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COLUMN

Savage Love

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I'm an actor in New York City. A lot of people think actors are whores, but last week I almost became one. I responded to a casting call for a film project called Sniff. The ad – on Playbill's website – called for two male actors to film a short scene. The pay was $100 for a day's work. It starts with two male roommates chatting on a couch. The bigger, more muscular roommate confronts the smaller, scrawnier roommate about his obsession with socks. Two pages later, the smaller roommate is being ordered to sniff, lick and caress the larger roommate's feet. The scene ends with the smaller roommate being forced to hold the bigger roommate's big toes in the corners of his mouth while smiling for the camera. Write a screenplay and hire actors – is this something foot fetishists do to make low-budget softcore porn? I'm not a hater of fetishists, but it is a little strange to see something like this in a casting ad.
Freaked-Out Oblivious Thespian
P.S. The audition was surprisingly normal. I wasn't asked to remove my clothes or lick any feet. I wasn't cast. After the audition, the director requested a picture of my feet via email. I did not send him one.

"Yes, I am a foot fetishist," said Anthony Fusco, the writer and director of Sniff and the person for whom you auditioned. "I'm also a theater person." I reached Fusco the same way you did: through the contact info in the audition notice in Playbill. It turns out that Sniff is one scene in Big Naked Feet, a five-scene, one-act comedy that Fusco wrote, directed and produced at a small venue in New York in 2008. "We got a good response," Fusco told me. "We had full houses; people walked away smiling." Big Naked Feet isn't Fusco's only play. Another of his plays – Crossing Verrazano – was produced as part of the Strawberry One-Act Festival in 2011.
I told Fusco that his six-page script for Sniff read like fetish porn ("Good dog, Paul, now take a step back and just stare at the beauty of my manly feet!") and that his audition notice had my bullshit detectors going off. It would be a lot cheaper for a foot fetishist to pay two actors to bring his fantasies to life than, say, two male escorts. You can find good-looking actors who'll work for $100 a day. A good-looking male escort, on the other hand, will run you a $1,000 or more a day. But Fusco insisted the video is intended as promo material for a planned remount of Big Naked Feet, not foot-fetish fap material.
But, come on, one hot guy going to town on another hot guy's feet? Wouldn't Fusco beat off to that? Wouldn't any foot fetishist? "I'm so used to this stuff," he said, "it's nothing new to me. I'm not going to say it can't be exciting or a turn-on. So it depends on how the final product turns out, I guess, and how it looks."
Coincidentally, FOOT, after our interview, Fusco requested a picture of my feet via email. And I sent him one – because, hey, why not?

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