John Turturro, the writer, director and star of Fading Gigolo, shared some of the research and thinking on the nature sex work that informed his hit indie comedy, co-starring Woody Allen. Speaking with sex writer Karley Sciortino for an interview with the U.K.’s Guardian newspaper, Turturro said: “I think there are positive things about what sex workers do. I know and consulted people who have been in that world, and it’s interesting on a human level that people sometimes go to these people for reasons beyond just sexual contact — maybe they’re looking for solace, or other things, and sometimes they are truly helped.” STORY: Woody Allen a Big Draw in ‘Fading Gigolo’ Despite Scandal Fading Gigolo, which made its world premiere at the 2013 Toronto Film Festival, stars Allen as a struggling bookstore owner who convinces his friend, played by Turturro, to become a gigolo, serving as his pimp. "I also think there’s a real exchange that goes on in these situations, whereas in so many other professions there isn’t," Turturro said of the world’s oldest occupation, adding, "I wasn’t trying to explore the whole profession of prostitution — I know there can be darker or exploitative sides." FILM REVIEW: Fading Gigolo After Sciortino remarked that stories about “level-headed, successful sex worker[s]” are rare in contemporary culture, which instead favors a tragic portrayal of such individuals, Turturro said: “That’s right.