Lovelace Trailer Tries to Create a Legend

Slate's Culture Blog
July 3 2013 6:19 PM

Lovelace Trailer Tries to Create a Legend

Amanda Seyfried in Lovelace

Photo byDale Robinette– ©2013 - RADiUS-TWC

For a brief period in the early 1970s, Linda Lovelace was a huge star. Deep Throat, the mainstream "porno chic" event that brought adult film to the forefront of popular culture, brought her instant notoriety—it was successful enough that The New York Times and Roger Ebert (early into his career) reviewed it. Her success was short-lived, but her impact on sexual politics and feminism were arguably far-reaching. Is it safe to call Linda Lovelace a legend?

The trailer for Lovelace, the forthcoming biopic directed by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman and starring Amanda Seyfried in the title role, certainly wants you to think so. The movie is a long-gestating project that was once racing against the clock to make it to theaters before another biopic of the famous porn star, Inferno, directed by Matthew Wilder, did. (That film was initially set to star Seyfried’s Mean Girls co-star Lindsay Lohan; she was replaced by Malin Akerman.) Lovelace won the race when it screened at Sundance earlier this year—Inferno is currently still “in production” according to IMDb—and boasts a considerably more star-studded cast than its competition.


Peter Sarsgaard plays Chuck Traynor, her abusive husband and manager, with Sharon Stone, Hank Azaria, Bobby Cannavale, and James Franco—as Hugh Hefner—all lending their support to tell the story of the woman born Linda Boreman. From the trailer, it appears that the film will have everything you would expect from a biopic, covering all the expected beats between stardom and the fall from grace. Following her success, Lovelace made a few more poorly-received pornographic films, accused Traynor of having forced her at gunpoint to make Deep Throat, and by the end of the decade she was out of the business. A favorite target of feminists, Lovelace spent her later years speaking out against the pornography business and writing several memoirs.

It’s difficult to tell whether the film will rise above Lifetime movie status, but the cast is promising, as are the credentials of its directors—both have won Oscars for Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt, and Epstein also directed the influential documentary The Times of Harvey Milk.

“Her courage made her a legend,” the trailer’s titles tell us. While the desire to cast Lovelace as such is understandable, here’s hoping that the humanity Epstein and Friedman have been able to tap into in their other works shines through, too.

Aisha Harris is a Slate staff writer.


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