‘Addicted’ Director Bille Woodruff on Why the Erotic Thriller Almost Didn’t Get Made

“It was very difficult to find an actress who was willing to do everything that was required … she has to have sex with three guys,” Woodruff tells TheWrap


“Addicted” steamed up the box office this weekend — taking in another $3.4 million for a per location average of  $3,279. That was enough to push its 10-day domestic total to $12.7 million — more than double its $5 million production budget.

Despite the low-budget erotic thriller’s success, director Bille Woodruff tells TheWrap, the film almost didn’t get made.

“It was very difficult to find an actress who was willing to do everything that was required for the film and to be fearless, because she has to have sex with three guys,” he said.

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The sexy thriller stars Sharon Leal as Zoe Reynard, a married woman led astray by her sex addiction. Before Leal entered the picture, Woodruff said more than a few other actresses (he wouldn’t give names), turned the role down. “I was getting scared that we weren’t gonna be able to make the movie,” he said.

Then Tasha Smith, who plays Dr. Marcella Spencer in the film, stepped in and suggested her friend Leal. “We approached her [Leal] and she was into it. She told me, ‘I really don’t want to shy away from the sex; I don’t want it to seem like we’re dancing around it.’ And I thought, ‘This is really the right person.’”

The drama is based on a best-selling book from author Zane (aka Kristina Roberts). Boris Kodjoe co-stars as Zoe’s husband Jason.

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Metro Goldwyn Mayer
Metro Goldwyn Mayer

An earlier incarnation of the film had been in the works. Then producer Paul Hall (“Shaft”) and Lionsgate decided to make a different version, with Woodruff serving as director. Kodjoe was one of the first actors to sign on.

“We knew each other from back when I was directing music videos and he was modeling and we worked together then,” Woodruff said. “He trusted me. He knew that I would take care of him and that these scenes would be done in a way where he would not be embarrassed.”

Next up, he had to find someone to play Quinton Canosa, a seductive sculptor who has an illicit affair with Zoe.

Woodruff turned to the sexy 2002 thriller “Unfaithful,” starring Richard Gere and Diane Lane, for inspiration.

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“The Olivier Martinez character … that’s where I got the idea from to have someone Latin and it was really more about trying make sure that the main character came across as having something a little different, and kind of exotic; there was a fantasy element to it.”

Cuban-American heartthrob William Levy — People En Español’s Sexiest Man Alive in 2012 — got the part.

“William was cast because I wanted hot people in the movie,” Woodruff said. Male model Tyson Beckford rounds out the main cast.

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Despite being based on a popular book and filled with a cast of ex-models, the “Addicted” team ran into another hurdle.

“I don’t know if the studio was totally sure how to market it and they had this deal with Codeblack and brought them on board and they were like, ‘We know exactly what to do … Let’s just go through social media. We have these big stars in the movie that have fan bases and of course we have Zane who has an amazing following.’”

Still, Woodruff was skeptical. “I was actually thinking we had to have billboards everywhere … But when it was explained to me how this could really work and how this could be a model, I was totally into it and I got it,” he said.

As the box office numbers show, Codeblack’s campaign is paying off.