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Mother Jones: So this film was inspired by a truck stop prostitute you met while hitchhiking from New York to San Francisco? It was midday at a truck stop in Ohio, and I was sitting on a bench outside the travel center. We were in the middle of talking about her grandchildren when a truck driver who looked like Santa Claus walked by.My camping bag lay on the table next to me and a cardboard sign with the word “WEST” scrawled on it. She offered to show him her breasts for , he took her up on it, and they walked off into the sunset.Jennifer, an ex-addict and single mother who recently quit prostitution, struggles to maintain her sobriety. With time and money running out, she weighs the economics of earning minimum wage at a Mc Job versus hustling on the lot again. ) It’s a particularly wrenching moment in a film loaded with them.I recently spoke with Alexander Perlman about life on the lots, dodging the police, and what he left on the cutting room floor.They had no outlets, but like everyone else had a need to express themselves and sort out their personal histories.
While his claim might sound hyperbolic—or like a canny bit of marketing—it rings true: He logged thousands of miles and hundreds of hours to make the film, braving roach motels, crack highs, and homicidal pimps.Indeed, what Perlman captures in is visceral and harrowing.The film’s three protagonists—Betty, Monica, and Jennifer—work on the fringes of the trucking industry.Also, it was clear that she was living outside the bounds of traditional society.On a much smaller scale I knew what that was like—I hit a rough patch in my teens and almost dropped out of high school.