Growing up in Europe taught me to expect the unexpected. Like the day I was driving through Barcelona and saw a man crossing a street wearing just a leather handbag strapped over his shoulder, and nothing else.
Or, there was the voice job when I showed up to do a tagline for a men’s cologne and the male voice talent recording with me was smoking a cigarette in the booth.
But the dubbing job I got to record one day at a studio in the Champs Elysees really opened my eyes.
The movie was a period piece, and I believe we were dubbing it from Russian into English. My roommate at the time, Karen, had also been hired for the job. And so we found ourselves, side by side behind the mics and in in front of the huge film screen, adding our voices to two beautiful actresses who were dressed in stunning 18th century dresses.
We were doing well, and congratulating one another on how few takes we were able to nail the phrases in, when the conversation of our on-screen characters started to drift in an unusual direction:
Sophie (my character) said: “Ah my dear, at last we’re alone. This corset feels so very tight. What if you helped me out of it?”
And Celeste (Karen’s character) replied: “It would be my pleasure, I’ve been hoping you’d ask.”
The next thing we knew, we found ourselves dubbing a lesbian love scene, complete with moans and kisses (we were told to make the lip sound by kissing our own hands).
As true professionals, we acted our way through to the scene’s completion.
At the end of the session, we queried the director about not having been informed ahead of time that we would be dubbing a porn movie. To that he replied, shocked: “Porno? Mais non, ce n’est qu’un film rose…” It was pink, not porn.