Deep Throat has been an X-rated cultural touchstone since it was released in 1972. And while Debi Mazar claims to have never seen the film, you’d never know from seeing her in Lovelace, the biopic of Deep Throat star Linda Lovelace from directors Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman. In the film, Mazar plays Dolly Sharp, a porno veteran who does her best to look out for Amanda Seyfried’s Lovelace—in between shooting her own scenes, of course.
We recently caught up with a fully clothed Mazar to talk about skipping the gym, porn stars in the mainstream, and the actor on set she did a little extra rehearsing with.
What was your reaction when you first heard there was going to be a Linda Lovelace biopic?
I remember Linda Lovelace in a pop cultural sense and being a reference for, well, deep throat, and being what all men want. She became this sort of shorthand for good fellatio. I never knew Linda’s history, I just thought of her as a fantastic porn star. I never saw Deep Throat, but when I was offered the role, being that it was by Rob and Jeffery, I knew that they would take the subject matter and turn it into something fantastic.
After I read the script I was like, Whoa, this is really intense. I didn’t know her background. I didn’t know how dark her life was. I was tearful; I felt really bad for her.
You really never saw the source material here?
No! I was going to order it, and then I didn’t. And then I was going to order it, and then time lapsed by because I was working on something else. And then I was like, Shit, I need to do my research, and started pulling up stuff on Dolly on the Internet. I was able to see the exact scene that I would have to replicate from the movie. I didn’t need to see the rest of the movie.
What did you learn about Dolly?
She loved being a porn star. That much I could tell just by the scenes that I could see on the Internet.
You had a surprising co-star in one scene: your husband, Gabriele Corcos.
The good news for me was there’s a line I say: “You mind if I smoke while you eat?” And I asked, who’s the guy? They said we’d just get an extra, and I said maybe we can use my husband, he’s on camera a lot with me on our cooking show. They said sure, bring him in, and they put a 1970s wig on him. Just having my husband there made me feel very comfortable, and it gave me the freedom to relax and just do my comedy. It’s what I would have done anyway, ultimately, but it was like a nice little gift to me to have that.
Was there anything special you had to do to prepare for the role?
Prepare? No. I haven’t gone to the gym in a couple of years, since having my second child. And when they cast me I was like, me? A porn star? I was 47 at the time, but that’s what they wanted: Pendulous, natural and not cut. They wanted soft curves. Hello!
Linda Lovelace was the most famous porn star of her time. Do you think an adult-film actor will ever totally cross over and have mainstream success?
Absolutely! There’s a certain moral thing that people might struggle with in doing porn, certainly I would, but I don’t look down on anyone for doing it. I’ve seen a lot of crossover—you could have been a plumber, you could have been a porn star. If you’re a porn star, you probably have a decent body. So, why not? We can always reinvent ourselves.
The only porn star that I really know is Ron Jeremy, and I’ve never seen him naked; I’ve never seen one of his movies. I just can’t believe he’s a porn star. And he crossed over. No one talks about him crossing over.
Now that you’ve played a porn star, where do you go from here?
I’m working on Squirrels to the Nuts right now. It’s a Peter Bogdanovitch movie with Jennifer Aniston, Cybill Sheperd, Tatum O’Neal— all the people he’s directed in his career. I play a madam. I’ve gone from porn star to madam.