'A Man in Full's' Tom Pelphrey opens up about shocking full frontal 'erection' scene

'A Man in Full's' Tom Pelphrey opens up about shocking full frontal 'erection' scene
A Man in Full trailer

Many of us have grown inured to explicit content given that it’s positively force-fed to us on screens these days.

Even so, few viewers were prepared for what the new Netflix drama A Man in Full had in store.

The series is based on the 1998 Tom Wolfe novel of the same name, which follows real estate tycoon Charlie Croker (Jeff Daniels) as he attempts to claw back his reputation while facing bankruptcy.

Without giving too much away, it is in the final episode that the highly controversial scene takes place.

In the climactic face-off, Croker finds himself faced with the erect penis of Raymond Peepgrass (Tom Pelphrey) – an executive at Croker’s bank who’s trying to squeeze him over his debts.

To be clear, Peepgrasse’s state of arousal is not directed at his boss, merely the effect of taking Viagra and being caught in a compromising act.

Peepgrass (Pelphrey) unabashedly shows off his state of arousal in the drama's climactic finale(Netflix)

The jaw-dropping display has prompted public outrage from commentators and politicians alike, with Tory MP Alexander Stafford complaining: "If Netflix is serving up this sort of low-grade, pornographic rubbish, we need to give Ofcom full oversight of the streaming giant's output as soon as possible."

Even Mary Killen from Gogglebox joined the pitchfork-wielding, fuming: "I don't want to see graphic sexual images when I'm watching a drama. There is too much already and it is reducing us to no better than barnyard animals."

Unsurprisingly perhaps Pelphrey has defended the artistic choice, opening up about his decision to bare all in the most explicit way.

Speaking to Variety, the 41-year-old Ozark star, who's in a long-term relationship with fellow actor Kaley Cuoco, acknowledged that the series ending was very different from that of Wolfe’s book.

The twist, he said, was down to the drama’s writer David E. Kelley and director Regina King wanting to explore in greater depth “just how f***ing toxic” the male characters are.

Pelphrey said Kelley wanted to find “the most ridiculous explosion of that toxic male energy,” which is what led to such an extraordinary ending.

“Based on the text, we thought it was kind of funny that this little buggy Raymond Peepgrass might have a f***ing big dick,” he said.

"Also, I thought that that choice just lent itself to being the most ridiculous and absurd version of how that could go — the most cheap male, toxic humour s**t.

"If we’re gonna do it, let’s fully do that. Regina got it."

Pelphrey and Daniels face off in another scene. This time both are fully dressed(Netflix)

Still, Pelphrey admitted that he’d felt nervous about the scene, particularly since Cuoco was pregnant at the time of filming.

“I knew I was going to be a dad and all of a sudden, I just started thinking about everything different, like, ‘Oh, God, do I want to have my clothes off on camera?’” he confessed.

“All of a sudden I’m like, ‘I’m gonna have a kid, I don’t know if I want her to see this!'”

And yet, he said, “in the end it made a lot of sense,” particularly since King is also an actor and has been “in a million vulnerable positions herself”. This, he said, meant she understood “how to manage and take care of that moment.”

Nevertheless, the experience was probably made somewhat more palatable by the fact he didn’t actually have to show off his own equipment.

"God bless the guy who does those prosthetics!” he said.

“You want to be free, you want to have fun, you don’t want anybody else to be offended or weirded out."

And yet, it wasn’t all smooth sailing, most notably during the fitting process.

“There was a terrifying moment where part of the fitting process, as described to me, involved a lot of hot wax, which scared the hell out of me — and we were luckily able to avoid it,” he revealed.

“There was lot of work, a lot of meetings, a lot of talking, a lot of fittings, went into that prosthetic.”

And a lot of talk has come out of it, too.

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