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Hugh Dancy Is Not Hiding His Secretly Pervy True Self

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Nina Arianda and Dancy in Venus in Fur.  

When we spoke in September about the ins and outs of making the movie, we did so atop Toronto’s prodigious CN Tower. The tourists around us, possibly listening in, made him nervous discussing things like the handwork in the movie. “Um, for the sake of having some … some way to convincingly apply pressure, there was a sandbag that sat … that sat behind the little modesty curtains. So that’s what we were kind of grinding our hands against, you know. I think Jonathan [Pryce, his co-star] actually took the skin off the end of a finger. Ha-ha-ha.” Was the technique purely clitoral or vaginal as well? “Well, uh, you saw what they ended up inventing, which was just that little rotating nubbin. So it … it is historically accurate to say that it was non-penetrative. There’s a very, very crucial distinction between the vibrator and the dildo”—he started rubbing his beard and grinning a little maniacally—“and I can’t believe I’m having this conversation like a thousand meters above sea level.”

There is a line audiences love to laugh at in Venus that compares the theater to S&M. And though Dancy seems to find being onstage less punishing than being interviewed, the comparison makes some sense to him. “For it to work, you’ve got to abandon yourself to it,” he says. “That’s true of all plays, but this play makes it overt. Once the play starts, there’s nowhere to go. It just picks you up and carries you along and ejects you at the end. And in a way that is the heart of what I like in general about being onstage, that sense of totally letting yourself go and at the same time you’re still the boss.”


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