Shades of Grey: Talking With Sasha Grey 

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Catherine mentions Last Tango in Paris a few times. Was the love scene, which involved Crisco and a fireplace, a playful nod to the infamous butter scene?
When I was writing the book, sometimes I would think of a favorite scene in a movie and then riff off that for an episode in Catherine’s life. So there are a ton of film references in the book. Some are obvious, many are not. But that way of working also fit with the idea that Catherine is someone who relates to the world around her—visually, emotionally, the way she reacts—through her love of film. Things she sees and experiences and learns always relate back to something she’s seen in the movies.

Have you known women like Anna, Catherine’s uninhibited and sexually liberated classmate who introduces her to the Juliette Society, or is she based on explorations of your own limitations?
I’ve met a lot of women like Anna, and while she seems free and uninhibited, Catherine slowly realizes that Anna doesn’t think about her actions. Like the old saying goes, “ignorance is bliss.” I wanted to depict two women who have taboo fantasies they intend to explore, but one is self aware, and the other isn’t.

Is there one creative medium you prefer?
I prefer writing and acting. Writing was my first passion that wasn’t influenced by my siblings or friends. But I like to learn and explore this world. I want to continue with photography. [My band] aTelecine formed in 2005/2006, and now I’m looking to branch out from that and try something different in music as well.

Do you plan on writing another novel?
I definitely do. I’m already planning the sequel for The Juliette Society! Also, look out for Nacho Vigalondo’s film Open Windows, starring Elijah Wood, Neil Maskell, and myself.


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