Prior to its second season premiere date, True Detective made headlines after hiring several porn actresses for what the Hollywood Reporter called a “deliriously vast orgy sequence involving dozens of naked bodies in Eyes Wide Shut-caliber sex antics.” Turns out that, according to a new report by LA Weekly, True Detective is actually one of many television series that are now turning to the adult film world to find actors for their raunchier and more graphic sex scenes.

In the past several years, Game of Thrones, Sons of Anarchy, and Ray Donavan have all hired porn stars, usually to perform scenes that more mainstream Hollywood actors are not comfortable with.

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“Working with adult performers is easier, for nudity aspects, because they have no inhibitions about getting naked in front of the camera. Whereas if you call Central Casting and go, ‘I need 20 girls to be on a porn set, semi-naked,’ it’s like a really hard order to fill,” says Howard Levine, a porn distributor who fell into porn contracting work after being cast as a biker extra on Sons of Anarchy. He became a unofficial consultant for the show and was eventually given a official casting position.

Kurt Sutter, the creator of Sons of Anarchy, explain his reasoning for hiring both Levine and adult film actors to LA Weekly’s Lila Seidman:

“I wanted real porn stars. Howard was very helpful bringing in the right talent. And often in SOA, sex and violence were interwoven in scenes. We needed players who were comfortable enough with the nudity to be able to react to someone’s head getting blown off. Literally, not orally. We found that adult talent was the best choice.”

(“Howard’s a great guy but not representative of our casting process,” Sutter also says. “He’s an independent porntractor who works out of the back of his truck. A truck full of XXX DVDs.”)

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Vulture’s Sean Fitz-Gerald highlights the pros and cons for porn stars who attempt to cross over into more mainstream Hollywood productions:

The common thread, as others interviewed in the article also underlined, is that porn stars are generally better to work with in more sexually charged scenes and roles because of comfort and efficiency reasons. The downside to this, of course, is that porn producers and actors who have broader aspirations fear that those affiliated with the adult industry will only be recruited for roles and jobs of that nature.

Some have managed just fine—Sasha Grey, James Deen, and Sibel Kekilli (Shae on Game of Thrones) have all found mainstream success, but they—for now, anyway—are the exceptions and not the rule. Other porn stars are still mostly regulated to background fucking—i.e., anonymously humping old dudes as Rachel McAdams stumbles around an L.A. mansion or anonymously humping old dudes as Tyrion Lannister stumbles around a Volantis brothel. (Is it union, at least?)

Some, like porn producer Magnus Sullivan, imagine that mainstream media could one day make the porn industry entirely unnecessary.

“The only thing that separates adult now from mainstream is the ability to shoot hard cock, pink and penetration,” he tells LA Weekly. “Mainstream goes right up to the edge, and I don’t think it will be long until we see hard cock.”

Well, as time goes on and the worlds of porn and entertainment evolve, we can at least take comfort in the idea that pornographers still talk like it’s the 1970s.


Contact the author at madeleine@jezebel.com.

Image via HBO.