The new Michael Sheen drama dissects sex: all in the name of science.
Brand new drama Masters of Sex aims to get between the sheets by looking at the two 1950s researchers who played a key part in the sexual revolution of the 20th century. Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan play William Masters and Virginia Johnson, two unlikely colleagues who go in search of the rhythm and reason behind the sex lives of American couples.
The Show Is Slick, Stylish, Funny & Employs A Phenomenal Cast.
Airing on Showtime in the US and set to air soon on the UK's Channel 4, the show will focus on a pivotal time in human behaviour research where the subject of sex was still taboo and sexual therapy didn't exist as it does today.
Sheen as Masters plays a socially awkward doctor who is fascinated in the interplay between sex and love, yet due to his mechanical bedside manner has trouble persuading patients to open up and tell him about their sex lives. That's where Caplan's Johnson comes in: the self-assured, twice divorced single mother who leaves behind her job as a club singer to become Master's research assistant.
Caplan, speaking of her latest role, explained "[Virginia] has a really warm, inviting, charismatic personality, and that's what gets her to her eventual station in life; that and her innate intellect." Whilst Sheen describes the doctor as "someone who is so driven and yet is such a mystery to himself."
Caplan added "It's very clear to Bill that without Virginia he could not carry out the research, because he doesn't have the people skills to make the subjects comfortable enough. They become two halves of this force," via USA Today.
Watch The Trailer For Season 1 Of Masters Of Sex:
Indeed, there could not have been a better pairing between the researchers in real-life and the actors playing them. One of Caplan's most prominent roles to date, the Mean Girls actress brings a confidence and light-heartedness to the show that many other actresses would not have been able to attain.
Sheen on the other hand manages to strike up a perfect balance between the rigorousness of scientific hypothesising as well as a boyish innocence and natural curiosity without seeming sleazy.
Together the pair - who would later marry - push boundaries, studying the female orgasm, masturbation and staged sex between "guinea pig" couples to answer the intriguing questions of sexual desire. Naturally, the clinical way sexual behaviour is clinically dissected, measured and analysed is bound to be a little toe-curling in its frankness and stark lighting but Caplan reveals that humour often creeps in to release the tension.
"There's comedy in it," says Caplan. "We try not to play things for laughs because of the absurdity of the factual truth. It's weird and unsettling enough that I think it will make people laugh."
One scene in particular shows Johnson faced with three sex toys of different lengths laid out with mathematical precision of a metal medical tray and asked by Masters to choose one. "I feel like Goldilocks," Johnson says.
Masters of Sex will be aired on Showtime on Sundays, 10 p.m. ET/PT and in the UK on Channel 4 from Tuesday 8th October at 9pm.