For fans of HBO’s Watchmen, or fans of the classic comic book that it was inspired by, there’s no question the fascination with the size of Dr. Manhattan’s man parts has been the kind of MacGuffin people love to talk about. And why not, when you’re blue and psychic and hung like a horse, people are going to talk.
HBO’s new take on the classic twelve-series run from the 80’s, took things even further a few weeks ago when Jean Smart (a.k.a. Silk Spectre II) went back to her hotel room, got comfortable, and opened up a Pulp Fiction-esque briefcase to reveal none other than a replica blue dildo that served as a bit of sexual nostalgia for those lonely, cold nights in far away hotel rooms. It was an image that took social media by storm, but made us think back to the Hollywood precursor himself.
Enter Mark Wahlberg and Boogie Nights.
Aside from being Paul Thomas Anderson’s break-out film, and an ensemble project that put a lot of stars on the map, there was a behind-the-scenes debate that is famous for just how long it raged; a debate not about the language, securing the R-rating, or even some of the on-set challenges provided by then-alive legend Burt Reynolds.
No, it was all about the prosthetic penis.
Studio New Line Cinema, at the time, was in the enviable position to want to make Paul Thomas Anderson happy. And the only way PTA and his star Wahlberg were going to be happy, was if the final reveal of Dirk Diggler’s penis stood up to the perceived bigness that an entire 2 hour plus narrative had set it up to be. Not only did the prosthetic exploration cost upwards of $15,000, but it required multiple sizings, fittings and weight tests to ensure Wahlberg could comfortably act while it was secured down where the sun don’t shine. Around the halls of New Line, the saga of the prosthetic was said to have taken up more time during the shooting process than many other production design or art direction issues, until finally PTA and Wahlberg were pleased with the final result.
As for what happened to the many other iterations of Dirk Diggler’s prosthetic penis, it’s a legendary question that still doesn’t have an answer. There were four other versions that were turned down by the Director and Star, but those remained in storage at the New Line offices until suddenly they could no longer be found. Some believed PA’s or office Assistants might have taken them, but without an eBay auction as proof, it’s anyone’s guess where they’ve gone.
Perhaps with all this renewed interest in the on-screen stories behind the prosthetic penises of Hollywood, they may find their way back out into the real world.