Livin’ Thing: An Oral History of ‘Boogie Nights’

Alex French and Howie Kahn, Grantland:

Philip Seymour Hoffman
A bunch of us visited a porn set one day.

Nicole Ari Parker
It was a female director running the shoot, really a tough cookie — a former porn star, I think. She was a real serious director in jeans, a T-shirt, and a baseball cap giving the actors direction about positioning. It was a very authentic film shoot except for the two people having sex, doggy-style, by a pool.

William H. Macy
She looked like any director I’ve ever worked with. She had X amount of hours to shoot X number of pages, and she had that same frantic gait. And the actors are sort of la-di-da, having a grand old time, you know, not worrying about the clock. Looked like any other shoot. It could have been Masterpiece Theatre.

I know, I know. Oral histories. It feels like there’s a new one every week. But this is one you should make time for. I mean, you could quote from this thing for days:

William H. Macy
This is what happened. Ricky Jay stops me and I said, “Listen, do you mind, I’m a little distracted. There’s a guy with his dick in my wife’s ass.” And that was take one. And then a second take, I said, “My fucking wife has an ass in her cock.” And Paul said, “You said, ‘ass in her cock.’” And I said, “Oh, I did? Sorry. Ha, ha, ha.” So take three, I think I did it right. Take four, he said, “You said it again.” I said, “No, I didn’t. I didn’t. I’m sure I didn’t.” He said, “You did.” I said, “I didn’t. I’m pretty sure.” We did another take. And then when I saw the film, he’d decided to use the “ass in her cock.” And that’s the genius of Paul Thomas Anderson.