaplan), which he denied, and was sharply criticised only, including by Breakfast Club actor Ally Sheedy, after wearing a Times Up badge to the 2018 Golden Globes.

Franco is described in the statement as an ardent believer in the righteousness of the #MeToo and Times Up movements.

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Zac Efron falls ill while filming reality show Killing Zac Efron

US actor hit by suspected typhoid while filming survival TV series in Papua New Guinea

The American actor Zac Efron has confirmed he recently fell ill while filming a survival reality TV show in Papua New Guinea.

Australian media had reported that Efron, 32, was flown by helicopter for treatment in Australia after contracting a bacterial infection, possibly typhoid, while shooting the Killing Zac Efron series.

In a post on Monday on his official Twitter account, accompanied by a photograph of him in Papua New Guinea, Efron said he was back home for the holidays with my friends and family.

Very thankful to everyone who has reached out, his post said. I did get sick in Papua New Guinea but I bounced back quick and finished an amazing 3 weeks in PNG

Glenn McKay, a doctor with the Medical Rescue Group, told the Daily Telegraph on Sunday he could not discuss confidential patient information, but could confirm that Medical Rescue retrieved a US citizen in his 30s from PNG to Brisbane recently for medical attention.

The newspaper reported that doctors allowed Efron to fly home to Los Angeles on Christmas Eve.

Typhoid fever is transmitted by contaminated food and water, and kills 216,000 to 600,000 people worldwide each year.

Killing Zac Efron is billed as an adventure series in which the star ventures deep into the jungles of a remote, dangerous island to carve his own name in expedition history.

The series was commissioned by the short content platform Quibi, which is scheduled to launch in April.

Efron had previously posted images on social media showing him in a canoe on PNGs Sepik River and travelling to Yanchan Village to see a traditional skin-cutting ceremony.

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Rapper Common alleges childhood sexual assault

Oscar-winner says he recalled the traumatic memory while working with Laura Dern on the film The Tale

Common, the Oscar-winning rapper, actor and activist, has alleged that he was sexually abused as a child by a family friend.

In his memoir Let Love Have the Last Word, he recalls a trip to his aunts house aged nine or 10, accompanied by a relative of a family friend. He alleges that when they had to share a bed together one night, Brandon molested him and tried to have him reciprocate. I kept repeating no and pushing him away, Common writes. I felt a deep and sudden shame for what happened.

He says he pushed the whole thing out of my head, and didnt recall the incident until working on The Tale, a 2018 film whose storyline features a woman investigating childhood rape cases, and questioning her own past. One day, while talking through the script with Laura [Dern], old memories surprisingly flashed in my mind, he writes. I caught my breath and just kept looping the memories over and over, like rewinding an old VHS tape I said Laura, I think I was abused.

He writes that he has forgiven his alleged attacker: I want to be a person who helps break cycles of violence.

Common has had an illustrious career in music and film, with 11 studio albums and roles in films including American Gangster, Terminator Salvation and the John Wick saga. He has earned three Grammys from 20 nominations, and has twice been nominated for an Oscar for best original song, winning in 2015 for Glory, recorded for Selma.

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Buffing up Bond: when it’s time to send for the script doctor

As Phoebe Waller-Bridge puts a spring in Bond 25s step, we salute the craft of Hollywoods rewrite maestros, from Carrie Fisher to Quentin Tarantino

Script doctors are the well-remunerated but mostly unsung heroes of the film world, usually brought in to pep up lacklustre dialogue, help nail that difficult third act and generally give the movie an extra touch of class. Recruited from the ranks of established/hot writers, the gig can be seen as a lucrative payday, with little opprobrium attached if the picture is a flop and high praise if it is seen as having benefited from their input.

In the words of rewrite king Tom Mankiewicz (The Spy Who Loved Me, The Deep, The Eagle has Landed, Goonies, Gremlins etc): Its one of the few times when the writer has a certain control over a film, because youre coming in when the people on the film are at their most insecure, after all, if youre there, theyve had to admit that they needed someone there to help them out … Youre coming in like Jack Palance in Shane. Youre the hired gun. Everyone is waiting for a revelation. Youre supposed to bring better parts for the actors, better scenes for the director. And sometimes, everyone likes it, not because its necessarily better, but just because its different.

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Bond fixtures writers Robert Wade, left, and Neal Purvis. Photograph: David M Benett/Getty Images

In the case of Bond 25, the addition of Phoebe Waller-Bridge in the scriptwriters room should be accounted a blessing, especially if the pedestrian team of Neal Purvis and Robert Wade remain on board. The duo have been a fixture of Bond movies since 1999s The World Is Not Enough, usually with a co-writer such as Paul Haggis to brush up the dialogue and plotting. Left to their own devices they almost managed to sink the franchise with the uninspiring CGI-fest that was Die Another Day (2002).

But to be fair, writing Bond scripts, although a nice earner, didnt really bring out the best of either Roald Dahl (You Only Live Twice, 1967) or Flashman writer George MacDonald Fraser (Octopussy, 1983).

Other writers have managed to stamp some of their personality on the mainstream fare on which they were asked to sprinkle their particular brands of fairy dust. Quentin Tarantino punched up a couple of scenes in Tony Scotts submarine actioner Crimson Tide (1995) with Silver Surfer and Star Trek pop culture references, although to some viewers they appeared somewhat jarring in context.

Warp
Warp factor Denzel Washington in Crimson Tide, with added Star Trek dialogue by Quentin Tarantino. Photograph: Ronald Grant Archive

Hunter (Denzel Washington): Star Trek! The USS Enterprise? All right, now you remember when the Klingons were gonna blow up the Enterprise and Captain Kirk calls down to Scotty, he says: Scotty, I gotta have more power-

Vossler (Lillo Brancato Jr): He needs more, more warp speed, yeah.

Hunter: Warp speed, exactly. Now Im Captain Kirk, youre Scotty, I need more power. Im telling you if you do not get this radio up, a billion people are gonna die; now its all up to you, I know its a shitty deal but you got it, can you handle it?

Stellan
Black humour Stellan Skarsgrd, Jean Reno, Robert De Niro and Natascha McElhone in Ronin. Photograph: Everett Collection/Rex Features

Under the pseudonym Richard Weisz, playwright David Mamets major contributions to 1998s Ronin elevated the movie with some trademark jet black humour. An example:

Spence (Sean Bean): You ever kill anybody?
Sam (Robert De Niro): Hurt somebodys feelings once.

And:

Sam: So, howd you get started in this business?
Deirdre (Natascha McElhone): A wealthy scoundrel seduced and betrayed me.
Sam: Same with me. How about that?

And:

Spence: You worried about saving your own skin?
Sam: Yeah, I am. It covers my body.

Nice
Nice work Carrie Fisher. Photograph: Zuma Wire/Rex/Shutterstock

The late Carrie Fisher was said to be the most sought-after script doctor in Hollywood, chalking up an extensive list of well-paid rewrite gigs, including Hook (1991), Sister Act (1992), Lethal Weapon III (1992) and The Wedding Singer (1998). Hardly arthouse classics, but again, nice work if you can get it.

Some writers have found the role of script doctor a way of filling in time when they suffer from writers block or cant get their own projects off the ground. Aaron Sorkin (A Few Good Men, The Social Network) said: I did it because I was just going through a period where I was having a very difficult time coming up with my own ideas. I was climbing the walls. So I did what is called the production polish, where you are brought into the last two weeks on something that you are not emotionally invested in. Basically, they just wanted some snappy dialogue for Sean Connery and Nicolas Cage [in 1996s The Rock].

Snappy
Snappy dialogue Sean Connery and Nicolas Cage in The Rock. Photograph: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

When talking to Mark Lawson in 2010, the playwright Tom Stoppard was upfront in his motivations for indulging in his furtive-sounding once-a-year script polishes: The second reason for doing it is that you get to work with people you admire. The first reason, of course, is that its overpaid.

But others have found the role of script doctor dispiriting, despite the financial rewards, with Joss Whedon (Serenity, The Avengers) commenting: I refer to myself as the worlds highest-paid stenographer. This is a situation Ive been in a bunch of times.

The saddest case may possibly that of the scriptwriting legend Robert Towne (The Last Detail, Chinatown, Shampoo) whose post-70s career mainly consists of script polishes (sometimes uncredited) and the first two Mission: Impossible movies.

So, Phoebe what price Hollywood?

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Avengers: Endgame breaks global box-office record in opening weekend

Disneys film is on track to overtake Avatar as the highest-grossing film of all time

Disneys latest Avengers film has smashed box-office records on its opening weekend taking $1.2bn (1bn) and is on track to overtake Avatar as the highest-grossing film of all time.

Avengers: Endgame took a record $350m in the worlds biggest movie market, North America, smashed records for a foreign film in China, and grossed more than any other film on its opening weekend globally.

The star-studded film is the first to take more than $1bn on its debut. Avatar, released in 2009, currently holds the record for highest-grossing film with $2.79bn worldwide. At the very least, Avengers: Endgame will almost certainly surpass Titanic, the 1997 blockbuster starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, which ranks as the second biggest film of all time, taking $2.19bn globally.

The success of the film is a timely reminder that Disneys upcoming streaming service, Disney+, has the content firepower to challenge global market leader Netflix despite its late entry. Avengers: Endgame is one of many golden properties that will debut exclusively on the service, which launches later this year, before being released elsewhere. Disney has already pulled all of its content from Netflix in the US, ahead of a likely global pullout, costing the company hundreds of millions of dollars in licensing revenue in order to make its service a must-buy. In the US, subscriptions to Disney+ will be priced at $6.99 a month, just over half the monthly cost of Netflix, with a global rollout beginning next year.

The success of Avengers: Endgame is the culmination of 21 films in the Marvel superhero universe that started with Robert Downey Jrs Iron Man in 2008. Disney acquired Marvel in 2009 for $4bn, an acquisition criticised at the time as too highly priced, given that Marvel had licensed off a number of its then-major franchises, such as Spider-Man and X-Men, when the company was cash-strapped in the 1990s.

The success of the film is a reminder that movie-going remains hugely important, even in the much-hyped on-demand era, with the UK last year enjoying its best cinema attendance since 1971.

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Minnie Driver: men like Matt Damon ‘cannot understand what abuse is like’

Actor calls former co-stars remarks about spectrum of behaviour in sexual misconduct Orwellian and questions defence of disgraced comedian Louis CK

The actor Minnie Driver has told the Guardian that men simply cannot understand what abuse is like on a daily level and should not therefore attempt to differentiate or explain sexual misconduct against women.

Driver was discussing comments by Matt Damon, whom she once dated and with whom she starred in the Oscar-winning 1997 film Good Will Hunting. In an interview with ABC News this week, Damon said alleged sexual misconduct by powerful men involved a spectrum of behaviour.

Damon said there was a difference between patting someone on the butt and rape or child molestation. Both of those behaviours need to be confronted and eradicated without question, but they shouldnt be conflated.

He added that society was in a watershed moment and said it was wonderful that women are feeling empowered to tell their stories and its totally necessary. But he said: We live in this culture of outrage and injury, that were going to have to correct enough to kind of go, Wait a minute. None of us came here perfect.

In her first response to Damon, Driver wrote on Twitter: God God, seriously?

Gosh its so interesting (profoundly unsurprising) how men with all these opinions about womens differentiation between sexual misconduct, assault and rape reveal themselves to be utterly tone deaf and as a result, systemically part of the problem.

Drivers response to Damon was shared widely on social media, alongside that of the actor Alyssa Milano, who said: There are different stages of cancer. Some more treatable than others. But its still cancer.

On Saturday, Driver told the Guardian: I felt I desperately needed to say something. Ive realised that most men, good men, the men that I love, there is a cut-off in their ability to understand. They simply cannot understand what abuse is like on a daily level.

I honestly think that until we get on the same page, you cant tell a woman about their abuse. A man cannot do that. No one can. It is so individual and so personal, its galling when a powerful man steps up and starts dictating the terms, whether he intends it or not.

Drivers comments come more than two months into a radical national reappraisal of gender relations begun by accusations against Harvey Weinstein, an executive producer of Good Will Hunting who denies allegations including sexual assault and rape.

Speaking to ABC, Damon compared allegations against Weinstein, Al Franken, Kevin Spacey and the comedian Louis CK, whom he commended for his remorseful response.

Thats the sign of somebody who well, we can work with that, Damon said, adding: I dont know Louis CK. Ive never met him. Im a fan of his, but I dont imagine hes going to do those things again. You know what I mean? I imagine the price that hes paid at this point is so beyond anything …

Driver said that as accusations, suspensions and firings first swept through Hollywood, she initially refrained from comment. She was now moved to expand her initial response to Damon.

I dont understand why Matt would defend Louis CK, she said. It seems to me that he thinks that because he didnt rape somebody so far as we know that what he did do wasnt as bad.

The comedian was accused of misconduct including masturbating in front of a number of women. In response, he said these stories are true but did not specifically apologise.

Matt
Matt Damon attends a screening in New York. Photograph: Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

Thats a problem, Driver continued. If good men like Matt Damon are thinking like that then were in a lot of fucking trouble. We need good intelligent men to say this is all bad across the board, condemn it all and start again.

Driver argued that men should not be granted the power to interpret abuse inflicted on women without the risk of redoubling an injustice they can scarcely understand.

I felt that what Matt Damon was saying was an Orwellian idea, we are all equal except that some us are more equal than others, she said. Put abuse in there that all abuse is equal but some is worse.

She added: There is no hierarchy of abuse that if a woman is raped [it] is much worse than if woman has a penis exposed to her that she didnt want or ask for you cannot tell those women that one is supposed to feel worse than the other.

And it certainly cant be prescribed by a man. The idea of tone deafness is the idea there [is] no equivalency.

How about: its all fucking wrong and its all bad, and until you start seeing it under one umbrella its not your job to compartmentalise or judge what is worse and what is not. Let women do the speaking up right now. The time right now is for men just to listen and not have an opinion about it for once.

Since the first publication of allegations against Weinstein, a number of women have come forward to detail abuse they have suffered. This week, the actor Salma Hayek wrote a long essay for the New York Times about her treatment by Weinstein.

There is not a woman I know, Driver said, myself included, who has not experienced verbal abuse and sexual epithets their whole fucking life, right up to being manhandled and having my career threatened several times by men I wouldnt sleep with.

Driver did not elaborate on the persons or circumstances involved. But she expressed optimism that as the culture of harassment and abuse that has existed is exposed, men will find a way to support women.

In the same stereotypical way that we see women being supportive of men in their endeavors, she said, I feel thats what women need of men in this moment. They need men to lean on and not question.

Men can rally and they can support, but I dont think its appropriate, per se, for men to have an opinion about how women should be metabolising abuse. Ever.

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Disney plans drastic response to ‘Coco’ audiences hating on that 20-minute ‘Frozen’ short

Image: disney

Olaf’s Frozen Adventure will be put on ice.

Disney has directed theaters running Coco, Pixar’s latest, to remove the deeply unpopular 22-minute Frozen short that plays in front of each screening. The removal goes into effect on Dec. 8, sources familiar with the matter confirmed to Mashable.

The request from Disney also asks that theaters use the newly freed-up time to hold extra screenings of Coco each day.

Pixar movies generally open with a completely unrelated short film, usually running no more than 10 minutes. Olaf changed the game somewhat, between its length and its reliance on a Disney Animation Studios hit (Pixar’s shorts are generally homegrown).

The Frozen short has been especially problematic for a number of reasons. Length is the biggest issue, of course, since the actual movie doesn’t start until 40 minutes after the advertised time, between trailers, ads, and Olaf. That’s a lot of extra sitting around for an audience comprised primarily of kids expecting a story about music and family, set against the backdrop of Mexico’s Dia de los Muertos.

Some have also accused Disney of shameless self-promotion, for swapping in what is seen as an ad for Frozen 2 — which is out in Nov. 2019 — where there would usually be a Pixar creation. As Mashable’s Brittany Levine wrote last week, Olaf’s Frozen Adventure “felt like Disney was spitting in my popcorn for 21 minutes.”

Disney hasn’t yet responded to a request for comment.

Entertainment editor Josh Dickey contributed reporting to this story.

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From suburban housewife to porn star at 52: the emancipation of Morgana

Suffering from depression at the end of an unhappy marriage, Morgana Muses found a new lease on life by making body-positive, anti-ageist BDSM films

A turquoise-haired woman takes the stage at Berlins Porn Film Festival in stiletto boots and an evening dress split high up the thigh. The snigger from a couple in the audience is barely audible, but then, the woman is attuned to it. She stiffens for a second, and takes the microphone. You can laugh if you like, she says, but darling, I was a young, gorgeous creature once and youre going to be my age one day.

Applause.

At 52, Morgana Muses is a regular at adult festivals, but with her body-positive, anti-ageist BDSM films, shes not your regular adult star. In Having My Cake, she devours sweet treats off the body of cross-dressing performance artist Bishop Black. In Its My Birthday And Ill Fly If I Want To, shes trussed up into a scarlet web by Sydney rope artist Garth Knight. At the more extreme end, theres Breathtaking, in which she is choked by a female partner and submerged under bathwater.

While sadomasochism can seem like an aggressive concept, Muses insists the BDSM community revolves around care, trust and inclusivity, which were all elements that had been missing from her previous life. Each session of play is a micro-moment of deep connection, Muses says. I just fall into this magical space and disappear. Someone asked me recently, have I found my boundaries? I said no, Im still searching.

Her films often have an off-kilter humour, so its not surprising to hear that Muses is the instigator of red carpet hijinks. At New Yorks CineKink, she persuaded pornographic actress Stoya and other stars to assume positions in a cheerleader stack or a porn pyramid, as she puts it for the assembled photographers.

Typical Australian twat, she snorts self-deprecatingly now.

Morgana
Before she was Morgana Muses, the porn performer was a conventional housewife. Photograph: Morgana documentary team

If the interest in Muses starts with a snigger, perhaps its because seeing a middle-aged woman naked on screen is such an alien experience. The mainstream industry caricatures women of a certain age, Muses says, complaining of the video tags such as Milf, Gilf and Granny on sites such as PornHub. And those Milfs are usually in their late 20s. People see my work as pioneering because they dont want their own sexuality to have an expiration date.

Despite her confidence on film, Muses confesses to naivety and nerves. When we meet in a Melbourne food court, she is flanked protectively by the two women making a documentary, Morgana, about her life. One of them is Josie Hess, her partner in production company Permission4pleasure. Isabel Peppard, who recently made the acclaimed animation Butterflies, had been recruited to direct Its My Birthday, but quickly saw the value in the real-life story of a stifled housewife turned pornographer. I left our first meeting with a tingling feeling of destiny, Peppard says.

Muses had been trapped in an unhappy marriage, suffering depression and psychotic breaks after both her pregnancies, and dealing with being a mother while having a mental illness that no one will acknowledge. Upon getting divorced, she realised society expected her to discreetly fade to black.

During the filming of Morgana, the trio travelled to Muses former hometown of Albury, where, as Hess observes, the clouds had descended and there were crows on all the wires. Muses took them to a bleak stretch of highway in which she would drive at crazy speeds in the middle of the night, listening to Tom Joness Sometimes We Cry. To the two younger women, well-versed in horror movies, suburban living was existentially chilling.

Theres a creepy gothic thing going on where youre raised for your role of Stepford Wives mother in a patriarchal society, almost on an assembly line, Peppard says. Being a model-maker, Peppard set to work representing this in the documentary by creating the faade of a dolls house in which to imprison her star, as well as miniature sets of suburbs, to be torched. Theres a big character trajectory: ego death and loss of identity; being cast out of your community and almost stateless; then rising, phoenix-like. Theres almost a mythology to it.

Muses life pivoted when she decided she would hire a male escort for a last hurrah before ending it all. Lengthy research unearthed John, a 39-year-old university graduate, articulate, with refined good looks. We talked for months, then I booked him for my 47th birthday. Im not a picking-up-in-a-bar type person, she says. Its not in my nature. I need to get to know people before I can allow myself to let go.

She booked a suite at Sydneys Shangri La, and planned an evening of fine dining followed by a performance of Richard III, starring Kevin Spacey. It was beautiful. And the sex was great, too dont get me wrong.

A friendship with John developed, and through their conversations, Muses started to consider her unrealised desires. She booked him for company at events such as the Xplore Festival (now called The Sydney Festival of Really Good Sex), and sampled the workshops on offer. Having found her people, she became further absorbed into the kink community, flying to Berlin to attend gatherings.

The next step, she decided, was to make a film. But it was just for myself, a bit like getting your own personal sexy photos taken. After reading about a competition hosted by German feminist filmmaker Petra Joy, on the topic of female fantasy, Muses recruited John and his partner to help as a co-star and camera operator respectively. I fantasised about the things I wanted to do on my first date with him, she says, things that Id always been curious about.

Morgana
Morgana Muses: In the middle of the night Ill have these twitches of shame and self-doubt … The important thing is it no longer imprisons me. Photograph: Supplied: Morgana documentary team

The result was Duty Bound, a short film about a 47-year-old woman regaining her self-worth through sex. I thought, no ones going to see it, Muses laughs, but then the film won the Petra Joy award for first-time filmmakers, and Joy encouraged Muses to keep going. A few collaborations with respected adult director Anna Brownfield followed, with barely time to consider the consequences. Yet the more Muses became immersed in kink, the more supported she felt.

Muses teenage children know about their mothers new career, but the family and older friends of Muses will not make an appearance in the documentary. Peppard says: For once, we wanted to grant the woman her perspective. But Muses admits she still struggles with shame: There are times when I think: fuck society, Im going to do my thing. Then in the middle of the night Ill have these twitches of shame and self-doubt. I think that keeps me grounded. The important thing is it no longer imprisons me.

Now that shes promoting a Kickstarter campaign to fund the post-production of Morgana (with producer Karina Astrup on board), Muses is facing her fears, wondering how people will react to what Peppard jokingly calls the Shirley Valentine for the new millennium. Peppard and Hess reassure her that people will engage with the theme of rebirth. A lot of women will see themselves in you, Peppard tells her. And men, too, who fear that their time has come and gone.

The launch party for the Kickstarter campaign was certainly celebratory, with wrestlers dressed as mother-daughter tag teams: Little Edie and Big Edie from Grey Gardens taking on Carrie White and her religious fanatic mother Margaret from Brian de Palmas Carrie. Faces from the adult and burlesque communities turned up in support or took their turns on stage.

Despite the judgment her lifestyle will receive, Muses hopes the documentary may be a lifeline to men and women who feel starved of intimacy. I see myself as an ordinary woman who has had extraordinary experiences.

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Janeane Garofalo is a tiny thing, but the air around her crackles

I think about all Garofalos combined experience on screen and stage, and smile at how lucky I am to have seen her in the flesh

One of my favourite romantic comedies was released all the way back in 1996, and while it rarely makes it on to the best-of lists, trust me, The Truth About Cats & Dogs isup there with the greatest. Its avery loose play on Cyrano De Bergerac, except in this version aman falls in love with the face andbody of one woman and the voice of another. That other woman is Janeane Garofalo.

As ateen and even now Iconnected instinctively and intensely with hercharacter: acharming, funny, insecure feministradio host. Ihave followed Garofalos career ever since, but herlower profile in recent years means I havent dedicated much brain space to her.

Last week, I went to see her in theBroadway revival of Scott McPhersons family drama-comedy Marvins Room. My findings are asfollows: Janeane Garofalo on stage is just as potent as she is on screen. Her character, Lee, is one oflifes strivers: a bit broken and brittle, a little tart, but possessed ofan iron will to have survived thusfar.

I dont go to the theatre as often asI would like 15 months of living in New York has seen only four visits but every time I am stunned by the intimacy of it. Garofalos a tiny thing, still, but the air around her crackles.

Afterwards, I spent hours looking up YouTube clips. Shes done so much! (Please watch The Truth About Cats & Dogs and Romy And Micheles High School Reunion immediately.) I thought about all Garofalos combined experience on screen and stage, and smiled at how lucky I am to have seen her in the flesh. It was a smug smile, yes.

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