Let’s talk about sex, baby. Or, more specifically, orgasms. Australian actor Josh Lawson is the writer, director and star of The Little Death, a comedy about sex, love, relationships and taboo.

Well known in Australia for his roles in Sea Patrol, Blue Heelers and appearances on Thank God You’re Here and Good News Week, Lawson has cracked the US market with roles in House of Lies, The Campaign and Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues. But it’s The Little Death (named after the French euphemism for orgasm), Lawson’s latest project, that could take his star to another stratosphere.

He chatted animatedly to bmag from his hotel room, barefoot and brawny-armed, about his latest cinematic adventure and why everyone needs to go see a film about orgasms.

So… tell us about orgasms?

All you need to know about orgasms is in the movie, trust me. You’ll be an expert after you watch the film. It’s a subject about which I’m deeply passionate and that’s why I decided to make the movie.

Look, to make a movie, you do nothing but make the movie so you have to be passionate about the film’s subject matter and I truly am. Actually I think we’re all really passionate about sex, I don’t care who you are. Sex is one the great motivators in everyone’s life because it’s biological. And this film explores urges and the people who are either resisting their urges or embracing their urges and the difference between those two.

Is there one particular character that you think everyone will respond to or connect with?

I believe that everyone will relate to A character in the film, but WHICH character will depend entirely on the person watching the film. We found that different people responded to different people in the film. Sometimes in a very surprising way.

Does your character reflect who you are in real life?

No, I would actually say my character in the film is a little more conservative than I am in real life but it was fun to play with that. He’s not a prude, he’s just a little less understanding of his girlfriend’s fetish than I would probably be. Let’s just say I am more open-minded than he is.

When did you know you were onto a winning concept?

I’d written the first draft of the film and I had enough positive reactions from that draft to convince me that there was enough in the film to warrant making it and that the idea was strong enough to get people’s attention. Even at the really early stages, at the first draft level, it was getting the right kind of attention. I knew I was onto something. It was a script that demanded attention and I think it’s a film that demands attention, a film that stays with you after you’ve seen it and many people are going to see it twice. And it’s a film that encourages conversation after you see it. I think it will get a lot of people talking about sex.

The emotional component of sex – is that discussed and explored in the film?

This is a massive part of the film and if you didn’t focus on that, you wouldn’t be doing the subject of sex justice at all, because it is obviously a huge part of intimacy, physical or otherwise. The heart of the film is really prominent. And I think it’s because there is so much heart in the film, which allows the film to go to extreme places and explore ideas fully because the characters’ intentions are never cruel or malicious. The characters involved are always well-intentioned even if they are misguided.

What was it like on set filming sex scenes?

It was fun and funny to talk about sex and do sexy scenes. We all had a good time. I had really brave and game actors and that makes a big difference. We laughed a lot. There was some awkwardness but we used that in the film, because that awkwardness, that’s real. It’s so truthful and it’s what happens in real life as well. So then I’m able to use and capture the truth and put it up on the screen. It’s a great subject to catch reality as whatever the actors are feeling, we can use and put into the film.

What has the response been to the film?

You don’t have to take my word for it, you can just go on social media and look up #thelittledeath and see what people are saying about it. People are going crazy for this film. We believe we’ve done something original, we believe we’ve done something potentially really powerful and most importantly, really funny.

So that to me, was paramount. It didn’t matter what other boxes we ticked, it was so important to me that what we created was funny. In fact, many of the audiences are laughing so hard that they’re missing some of the jokes.
People watching this are riotous. And moved. And excited. And all they want to do after the film is talk about it. And write to me online and talk to me about it. They’re buzzing.

If there was one word that you would want people to say about The Little Death, what would it be?

Funny. I want them to say that it’s funny. Really, I think that’s the best thing you could say about a comedy. I mean it. I know it sounds ridiculous but how rarely do you actually leave a comedy and say ‘that was funny’? Being funny is really tough and one thing that goes wrong compromises everything – the wrong actor, the wrong piece of music, the wrong edit, anything can ruin the comedy. When it’s genuinely funny, it’s a miracle because it’s like a million planets align and in just the right way.

Why should people see the film?

A movie should bring people together. This movie does remind people of the beauty of actually going to the cinema, of the magic that you experience by watching it on the big screen, surrounded by strangers. And how powerful it can be. Sitting in the dark with a bunch of strangers and sharing the same experience and then suddenly you’re all weirdly feeling the same things for 90 minutes. That’s a magic trick. And it’s why I do what I do.

The Little Death is in cinemas now.