Nobody can ignore sex no matter how hard they try, which does not mean, in any way, that they understand it. In the 1960s, we knew much less about it, but Bill Masters and Virginia Johnson set out to change that by dint of research and, almost unintentionally, by their own passionate example. Sex was a party for those who wanted to learn.
Masters of Sex , the series based on the lives of famous pioneers in sexology research, debuts its second season on HBO to unanimous acclaim in its early stages.
The series will return to the screens on August 8 at 9:05 pm, shortly before the Emmy Awards (August 25) that could crown three of its actors.
Lizzy Caplan is vying for the award for best leading actress in a drama, while Beau Bridges and Allison Janney are nominated for actor and guest actress, respectively.
The series returned to television with an audience of 825,000 viewers upon its premiere, after retaining nearly a million during its first term. For this time Masters of Sex promises big changes in the relationship between its characters, unexpected plot twists and, naturally, more sex.
At the close of the first season, Dr. Masters was fired from the University of Washington following the publication of his study on the physiological effects of sex. The scandal leaves Virginia unemployed. The other characters we meet are also going through difficult times, such as Barton Scully (Beau Bridges), whose homosexuality is a fragile secret, and his resigned wife, Margaret (Allison Janney).
Sexual power Lizzy Caplan, who plays seasoned scientist Virginia Johnson, spoke with Teleguía and other international media in conference call. Caplan confesses “excited” and “passionate” about this project, which has placed her in the spotlight of television dramas.
“Was a show for which I wanted to fight very, very hard to obtain it ”, he confessed. The effort has earned her critical acclaim and an investigation into new dramatic frequencies for her, who has been trained in comedy – after all, it was Mean Girls (2004) the one that put her on her way to fame -.
“There was something about the script that I found so deeply fascinating, with so many layers and nuances, that I couldn’t let go of it,” says the actress.
The history of the relationship between Masters and Johnson is inspired by the biography Masters of Sex: The Life and Times of William Masters and Virginia Johnson, the Couple Who Taught America to Love (Thomas Maier, 2009).
In the 1960s, both investigated the body’s response to sex and the way in which couples interacted in bed. With abundant experiments, they broke long-standing prejudices and opened the way to better understand this common and elusive pleasure.
According to Caplan, the series closely follows the story documented in the book, recounted by Johnson. “His real life story is so fascinating that there really is no need to manipulate it. We definitely did add new characters that weren’t in the book, little things that help the narration of the show, ”he explains.
The passion and risks of infidelity are stirred in this second season. Masters and Johnson fell in love in real life, but theirs was an enigmatic romance, prolonged through the years and about which we know little more than what Virginia (who died in 2013 and was not involved in the series) told.
The tension between the investigators is the fuel for a season in which they announce daring erotic scenes and surprises in the story.
“They are no longer in an examination room and that is very dangerous for their relationship. In the past, your tests were conducted in a professional context. Now they will continue in a hotel room, where nothing stops them from entering a new territory, ”Sheen explained to the Efe agency.
Caplan says one of her biggest challenges is conveying the complex personality of the real Virginia with her acting. “I can’t imagine doing all the jobs Virginia had (as a researcher, woman, mother…), although she doesn’t necessarily handle everything well at the same time,” she declares.
“One of the characteristics that people mention when talking about Virginia, especially those who knew her, is that she possessed this charisma, sex appeal and magnetism to which everyone responded ”, says the actress.
“For me, that’s the most impressive thing: that she was so able to connect with people and that so many were attracted to her,” he adds.
Caplan takes on the challenge of portraying Johnson and what he represents to her: an extraordinarily sexy woman in situations where that was not an advantage.
“Other women distrusted her and men tended to take advantage, but she found the only man, the only job and the only purpose that celebrated that strength of hers,” she explains.
Johnson’s battlefield, inside and outside the lab, was the bed. For Caplan, a challenge has been projecting “that level of comfort that she felt with sex and with her body.”
Intimate. Not for nothing do the sex scenes, full of energy and very honest, represent one of the main acting challenges for both protagonists.
According to Caplan, every erotic high-voltage scene he stars in is justified by the story they want to tell. “It requires a different kind of mental preparation. I feel very safe when I get to those scenes, and the most important thing is that I have not yet felt a sex scene in the series that is gratuitous or unnecessary ”.
Only on the surface is it a show about sex: “It’s about intimacy, human relationships, and the complications that arise from sexual experience.”
She is accompanied in such an adventure by Sheen, whom Caplan thanks for the chemistry generated between them. Multiple specialized media lamented the absence of Michael Sheen from the awards list, and it is a notable void: Sheen was unanimously acclaimed during the first season of Masters of Sex .
“Michael Sheen deserves the nomination 100%. He is by far the most committed, hard-working and talented man I have ever had the pleasure of working with, ”Caplan celebrates.
“(Masters) was clearly a difficult man to get to know: he didn’t have many friends, if he had at all. People felt that he was, especially early in life, a very cold man, very intimidating and scary, “Sheen told Wales Online .
Between the inscrutability of Masters’ character and Johnson’s fiery curiosity, sparks arise naturally and, according to critics, are the magnet of the series, the high point of its script.
Para Caplan, Masters of Sex it cannot be seen solely as a romantic tale. “Yes, it is a love story, but it is very complex. We want to keep that ambiguity and confusion always present ”, says the actress.
Both professionals continue their studies, an investigation that is explored through archaic taboos around sex, abundant experiments and the clinical eye that made them both famous. For Caplan’s character, it’s doubly difficult for being a woman.
Is there still that invisible barrier for women? “On the surface it may seem less obvious than in the Midwest of the 1950s, but it doesn’t take much research to discover that we still have a long way to go before we get to real fairness between the sexes in all areas,” says Caplan. For her, this inclusion of a strong woman is one of the high points of the show .
The actress also does not hide that her profession is one of those that neglects women, especially directors and screenwriters. Would she be interested in working in those fields? “Yes, I `d love to. The idea of directing this series is daunting, but I think starting here in the show would give me a safety net that I wouldn’t have elsewhere, ”he confesses.
Beyond its scenes, Caplan feels a strong commitment to the program that, although it is set in another era, speaks of today. “We are still somewhat puritanical in America,” Caplan concludes.
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Lizzy Caplan talks about sex scenes and complex drama in Masters of Sex