‘The Deuce’ Star Emily Meade on ‘Heartbreaking’ Finale Death, Season 2’s New ‘Perspective’

“We’re realizing the very blurred lines of industries that aren’t meant to be about sex,” actress tells TheWrap

(Warning: Spoilers from the Season 1 finale of “The Deuce”)

“The Deuce” delivered a shocking death in its Season 1 finale on Sunday, and the scene wasn’t an easy one for the show’s team.

Emily Meade, who plays prostitute-turned-porn actress Lori on the HBO drama, told TheWrap that it was tough to watch from set as Ruby (Pernell Walker) was pushed out of a window to her death by a john.

“It’s heartbreaking,” Meade said. “Ruby’s obviously one of the most likable and charming, sweet characters, so that’s obviously really upsetting to see. I was actually there the day they were shooting it, and it was such a disturbing scene to see her being so objectified as a human — really heart-wrenching.”

As for how the twist will change things for the characters on the show that also stars James Franco and Maggie Gyllenhaal, Meade points out that the impact of Ruby’s demise might prove to be muted.

“I think it’s an interesting reflection of seeing that these characters are so desensitized that a lot of them aren’t even as deeply affected by it as they should be, and I think that’s one of the most effective things about it is the lack of effect it has on a lot of people living in this life,” she said.

The finale shows Lori getting more success in the porn world, which Meade said is a “dream come true” for the fame-craved character — for now, at least.

“I hope that Lori becomes the porn star she thinks she wants to be, but then realizes the consequences of that and the reality of it,” Meade said. “I think that would be a very interesting thing to play with. Especially in today’s climate with everything going on with sex harassment and consent, it’s a really interesting time to question what is sexual empowerment and what is being sexually taken advantage of.”

Meade, who is currently filming the Edward Zwick-directed movie “Trial by Fire,” teases that the second “Deuce” season will involve a time jump to progress further into the evolution of the porn industry. And though she hasn’t seen any scripts yet, she imagines that the recent real-world accusations of sexual misconduct and assault against Hollywood figures will give new “perspective” to the storylines.

“On ‘The Deuce,’ we’re dealing with pimps, people who are making porn, prostitutes and porn stars — modern society understands that it’s clear what their intentions are, and it’s clear what they re doing,” Meade said. “And now we’re realizing the very blurred lines of industries that aren’t meant to be about sex and how sex plays a role. Ultimately, we’re not really even doing as much of an expose on the sex industry as is now happening in the film industry.”

“I don’t know how it will play out, but it feels like a very exciting timing for them both to be existing at once,” she added.