Ari Graynor Schools GQ On the Finer Points of Phone Sex

In the lady-anchored raunch-com For a Good Time, Call…, our favorite on-the-rise scene-stealer, Ari Graynor (The Sitter), plays a salty sex-line entrepreneur. So our fearless reporter Lauren Bans asked her what any self-respecting quasi-self-parodying men’s magazine would: Could she, um, give us some dirty-talk pointers? She had loads. An excerpt below. Click here for the full sex talk.

GQ: So I’ll start with something like: Hello, this is Winifred, and you’ve reached 1-800-PHONE-SEX! Where we do things like…have phone sex.
Ari Graynor: Um…okay. It’s all about the tone of the voice. Pretend you’re excited. Everything the other person says just makes you tickle with utmost delight!

GQ: Got it. Let me tell you what I’m wearing—I’m in one of those loooong, looose maxi dresses from the Gap.
Ari Graynor: Maybe you could say it’s from Gap Body? That sounds more intimate.

GQ: And how does one get to the action? Would So what are you doing…? suffice?
Ari Graynor: If you’re really running a phone-sex line—for money or for comedy—you would want people to be on the phone for a long time. Start off with small talk. Get to know each other. It could be Oh, you live in Detroit? I hear it’s diiirty there. Have fun with adjectives. They should relate to feelings, colors, or textures. Like, if I asked you: What are you doing right now? You could say: I’m writing… C’mon!

GQ: …I’m doing an interview. It’s sooo hard.
Ari Graynor: Yes! I’m turned on already.

GQ: I’m stretching right now. I don’t know if you can hear me.
Ari Graynor: No, I can. You’re getting very limber, and I like it. Are you flexible?

GQ: If I’m standing straight, I can bend my hands down to, like, my knees?
Ari Graynor: Um, maybe: Oh yeeeeah. I can go all the way down.

The GQ+A: Mad Men's Christina Hendricks on Joan's Epic Moral Moment

A quick excerpt from GQ contributor Gwynne Watkins’s interview this week with Hendricks. The full article is here.

Christina Hendricks: It was a crazy episode the other day.

GQ: Yes it was! So tell me your reaction to first learning about that storyline. I’d imagine it’s the kind of thing that could make a person nervous.
Christina Hendricks:
[Laughs] Honestly, Matt [Weiner] had told me about that storyline, I think it was either last season or the season before. He’d had it in his mind, and was planning on using it before, but the development of the characters just didn’t get to that point. So I’d had some knowledge of it for quite some time. Yeah, it makes you nervous! ‘Cause you think, well, how are people going to respond to Joan doing this? But I think Matt’s writing and the way it was done shows what people will do out of necessity and for survival. I thought it was beautifully written.

GQ: Yes. Although the episode was extremely hard to watch, I didn’t feel like the show itself was exploiting Joan; she was an active player in the events.
Christina Hendricks:
You know, there’s a moment where Pete is pitching this idea, and he says, “Haven’t we all done something, made a mistake one night for free?” All the men in this office have done sort of off-color things, and acted in ways that we’ve all hissed at throughout the entire series. She acted like one of the guys, to a certain extent. And she’s a single mother. When Lane comes in [with the $50,000 offer] and she says, “It’s four times as much as I make in the entire year”—are you kidding me? How moral are we all? How much can it help my family, and how much can it help my son? And once it’s done, it’s done; it never has to be spoken about again. But it’s a terrible price to pay.

Why Does Nicole Kidman Pee On Zach Zac Efron In The Paperboy?

Director Lee Daniels explains to GQ’s Logan Hill what the hell he was thinking with his instantly infamous scene from tthe Cannes Film Festival so-bad-its-good (or maybe just plain bad) conversation-starter. Click here to watch a scene.

The big headline going around the Internet today is: “Nicole Kidman pees on Zac Efron.”
Is it?

Of course. Because you have Nicole Kidman pee on Zac Efron. That’s the way the Internet works. Three other women offer to pee on Zac Efron’s jellyfish wounds and Kidman says, “If anyone’s gonna pee on you…”
"…it’s gonna be me."

Funniest line of the festival. Tell me about that scene. Why did it have to be in there?
Well, I got nervous at the end, after we shot it. So I called Nicole. First of all, it was really hard to shoot. It was the third day. The first scene we shot was the sex scene with John [Cusack and Kidman]. I like to get that right out of the way. The second day was the telepathic sex scene in the prison. And the third day of shooting was the piss scene.

Ha! You front-loaded it, so that way if they try to back out…
I got it! Yes, I got it! Yes, see ya! …But, when right before I sent it off to Cannes, I called Nicole at three in the morning. I said, “Nicole, I can’t do it, I’ve gone too far. I can’t put that scene in the movie.” She said, “Lee, you made me pee on Zac Efron, if you don’t put that in the movie, you’re out of your freakin’ mind. I did it! I did it!” [A publicist interrupts with a two-minute warning.] No, not yet, yo! This is GQ, this is my favorite magazine. We gotta keep talking… What was I saying?

You were talking to Nicole.
She said, “No way, you’re out of your mind.” So we put it in. That was the one where I thought, “Oh… No…” When you’re doing the script it makes sense, when you’re shooting it, it makes sense, but then you see the totality and you’re like, “Woah. Woah.”

What was it that made you worry? Walk me through it.
Look, the dude [Efron] gets a hard-on because he’s sitting there staring at [Kidman’s] ass. But I couldn’t go there because I refused to show the hard-on. I wasn’t going to do that. Then she says, “Take that hard-on and go over to those other girls [nearby on the beach].” In the book, he goes into the water to swim off the hard-on, but I had to reconstruct the scene because it was too much.

So you’re thinking, it’s already toned down…
It’s already way down, dude! Way down. And then he goes swimming and he’s attacked by jellyfish. And how you fix it is with urine. And it’s brilliantly written by Pete Dexter.

But, let’s be honest, then you go for it! It’s not like it’s framed by a palm tree and you barely see it. You zoom in on Nicole’s thighs and we see the golden shower! There’s no cut-away. You went for it, c’mon.
Let me ask you something, dude, what did you think?

I howled. Of course I did: It’s Nicole Kidman peeing on Zac Efron.
Ha! And if you could have watched Zac’s face: He’s supposed to be passed out and [while she’s peeing] he’s just got this smile on his face. I’m like, “Zac, pretend like you’re dead!” And he’s just got this crazy smile on his face. The whole thing’s crazy.

GQ June 2012: Michael Fassbender

If you know a lot about Michael Fassbender, you’re probably obsessed with him. If you know only a little about Michael Fassbender, it’s probably one thing in particular—that he’s well, ahem, represented in certain, ahem, places. What is it like simultaneously living with the mantle of being the next great actor of your generation and being reduced to a caricature of a single sex organ. GQ correspondent Chris Heath finds out in our cover story this month about the Irish actor and star of the upcoming Prometheus, Ridley Scott’s sort-of-prequel to Alien. Below, an excerpt. Click here for the full story. And here for more scorching photos of Fassbender from Mario Testino.

In the middle of the room is a mini Ping-Pong table, borrowed from his British agent, who lives nearby. “Now that it’s here,” says Fassbender, “it’s not going. This table has been the best contribution for fun I’ve had in a long time. This table has seen some action…” He pauses, laughs. “That sounds wrong.”

But has it? I say, gently pushing.

"Just the paddles," he deflects, and of course he then realizes that this sounds wrong, too, in exactly the same way.

No matter. Just an inconsequential bit of innuendo. Except that right now, and ever since the release of Shame, I’m not sure that in the life of Michael Fassbender there is such a thing as an inconsequential bit of innuendo. For every person who actually saw the movie, and Fassbender’s monumental, unflinching portrayal of a man lost in the abyss of his unappeasable sexual appetite, there are dozens more who only know it as the movie in which he shows absolutely everything. And so, for the past few months Fassbender has been cast adrift in a shoreless ocean of innuendo. It has been relentless. He has been required to smile through endless hilarious penis-joke interviews. (Here’s a representative example, from the prime-time British boys-and-cars TV show Top Gear: “You had to do, let’s be honest, a full-frontal nude scene—was it hard?” Next, the pithy follow-up remark: “I mean, this was an impressive sausage….”) He has been required to grin appreciatively at playful public mockery from his peers. (Most notably, George Clooney’s speech at this year’s Golden Globes: “Michael, honestly, you can play golf…with your hands behind your back.”) And he has been required—this really happened—to identify a series of screen shots of famous penises in the movies. (Twice. Both times on MTV. The second time while standing on an awards-show red carpet.)

All of this he has done with apparent good humor, at least if you don’t try to read too much into his body language or the way his eyes shift or the flickering edges of his smile. Next to all that, what’s a gentle double entendre about sex on a very small Ping-Pong table? Go with it.

"Paddles," he repeats. "And balls."

And he grins, exactly as you would grin if you found this funny, though it’s easy to understand why he also says, “So it starts.”

The history of Where the Wild Things Are is strangely tied up with the children’s-book adaptation Jonze didn’t make, Harold and the Purple Crayon. When Jonze was first taking studio meetings in the mid-’90s about possible films (early on, he turned down the second Ace Ventura movie), at one such meeting he spotted a copy of Maurice Sendak’s book lying on a table. Where the Wild Things Are was a story his mother had read to him as a child. “I can still totally hear the inflection of all the lines through her—I hear her delivery of them,” he says. “I do remember it being hypnotic. Just totally engrossing. Not even wanting to be Max, but just in being Max.” The book was there because Sendak had a production deal with that studio; Harold and the Purple Crayon was one of the projects he was producing. That was how Jonze got to know Sendak, and Sendak Jonze. The author, who is known for being prickly and protective when it comes to his work, liked what he found. As Sendak would later describe: “He was the strangest little bird I’d ever seen. He had fluttered into the world of the studios, and could he not be swatted dead, I knew he would manage. I had total faith in him.

– From GQ correspondent Chris Heath’s 2009 profile of Spike Jonze, timed to the release of his movie version of Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are

The Geek Shall Inherit The Earth:
How Joss Whedon (Finally) Won

From GQ contributor Alex Pappademas's triumphant new profile of the man behind Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly and now, at long last, The Avengers. (Oh and in case you’re wondering: that rad illustration is by Cliff Chiang.)

It is a true there-is-no-God injustice that it’s taken this long for somebody to give Whedon, whose entire oeuvre is a study in how to make comic-bookish subject matter live and breathe realistically and emotionally on-screen, a big-ticket superhero movie to direct. He’s come close, a few times. Most recently there was Wonder Woman. He was going to write and direct it for Joel Silver. The archetypal female-hero-worshipping auteur and the ultimate female superhero—perfect, right? Didn’t happen. There were others, before that. A pre-Robert Downey Iron Man. And there was Batman. Don’t even ask him about Batman.

Okay, fine: It was a while ago, between the day-glo Joel Schumacher sequels and the Chris Nolan reboot (which Whedon loves, don’t get him wrong.) There was a lot more, in Whedon’s take, about the orphaned Bruce Wayne as a morbid, death-obsessed kid. There was a scene—Whedon used to well up, just thinking about it—where young Bruce tries to protect this girl from being bullied in an alley, an alley like the one his parents were murdered in.

"And he’s like this tiny 12-year-old who’s about to get the shit kicked out of him. And then it cuts to Wayne Manor, and Alfred is running like something terrible has happened, and he finds Bruce, and he’s back from the fight, and he’s completely fine. And Bruce is like, ‘I stopped them. I can stop them.’ That was the moment for me. When he goes ‘Oh, wait a minute; I can actually do something about this.’ The moment he gets that purpose, instead of just sort of being overwhelmed by the grief of his parents’ death."

So he goes in and pitches this. He’s on fire, practically shaking. “And the executive was looking at me like I was Agent Smith made of numbers. He wasn’t seeing me at all. And I was driving back to work, and I was like, ‘Why did I do that? Why did I get so invested in that Batman story? How much more evidence do I need that the machine doesn’t care about my vision? And I got back to work and got a phone call that Firefly was cancelled. And I was like, ‘It was a rhetorical question! It was not actually a request! Come on!’”

When The Avengers came around, Whedon was coming off two canceled TV shows and a direct-to-the-Internet musical. I ask him if, given recent history, he would have hired himself to do the job. “Hell yeah,” he says. “I’m a writer-director, and I adore comic books, and I tend to work fast—which, given their schedule and the fact that they didn’t have a script, is useful.”

In fact, there was a script, by veteran superhero-movie scribe Zak Penn, whose association with Marvel’s movie-verse goes back to 2006; he’ll share a “story by” credit with Whedon on The Avengers. I gently bring this up.

"There was a script," Whedon acknowledges. "There just wasn’t a script I was going to film a word of." (Reached for comment, Penn says he was a little disappointed by Whedon’s decision to take over. "We could have collaborated more, but that was not his choice. He wanted to do it his way, and I respect that. I mean, it’s not like on the Hulk, where I got replaced by the lead actor,” he says, referring to Edward Norton’s infamous decision to install himself as lead screenwriter on that film. “That was an unusual one. This was more normal.”)

Whedon says he realized pretty quickly that if he was going to direct this thing, and the movie-star-heavy cast that came with it, he’d have to write it himself, too. “I needed that bedrock of certainty, so that when they asked me why something was [in the script], I could tell them exactly.”


Kill Your Style Idols!

Sure, Steve McQueen and Paul Newman were spiffy dudes. And no one’s saying that’s changed! They’re in the HOF forever. But enough already—you get no points for trying to follow in their footsteps, no cred for acknowledging their awesomeness. It’s time to find some fresh fellas to admire. Presenting your new, totally un-played-out style icons, starting with that Wailer up there (your ample replacement for your decade-long Mick obsession). Click here for more picks.

The Man Who Hacked Hollywood

The hacker’s eyes widened as the image filled his screen. There, without her makeup, stood Scarlett Johansson, her famous face unmistakable in the foreground, her naked backside reflected in the bathroom mirror behind her, a cell phone poised in her hand snapping the shot. Holy shit, he thought. This was a find—even for him. For years, he had stealthily broken into the e-mail accounts of the biggest players in Hollywood. He had daily access to hundreds of messages between his victims and their managers, lawyers, friends, doctors, family, agents, nutritionists, publicists, etc. By now he knew more dirt than almost anyone in L.A.—the secret romances, the hidden identities, films in all stages of development. Still, this photo, a private self-portrait of one of our biggest stars, was something new, something larger than life, especially his. “You feel like you’ve seen something that the rest of the world wanted to see,” he says. “But you’re the only one that’s seen it.”

From GQ contributor David Kushner’s exclusive report on Chris Chaney, the man who cracked the email accounts of dozens of Hollywood’s biggest stars—including Scarlett Johansson and Mila Kunis—and spilled their secrets for the world to see