I feel like I may have explained this in an interview somewhere, so my apologies if my answer is redundant. The first client Remedy sees in the film was actually the second and final client I saw at that house before taking a long, long break from the work. He was the one referred to as Marathon Man. (New York folks know him by a few names.) Anyway, after the double mistress session with the unruly client, shown pretty true to life in the film, I didn’t quit immediately. I decided to not session anymore, but I had at that point taken on management responsibilities (phones, basic books, buying supplies, cleaning, opening/closing) partially because the money was good and partially because I liked being in a position to keep people safe. Anyway, there was one particularly slow night where I got a call from Marathon Man and it was clear that either I had to see him or he would be walking. So I got dressed, anxiety spiking, and went into the room, hoping he wouldn’t recognize me. He didn’t. It had been over a year.
I knew exactly what he wanted — his script never changed, there wouldn’t be surprises. Didn’t matter. I didn’t want to be there, I didn’t want to do this session or any session, and I felt I had no choice. Fear + Anger + Feeling Trapped = Panic Attack. I started to break down minutes into the session… I don’t remember if I had even collected the money.
But I do remember something very clearly. Marathon Man broke character and asked me if I was okay. Marathon Man behaved like a normal person and had a normal human interaction.
Can you imagine the end credits being as is, but the final moment being Marathon Man’s well-rehearsed act just falling apart from a moment of concern? That’s a human moment in between two people who both know Remedy needs to go home, not just a moment in a bathroom where Remedy is crumbling by herself. To me, much more powerful, and much less tragic.
Why didn’t I do that… well, I didn’t even remember that this was my last session until we were probably done shooting the epilogue. The epilogue scenes, by the way, were written and shot in 2012 as a way of providing aftercare for the viewer, to show that Remedy’s okay but without her being “redeemed” because fuck that. There are too many stories out there where the worker isn’t okay at the end, and too many stories where they are saved. Remedy is dark, but no one is saved or punished. She gets out, she goes on. The End.