John Hawkes: 'The Sessions'

Actor John Hawkes on his role as polio survivor Mark O'Brien in his new film, "The Sessions."
3:00 | 10/25/12

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Transcript for John Hawkes: 'The Sessions'
So your -- on the desk of. -- president. Thank you. It's Rawlings. It really -- actually study and things you -- Although the aim is for us to have sex I'm not a prostitute. You don't have to pay me up front. I have nothing against prostitutes that there's a difference we can talk about that later. -- New thing is there's a limit the number of sessions we can have that -- mention that when you saw her. It's. I don't remember. The limit -- six that gives us plenty of opportunity to explore. So I understand you're able to have an erection. Yes I have a chance. Q how many men Iran would give anything for a natural -- Is this your place. -- friends. Healy told you furniture -- about places and analyze. Had -- -- Iranian constantly a food times. Here in -- they need arose in my view it thinking about -- -- us -- I think he can be expansion nice. For the time being held -- -- it would cost -- hitting deep breath. Yeah. And let go. -- seem all nations. Hi everybody I'm Peter Travers and this is popcorn and you have just seen a scene from -- sessions starring John -- and I don't even want to explain to you if you haven't seen them yet. What that scene is about. So John -- is here to tell us. Who. You are playing in the basement. Of -- -- Bryan -- a real -- That's correct. Mark who was polio survivor. Than an iron -- -- the time he was six years old until he passed away. In 1999 at the age of 49. Mark attended the University of California Berkeley. And became -- journalist and -- -- -- an article on disabled sex and begin to wonder what were his possibilities. As a human being. It is and he sees sex therapist recommends six surrogate in the form -- -- you and that's where -- community that he takes -- -- -- -- And I had. Seeing the documentary reading since I had some idea but how we make a feature about a subject. Without -- just going. Like that warrant but it isn't -- point. -- so I think it's the best. Guy losing his virginity in an hour long movie you'll see this year -- an -- here at a Guatemalan network. But it is funny and entertaining and I think surprisingly so. By description tough sell. -- -- -- Failed to notice that we're getting tough sell when this quality involved but so just plain. Prepare to play. Mark and wouldn't -- the duties. Well that's great tools at my disposal. Mark as -- mentioned as a writer he's also written autobiography called on became -- human being. Jessica -- -- in Academy Award winning documentary short of problems like cold reading lessons. There were people who survived mark who were kind enough to lend their. -- to -- film. And expertise so again a lot of. A lot of things to choose from but even those that -- and never knew him in this specific way that Cheryl that Helen Hunt characters playing at a tractor Houston real person six -- who's doing these six. Specific sessions with them. It's fascinating to me -- that's it because after that he get to personally involved of them yes yes -- both to a. And it's. I think. Both. Heartbreaking on some level also really measure. -- and and love between the two of them they decide to kind of stop one. I love Helen hunt's character just saying to you -- -- you know. We all have the first time if we're lucky enough and I think is that it is one thing that makes Marxist -- relatable character. The amazing. Joy to have people come up after some of these trees -- related more -- -- war -- guys you played Judy characters in the movie years and that's. A tribute to the writing and two. Actors I was lucky -- to be surrounded by and and it makes security America guidance -- -- What do you do do you body what do you have to to do to be in that position. He can. Below the neck is not a lot of moving on well -- body is spineless horribly curtain. It's mentioned in the script a couple of times as -- actors these are things you don't disregard you use you use you figure how can I do that. I conceived and help design. Soccer ball sized piece of firm for home. Which was props department help and then we duct taped this. This foam ball and put it midway into the left side of my back to approximate the the -- -- -- line. And twisted my islands in accordance with with what what I've learned about mark. And then tried to just be -- still from the neck. I wanted to make all of that second nature is -- see his body. It is as much as possible so wouldn't be thinking about while we were working or judging -- -- could be. Presently the other. Actors and in fact. In the best moments I would forget or -- person and and and and and and the experience which. Have in every role as an actor witches figuring out what is the story -- in the care counseling help us tell that story. What does the cared for -- -- want to overall Clinton and more specifically moment to moment in the scene so. Again I think it's a credit to. To the performers I was looking to hear. Would. These myself for the role just feel very much like a human being. Trying to solve -- problem playing those scenes with -- Which are very intimate. An intimate scenes are hard anyway but this is it's actually difficult. Because Helen is playing somebody who -- you -- loses her way around us and you. Basically a forty year old virgin who is two years younger than. Are playing somebody -- doesn't know anything about this how comfortable -- you and him doing this did you work out this before did you read. -- that we -- comfortable at all I don't think I think honestly served us well. Ben -- gave us is that wise and wonderful gift shooting the intimate sessions in story order chronologically. -- and I had never met until we were cast. Knowing again that that that that we had this. Scene that would involve us meeting for the first time and and and should be an awkward and unfamiliar thing. To my mind -- do is is wonderful that we didn't know each other and and rather than get to know each other really well and then pretend we didn't. It's easier than acting two -- to have this sort of on familiarity. For -- and I and that first intimate scene. Which was shot. You know originally and one very long seven minute tape and then certainly went in for coverage and and the movies edited but. There's a lot going on in that first scene that's happening for the first time in real time and -- never happen again and again that's something that you're always lucky to catch on. One point that I play. Cycle of nerves and -- That's what with wanted to -- effective when it differently actress.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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