Bliss Press Release

Bliss III explores the imaginative outcome of eight erotic stories. Presented with likeable characters and realistic scenarios, these telling vignettes are rich with psychological complexity and sensuality and never fail to tweak the sexual curiosity of audiences worldwide.

On its third series of episodes, Bliss introduces another eight encounters that “celebrate the psychological intrigue of flirtation, romance and sexual pleasure.” This series, which is written and directed by women, “focuses on the female perspective, as each entanglement gives insight into the subtle gender politics informing each erotic encounter.”

Peter Wingfield filmed an episode in the first series called “Guys and Dolls” that explored an interesting relationship between a married man and a businesswoman whom he initially mistakes as a lady of the evening. Even when he learns she is not, he is still intrigued and they pretend she is who he expected her to be.

“Tying Up Gerald”
Mireille comes home one day to find her husband at the mercy of a dominatrix. Unexpected and erotic solutions are deployed to save the marriage.

 In this season, Peter returns to play another adventurous character in an episode entitled “Tying Up Gerald.”

Mireille, a sophisticated interior designer in her early thirties, returns home unexpectedly early from an out-of-town business trip to find her husband’s clothes scattered around their house. Something’s wrong. Her heart sinks.

In the master bedroom, Mireille finds Gerald squirming with desire under the hand of a leather-clad dominatrix, Vanessa. This isn’t the Gerald she married! Initially Mireille is crushed, but ends up seeking out Vanessa’s help to save her marriage.

Mireille finds herself quite willing to enlarge the sexual menu at home, if necessary, and explore exciting new terrain in order to give Gerald what he needs. Surprisingly, Vanessa’s tools and toys hold their own intrigue for Mireille. Gerald, however, won’t see Mireille as anything but his traditional, loving wife. That’s when Mireille and Vanessa join forces to change his mind.

They come up with a way of preserving the matrimonial harmony at home while incorporating the unique power dynamics of dominatrix-assisted sex into Mireille’s married life. But while Mireille is ready for an extreme solution, is Gerald?

Episode 6, Season 3

“Tying Up Gerald” Written by: Katherine Schlemmer
Directed by: Mina Shum
Starring: Shary Guthrie, Katya Gardner and Peter Wingfield

“We went to a real dominatrix,” recalls executive producer and co-creator Janic Lundman. “We went to her loft in Old Montreal, with an unmarked door. Inside, she had an operating table and tools and a silver wall. It was all very clinical, austere and minimalist. This kind of research is invaluable for authenticity, which is important to us. We wanted everything to ring true so it wouldn’t distract from the main story—the couple’s quest to create a new, sexual power dynamic.”

Using a stunt coordinator and the real dominatrix as a consultant, Lundman and director Mina Shum and the rest of the production team for Bliss—Tying Up Gerald went to great lengths to make this episode titillating, but not caricatured.

“We didn’t want it to be too campy,” explains Lundman. “And not too over-the-top. They’re real people going through real events. The wife, Mireille, realizes that the crisis has brought out something unexpected in her, and we need that revelation to be believable.”

Director Mina Shum was fascinated by the character Gerald’s double life: “He has a private face and a public face, like everyone else. It’s the disconnection between the private and public face that keeps us off balance. I’m always interested in this imbalance. . . . After three years of marriage, it was time for Gerald to incorporate his darker side into his relationship, or the marriage would crumble.”

Actor Peter Wingfield, who plays Gerald, agrees, adding: “The guy wants to get caught!” laughs Wingfield, who just wrapped production with Shum on another production, The Shields’ Stories—Various Miracles. “Why else have the dominatrix come to their home? He knows his wife could walk in at any moment.”

Wingfield also learned a thing or two about the world of sexual domination while researching his role: “It’s not about pain, as you’d imagine,” explains Wingfield. “It’s about the delicacy of touch and the anticipation. There’s no pain involved and no blood. The physical senses become heightened.”

Katya Gardner, who plays the dominatrix Vanessa, was impressed with the scope of the production: “It felt like a mini-feature, with the read-throughs, the rehearsals, meeting the dominatrix, learning her tricks and shopping for an outfit,” recalls Gardner, who had no previous experience playing a dominatrix. “I felt so sexy and powerful. They died my hair black and gave us great manicures.”

Shary Guthrie, who plays Mireille, was also tickled by the racy aspect to the script. “I’m not one to even wear high-heels, but I absolutely loved the leather outfit,” she enthuses. “But the core of the episode is about the crisis in the relationship. How will the couple incorporate his fetish into their lives? The idea of one partner giving up complete power is mysterious and unknown territory. [Director] Mina [Shum] was brilliant at revealing that tension in a credible way.”

Wingfield’s challenge was to make Gerald a married man with a kinky streak that would not pre-empt his love for his wife.

“Toward the end of the shoot, he was prone and blindfolded, face down, on the table,” says Guthrie. “He was such a good sport—always joking and keeping it real, but focusing on the seriousness of the predicament. Any married couple can relate to their dilemma and the power politics.”

Shum is sympathetic, too, to the couple’s predicament: “He wasn’t having an affair,” insists Shum. “It wasn’t an affair. It was like a massage. Mireille could feel threatened, but instead she reclaims the situation. That’s strength.”

Press release and photo provided courtesy of GalaFilm and
BackAlley Film Productions