James Franco, Margarita Levieva and More Discuss the Season Finale

By Ashley Morton and Olivia Armstrong

The Deuce cast reflects on “My Name Is Ruby,” as well as the pivotal moments for their characters this season.


“The money’s still the money, but the pimp? Who the f**k is he right now?”
Gary Carr, who plays C.C., shares what’s going on for his character when he runs into his old mentor, Ace:

He thinks, “Wow. Ace is good. Ace is not in the game and he’s good. He’s survived. He could live outside the pimp world.” I think C.C. is being honest when he says, “I want a family. I want to have a different life.” But he thinks pimping is how he’s going to get it. Without the pimp game he can’t connect the dots.

“You just gave a pretty good explanation of how action dictates camera movement.”
David Krumholtz explains how his character, Harvey, feels when he sees Candy directing:

He feels he’s found his other half, but I don’t know if he’s willing to allow her in entirely. It’s implied he’s always going to be there looking over her shoulder. He assumes there’s a partnership for sure. I wouldn’t call it jealousy as much as he’s dealing with that covetous place he comes from — he doesn’t want to share much at all. It’s enlightening for him. He feels like, “Oh look, I’ve stepped into this wonderful situation where these movies are better.” And obviously he has a knowledge about film, where he drops Truffaut and Marshall McLuhan. He’s not a dumb guy. But I also think he feels usurped — emasculated, a bit. There’s no scene in which anyone knows what Candy’s doing by the end of Season 1. He’s invited to the premiere, she’s his guest, and might still be known as an actress. Word is not getting around that I’m letting a woman direct or have anything to do behind the camera besides makeup and hair.

“You don’t want to see the movie?”
Emily Meade talks about the confidence Lori gains as she starts working on the porn shoots:

A lot of young women, unfortunately, try to seek power through sexuality and use their sexuality to try to get attention, which is something I very much relate to. For [Lori], I don’t think she necessarily has an endgame of, “Oh, I’m going to become a porn actress” — she just knows she wants as big an audience as possible. So when Candy offers that to her, it’s the greatest opportunity that’s fallen into her lap. She’s just excited to see her name in lights.

“These people are complicated, and they’re willing to fight for whatever they stand for.” — Margarita Levieva

“You and Paul turned my bar into some sort of rock ‘n’ roll show.”
Actor Margarita Levieva, talks about Abby’s perspective of the Hi-Hat:

She really feels at home there. In a way they really do feel like her people. There’s such a struggle from the fakeness of humanity that she grew up in; this society that is completely false and kind of disgusting to her. In the bar she finds people who are real and authentic; who are proud of who they are, and unwilling to sacrifice themselves or their voices for the sake of something bigger on the outside that doesn’t have any meaning. They’re passionate and alive and exciting. Yes, they’re also fragile and broken and hurt, but at least they’re honest in who they are. There are so many different, colorful personalities. I think the place Abby comes from is very cookie cutter, and these people aren’t boring. These people are complicated, and they’re willing to fight for whatever they stand for. That’s something that she respects and admires. Anyone that stands behind their choices and their voice is someone Abby sees much more value in as a human being than someone who just gives in to the status quo and becomes one of the sheep.

“I see you’ve got quite the wig your own self.”
Dominique Fishback discusses why her character Darlene starts shooting films with Candy:

I think Larry gave her an ultimatum, because the cops are shutting everything down on the streets. He gives her an ultimatum. He says it’s either the parlor or it’s porn. And she considers her family, “What if I have kids?” which is what I love about her so much. She thinks about stuff people wouldn’t necessarily think would come out of her mouth. She tries the massage parlor, but realizes it’s not cutting it. She has to take a chance. And when Candy says to her, “What about that wig? That wig is like not you at all,” she takes it off. She’s like, “I’m really going take control of what I do, and my choices.”

“I’m out of time. My article goes to press tonight.”
Natalie Paul, the actor who plays Sandra Washington, shares what the complete version of her story would have been:

I think she wanted to expose the system for the way it was enabling these so called criminals and these “street hustling girls.” She wanted to redistribute some of that blame and criminality. She finds out it’s not just a bunch of amoral women trying to thrill innocent pleasure seeking men, it’s a part of a much larger story about New York and the systems and institutions that run it. I think that she was trying to do that and then in turn lend some empathy for these women and the things they go through. Once she gets to know them she appreciates who they are as people, so it becomes somewhat personal for her to say, “We need to look into their eyes and see who they are not just what they are.”

“I love women but, it’s the Deuce.”
James Franco reflects on his character Vincent’s reaction to Ruby’s death:

It’s a little more cold than I would like, but I think Vince has become inured to a lot of the things on the street. He’s got a line he thinks he won’t cross, but then he keeps crossing certain them. I think that’s what the writers are trying to show: the real gray area. Not only in the street, but the gray area in general; that the whole city, the whole country maybe, is sort of involved in. We all think we have certain lines we won’t cross and then we do, and we find that some of the things we thought we’d never be used to we get used to. So sadly, I think Vince starts to view the street life and sex work like a business, and there’s certain downside to that business and there are certain things that are not his business. It feels like there’s really nothing he can do about it — the sex trade is going to continue with or without him, he isn’t really going to help anything, so he just doesn’t. It’s just one of the sad realities the writers want to explore in the show, it’s one of the points of the show to reveal all these moral gray areas in the characters.

Looking for more? Read additional interviews from the episode:

Pernell Walker Thinks We All Have a Little Thunder in Us

Director Michelle MacLaren Feels Empowered by the Women of The Deuce