The Florida Project director Sean Baker has come on board to executive produce Modern Whore, Nicole Bazuin’s documentary adaptation of Andrea Werhun’s sex work memoir.
The feature-length hybrid film is currently shooting narrative re-enactments as part of a doc based on Modern Whore: A Memoir, a 2022 book that recalled Werhun’s work as an escort and in strip clubs, for which Bazuin provided extensive photography.
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The illustrated memoir in turn sprang from a 2020 short film Modern Whore that Werhun starred in, Bazuin directed and which had its world premiere at SXSW. The Modern Whore feature documentary will be told from Werhun’s perspective and have her portray her former escort alias Mary Ann and her stripper persona Sophia, as well a more recent foray into OnlyFans as part of her sex work career in Toronto.
The indie will also incorporate writing and collaborations with other sex workers telling their own stories. The Modern Whore feature adaptation will also have a subject familiar to Baker. His films — 2012’s Starlet, 2015’s Tangerine and the Oscar-nominated The Florida Project from 2017 — had characters who similarly lived on the shabbier fringes of society, some of whom had done sex work.
Baker’s 2021 underclass drama Red Rocket, which bowed in Cannes, had Simon Rex starring as a washed-up adult film actor looking to reboot his life in his small Texas hometown. His next film, Anora, which stars Mikey Madison was picked up by Neon with an eye for a release this year.
“I’m honored and delighted to be a part of Modern Whore with Andrea and Nicole. Their approach to the subject matter of sex work is fresh and exciting not only because of their stylish pop aesthetic but because of their vital voice of lived experience,” Baker said in a statement.
The documentary hybrid will be written and produced by Werhun and Bazuin, who also directs, via their production banner Virgin Twins. Lauren Grant at Clique Pictures will share the producer credits.
“We are thrilled to be partnering with Lauren Grant [Clique Pictures] and the incredible Sean Baker, whose work demonstrates a dedication to nuanced portrayals of sex work, to bring Andrea’s experiences to the big screen,” Bazuin and Werhun added in their own statement.
Quiver Distribution is handling the Canadian release while shopping the U.S. and international distribution rights to the Modern Whore film, which has financial backing from Crave, Hollywood Suite, the Canada Media Fund and the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Fund.
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