“I don’t have a weird button on nudity really,” she says with a wave of her not-yet-manicured hand. “I guess I’m a bit hippie in that sense. You kind of know what you’re signing up for when you’re doing a show about a sex worker.” The 13-episode series jumps off from the 2009 Steven Soderbergh movie of the same name (starring porn star Sasha Grey as Christine), but it digs into the main character’s manipulative psyche even more, while expertly dodging clichés. “We weren’t making her come from some fucked-up background, or from abuse, or being forced into it.…I think the show is really not judgmental and unbiased to that world,” says Keough. “I didn’t want to be like, ‘Hey, I’m promoting it,’ or ‘Hey, I’m against it.’ We wanted to show an accurate story of this girl who ends up doing it.”
Truth be told, Christine is not particularly likable. As Keough puts it: “She’s selfish and controlling, and she really likes sex. She’s not a character you often see written for a woman as a lead, and you’re kind of put off by it, because women are supposed to be super wholesome and moral or whatever.” She pauses, her lips forming a lazy grin. “That’s why I liked it.”
Created by Lodge Kerrigan and Amy Seimetz, the drama was produced by Soderbergh, who played matchmaker between the creative team and Keough. Soderbergh first cast her as a hot-mess stripper in Magic Mike. “I got a very interesting vibe from her,” he says of Keough’s performance. “She seemed very unself-conscious. She has a quality that’s rare in a person, much less an actor. There’s no sense of trying to protect an idea of herself, or a persona that’s separate from who she is at her core.” Because of this, she establishes a startling intimacy with the viewer. “You really feel like you’re spying on her,” adds Soderbergh. “You feel like you’re watching someone when they’re alone.” He points out that the shoot, which took place during six months of winter in Toronto, was grueling. “And she had to carry the whole thing. I think she had one day off.”
Jacket and boots by Miu Miu, top by Merch Junkies, pants by Sandro.