July 28, 2006
Hannah Harper Interview
By P. Weasels
Gorgeous English babe Hannah Harper talked with us about silly porn lines, living in a house full of porn stars and her new movie, Sodom #2 – The Bottom Feeder. Read on to find out all the juicy details of her beef soup bath and why she swore never to work for Jim Powers again.
Naked Truth: So why are you the best porn star ever?
Hannah Harper: Well, I think one of my qualities that stands out about me is my persona. If you meet me in person, I’m actually quite reserved and quiet and shy. [laughs] Unless I’m drunk. But as soon as the camera turns on, there’s definitely some change in me that I think people might find surprising because they probably think I don’t do very hardcore scenes or I don’t do anything crazy, or anal, or that kind of stuff.
NT: Well, they’d certainly be wrong about that. In fact, you’re a contract girl for Sin City, right?
HH: Yeah I have a contract with Sin City. I’m actually in my 3rd year with them. I’ve been with them for a while. My video work is exclusive for Sin City, but I can shoot stills [for other companies]. And they also let me do softcore movies.
NT: For cable?
HH: Yeah, Cinemax, HBO, that kind of thing. I love doing softcore, but sometimes the scripts are hilarious. Just ridiculous. [laughs]
NT: What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever had to say?
HH: I used to have a contract with Legend, and the writer used to make me say ‘bloody hell’ in every single movie with my English accent [laughs]. It was classic. “Bloody hell man, how many more balls need to be drained before you do something?” [laughs]
NT: That’s pretty terrible.
HH: I can’t remember the premise of the story, but the guy that wrote the scripts for Legend - I always said he should win an award for the most inventive reasons for people to have sex with each other. It wasn’t just one person in the room, the other person, they look at each other, they like the look of each other and go at it. For one movie he wrote, La Femme Nikita Denise, it was kinda like a James Bond thing. So, in one of the scenes, the guy had been injected with some sort tracking device in his scrotum and had to get it into the girl, so that’s why they had to have sex with each other.
NT: Your new movie, Sodom #2, has a pretty extreme plot from what I hear. Can you tell me a little more about it?
HH: It was a pretty crazy shoot. I think I’m tied up in pretty much every scene you see me in. It was very kind of surreal storyline. At one point, I had to emerge from a bath that had to look like dirty water, so they were pouring coffee and like beef broth into this bath. I had to emerge out of that, and for one scene I’m tied up and there’s a couple having sex in mud and they’re kind of rolling me around in the mud too and then they were pouring corn syrup over me in another scene. Thankfully, I love Jim Powers and I could see what he was trying to achieve with this movie. It was interesting to me because after working in the industry for 5 years it’s always interesting to do something a bit different, but both locations were freezing cold and had no hot water. So I was taking maybe like 3-4 showers each day.
NT: So what happened in the movie that you had to climb out of a bath of beef broth?
HH: It’s a very surreal storyline. Like, at the beginning I’m driving with my husband and this naked girl [played by Roxy Jezel] comes running up to the car and we take her in and take her home. Somehow, I get involved in the house that this girl had escaped from. That’s when I emerge from the water. I’ve been held hostage. And that’s why I’m tied up in every single scene. And at the very end, I’m the naked girl and I go running out to another car…
NT: So, how many scenes are you in?
HH: I’m in two sex scenes. A DP and an anal scene and then I’m in the background of a couple of the others, all tied up.
NT: What’s it like working for Jim Powers?
HH: Shooting with Jim Powers is great. He’s very creative and very twisted and very excited about stuff. I remember when he was doing the first Sodom that I was also in, he just came up with things on the spot. Like, Cindy Crawford, the star of Sodom, was pushed into this pit of very feisty lesbians and Jim all of a sudden says, “Oh guys! What we should do is we should tie her up and hang her over them so they’re actually trying to reach up and grab her, almost like animals!” and I’m like “Oh my god, where does he come up with this stuff?” But that’s the kind of energy, twisted as it is, that you have on a set when you work with Jim Powers.
NT: Have you worked with Jim Powers a lot? It sounds like you enjoy it.
HH: I do. It’s actually funny because when I first came into the industry 5 years ago, I was 18 and I did anal and DP, but I was very green and he shot me a couple of times. He wanted to shoot me for a series he did called The Babysitter, but as soon as he found out I was English, he said "I’m not shooting you for this movie, I’m going to shoot you for Gutter Mouths." All the English girls that he’s come across before have this great ability to just really talk nasty, you know like Layla Jade and Jamie Brooks and all these other English girls that he’s encountered and I just was not like that at all. I’m better at it now, but still, nothing within their league. Every 5 minutes he’s having to shut the camera off and feed me lines to say and then turn the camera back on and keep going with the scene.
I actually told my agent that I love Jim, but I can’t work for him anymore because he’s too crazy for me. So I went through a long period of not working for him and then Sin City took him on as one of their directors recently and I’ve had the opportunity to work with him again. After 5 years in the business, I’m not quite so shocked and wide-eyed about everything [laughs]. I’m more prepared for things.
NT: Where you going from here? Are you going to stay with Sin City for a while?
HH: Yeah, I still have time left on my contract with Sin City. I’m very happy with Sin City, this is my 3rd year. They’re great. They’ve given me the opportunity to direct. They just signed Gina Austin and she’s wonderful. We get on so well and it’s so nice to have two contract girls who work well together. We balance each other out perfectly and we’re actually going to start dancing together. We did it once but we’re going to do more over the next year.
NT: So you said you’re going to get into directing. What have you done and what are you going to be doing?
HH: I’m directing a series called Dream Teens. The latest one is #5, coming out next month. I used to co-own LA Direct Models. It’s a very large agency within the adult industry and I used to have girls living with me in my house and all sorts of stories came out of that. So the first couple of scripts I was basing on that. Me playing myself running this agency called Dream Teens and having these girls in the house and whatever disasters or adventures they got into.
NT: Did you ever get to cast the actual girls in the vignette that she inspired?
HH: Well, in the first one I did, which is still my favorite, I cast a lot of my friends. Roxy Jezel is in it, and Jamie Brooks. They’re good friends of mine and I met them through representing them and living with them in the house. That was fun. It was fun to have them in the movie because they understood what I was trying to do and they were around for some of the things that I’d written into the script.
I think the first one is still my favorite just because that was the one that is closest to true events. That experience of being part of the agency. And also I had a lot of friends of mine in it.
NT: What was the story that provoked you to write the scene?
HH: The first one was very basic. There was one plotline where one of the girls convinces me to take her next door because an actor lived next door to us at the agency, which is actually true. It happened. And they end up having sex with each other.
But I’m really excited for the 5 th one to come out because I actually wrote that. I based that more on America’s Next Top Model, except it’s obviously the Next Teen Anal Starlet or whatever. Sierra Sinn was the main girl in it and it’s just very cute and it’s very cheesy and I think I’m gonna like this one a lot.
NT: That sounds like fun. How long do you think you’re gonna keep performing in front of the camera?
HH: I’m not sure really. I always said I’d do it until it stopped being fun. And I’m still having fun. I think I’ll be doing more softcore stuff and trying to maybe do some courses and maybe to sideline out of it a little bit, but I’m still having a good time. I think I’m gonna be around for a while yet.
NT: That’s good to hear! Thank you for the interview.
HH: My pleasure.
[This interview originally appeared on GameLink.com.]
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November 15, 2005
ei Cinema's Michael Raso: All about Seduction
Michael Raso is president of ei Independent Cinema, the folks behind the curtain for Seduction Cinema, Shock-O-Rama Cinema and Retro Seduction Cinema. They're most famous for their seemingly vast repertoire of Misty Mundae titles, many of them erotic spoofs of genre films, but as Raso tells Jonathan Marlow in the ensuing interview, the company has a great affection for classic erotica and other blasts from the past, as well as horror films and "B" titles. Here he talks about how the company started and where it's going now.
Where did the name "ei Independent Cinema" originate?
The name ei has its roots in film school. "Ei" is a technical term for film speed - it stands for exposure index. I was going to school with my partner Jeff Faoro and we were a little more ambitious than most of the other folks in class, and we tended to hog the film department's equipment. We'd be checking the cameras out all the time shooting, so when Jeff and I were walking to class, the other students would say, "ei, ei, ei!" because in class we were discussing exposures. So they called Jeff and I the ei brothers, and it stuck. A really early incarnation of the company was called ei Brothers Production company in the 80s, then, when I formed the film production and distribution end of it in '94, ei Independent Cinema. Quite a few times I thought about changing the name of the company, but I just never got around to it and here we are 10 years later and a lot of folks in the industry and distribution know us [by that name].
There's no sense changing it now. Besides, you have four sub-imprints.
That's why I kept ei, because it functions well as the company name, but the brands - Seduction Cinema, Shock-O-Rama Cinema, and now Retro Shock-O-Rama and Retro Seduction Cinema - they're doing well and there's a lot of fan recognition to the brand names. That's really worked well.
I think the reason that Retro Seduction gave 1990 as a stop point is because we have not explored [that era] yet, but I think very soon we'll start exploring movies from the early 1980s like Hollywood Hot Tubs, films like Lunch Wagon.
We currently do not have them under license, but with a few trips out to Los Angeles, I met a few producers. Most notable is Mark Boardy, who produced those films. They're currently not available for the public and when I see a film like Lunch Wagon, made in '81, I find out that Missing Persons did the soundtrack and Dick Van Patten's in it and it's a really goofy sex comedy very similar to the West German comedies from '74. It's very appealing, but I think [we need] another year or so to start introducing these early 80's films.
Part of our agenda at BlueCine is to revive this lost era of narrative sex films. What you're doing and what we're doing somewhat overlaps.
It's fun. Sometimes I have to wear my sleuth hat. I have to find the films, track down the owners of the films. It's a difficult process and I think that's why it's very comforting to work in the films of Joe Sarno. We've established that we're releasing these films and we're working with the Sarno family just as we are with director Nick Phillips. It's great to kind of mine a library and comprehensively release films from a particular filmmaker and I think that theme is a very good parallel to what we're doing with Seduction or Shock-O-Rama, because we're continuing to work with Brett Piper and filmmakers like Tony Marsiglia, John Bacchus, star Misty Mundae.
There's a thread of consistency with our films. We try to make it like a club, so to speak. That's also a very satisfying part of the job. Most people think of the various labels of ei cinema, Misty Mundae films, Darian Cane films, Tony Marsiglia films, Brett Piper movies, Joe Sarno's films. Certainly, Something Weird Video is putting something together for Joe Sarno's films as well, but besides us and Something Weird, there really doesn't seem to be a heck of a lot of interest in properly releasing these films. That's a shame. I gladly take on that responsibility and move forward with it.
This is an area that [Something Weird's] Mike Vraney has mined for quite some time.
Yeah, I've seen a few of their releases and certainly, when they do focus on releasing a title, they have put out some films with extras and whatnot. As we continue with retro, especially now, we're putting out a lot of loops, and getting into the whole featurette scenario with these hour-long lost films. We're really starting to do things very similar to what they've been doing for quite a long time. Hopefully I'll run into him at one of these conventions and chit-chat, because there is a bit of a parallel to what we're doing, though I think they're approaching it in a little bit of a different way.
How did you decide to go in this particular direction?
Upon discovering that in a lot of older films, especially from the 60s, a different time, when a filmmaker would make a movie and not put their name on it because they did not want to be put in jail. A time when the laws were this very gray area of exhibiting a film in a theater and having the FBI do a bust. It was a very strange time, and it was such low budget filmmaking, that with the loops in some of these smaller features, even Nick Phillips to some extent, the films were not properly copyrighted and the copyright laws have changed so drastically. Back then you would need to send a copy of your work in the form of a print to the copyright office and copyright your motion picture. This is not done, especially when it comes to a loop, which is a ten-minute film with no titles.
Really, from a collective perspective of just being very interested and completely fascinated by the genre. Through some private web auctions and through eBay, I've hooked up with a bunch of collectors throughout the country, and found a whole underbelly of film collectors. This is completely fascinating to me; here are clubs where people buy films 16mm or 8mm, and they trade them. Some of these collectors, they don't have DVD players or VCRs. These guys are collecting movies and screening them on projectors. I guess the ones they feel are keepers, they hold on to and get a [duplicate copy], they put one up on eBay. I've immersed myself into this world of collecting and have collected probably about two hours worth of loops - black and white and color - from the late 40s through 1971, and this is a whole new world.
So they have just volumes upon volumes of these collections. Hours upon hours.
So now the job is to categorize and classify the loops. What are they? Is there anyone notable in them? From a historical perspective, let's put out a series from the 60s, say, a DVD of just one particular year. Then let's see if we can dig up any history on these. Let's put it in a collection with a collectible four-color booklet. I want to present it to the public as historically accurate as possible and make it fun by including a booklet or setting up the menus as if it's a peep show arcade, where, before the loop starts, you hear a quarter drop into the slot.
Also, we've only put a few volumes out and they're brand new. There are so many other questions. Is the general public really interested in this? Will traditional retail stores and fans be interested in purchasing a collection of naughty loops from the 60s?
Meanwhile, simultaneously, I'm still restoring some of Joe [Sarno]'s films, which will be coming out in 2006, and attacking that in a very specific way. For example, we just released Joe's films from '74 and the three German films. We've interviewed Joe and Peggy and had liner notes writted by Joe's biographer. So just trying to be as comprehensive as possible because, I think, from a collector's perspective, that's what makes our releases so much fun.
Clearly, "grindhouse" cinema is ripe for rediscovery on a mainstream level. When ei Independent started, it was initially conceived as a relatively conventional film organization. What impact did Caress of the Vampire have on pushing you in an exploitation direction?
Yeah, early on, in the mid 90s, ei cinema was sort of nebulous. Myself and Jeff and the other folks that worked with us at the time in our offices knew we wanted to make movies. Ei cinema was initially started as a company that would be making and distributing horror films. Early on in traditional distribution, we actually started working with a company called Ventura in California and retail opportunities opened itself up and you sort of discover the mechanics of releasing films on a regular basis. In order to be effective you need to be consistent and that means releasing films every month.
In the early to mid 90s, ei Cinema experimented in many different genres. We released a series of stand-up comedy tapes, including early Chris Rock performances, and it didn't work for us. We had an exercise line where we released Oscar de la Hoya's championship boxing workout and something called the grip step workout. Here we are releasing exercise tapes, not good. We tried to release some foreign films. One was produced by Jim Jarmusch, another, Attack at Dawn, was a Japanese war picture. In the mid 90s, we didn't have an identity of exactly what we were doing and there were a lot of one-offs from all these start up labels that we had, and Caress of the Vampire very effectively sealed the fate. It was successful. There was a need for that kind of product.
Do you remember the Surrender Cinema films? It just so happened that there was a tail off of those films and here we are in the East Coast starting with Seduction Cinema and it worked, retailers wanted this type of product in their store. Take that in conjunction with the brand new DVD format and you have some hits, because retailers are actively looking for anything on DVD - especially something that is naughty. Not since the early 80s... I always use Fast Times at Ridgemont High as a perfect example of an edgy comedy with sex in it, actual sex and nudity and all the good stuff that I remember growing up seeing in the theater.
Then somewhere into the 90s, Hollywood becomes very homogenized even in their "teen films." You [still] do not see a lot of sex coming from Hollywood and that is why something like a label called Seduction Cinema works so well - because the only way that stores and fans can get it is from small independents on a scale of what we were in the 90s. Most young filmmakers were not out there shooting erotic comedies or attempting to shoot horror films. Being a bunch of starving guys working out of a small flooded office in New Jersey in 1996, anything that worked was palatable to us.
We took our cable TV, comedy background and decided to spoof James Cameron's amazing Titanic, unfortunately releasing it a little too late into the marketplace to capitalize on [Titanic's] success, but the following year we were able to hit on mark with The Erotic Witch Project. It was shot in, literally, real time. Two days in the woods, edited in a week and released to the marketplace the following month. It hit at a perfect time and was able to take Seduction Cinema a little more mainstream to the point where Entertainment Weekly ran a little picture from The Erotic Witch Project because there were so many spoofs of Blair Witch, including other erotica spoofs, but we were the first of the DVD market.
There was something called Bare Wench Project which did not go to DVD until years later, but they achieved TV success, I believe, while we attained DVD success. So that's the humble beginnings of Seduction Cinema. If you asked any of us here, do you guys enjoy shooting erotic features, I would say, that's not the reason we got into the business. And I'd never have guessed early in the 90s that we would be shooting such high-powered erotica. We adapted. We want to make movies and we understand that we have to make ones that are going to sell, that are needed in the marketplace or else there is not much opportunity for us to make films.
You made a few decisions early on, which proved to be quite smart. You adopted the "studio system" where your actors were under contract to ei. If people were interested in those actors, they would be interested in seeing your latest releases. Part of that requires identifying the right actors to be your stars. How did you first sign-up Misty Mundae?
Misty Mundae was already acting in Factory 2000 films, which were literally underground movies. They were shot in North Jersey on VHS camcorders. They were homages to The Last House on the Left and all these films from the 70s. They were rough, concentrating on kidnappings and strangulation, a bizarre group of films.
Bill Hellfire was the director and he knew early ei. I was running a catalog, literally, a photocopied catalog that would go out to fans of some of our early releases and he wanted to shoot movies. I'd say, "go shoot a movie." We'd slap a cover on it to a VHS tape (before DVD), put it in the catalog for $29.99 and people would buy it. He adopted a very Nick Zedd/Richard Kern/Andy Warhol-type of scenario where he had this troupe of players, Misty Mundae, Joey Smack, Tim Tomorrow, I mean, all these fictitious names of these fictitious kids. They're all 20-year-olds partying and shooting movies and people were buying them.
Here we are ten miles away at ei cinema, launching our Seduction Cinema, starting to do these spoofs and we had hired Darian Caine through an agency and were always looking for talent. We were able to see in Misty Mundae's early films that this girl really had a spark, an on-screen presence. I think her first starring film with Seduction Cinema was Erotic Survivor in 2001 [a sequel was released a year later].
That's a relatively small part.
Well, that's an ensemble, not a starring role. In that same year, our spoof of Gladiator, Gladiator Eroticus, once again, it was a supporting role, but she jumped of the screen and just did a fantastic job. She was local and going to school and not working, so one thing leads to another. I really saw the potential there and started targeting and focusing on her character. We hired her for something called Mummy Raider, which is also known as Misty Mundae, Mummy Raider. That film was shot in Massachusetts and she had to carry it [with] the focus on her as the lead. That film was the super low budget two-day wonder. At the same time we were coming up with our Planet of the Apes spoof [Playmate of the Apes]. I think that was one of the first Seduction Cinema films to really take off.
And it was sold to television as well.
Yeah, they take off in different mediums because before Playmate of the Apes, we were shooting these erotic films at a very rapid pace and they were fulfilling a DVD market, but at the same time we were exploring the whole expansion. And Playmate of the Apes was a cute title, a great poster, a decently shot film, production values are decent. It hit the TV market and the foreign market.
We see Misty Mundae in Mummy Raider, we're like, "this is the girl, great! Let's cast her as the lead in Playmate of the Apes." From an internal perspective it was no different than any other film she was in. She got a call, "hey, we're doing a film." She had no clue she was doing the lead. She got picked up for the shoot, showed up on the set, "here's the script." "Oh, I'm the lead!" And she pulled it off. I guess from that film, in the course of 12 months, that's when the whole concept of doing a studio system really hit me, making this an ensemble and being consistent without players, to bring this to the fan base. I think that's what makes the films exciting, because fans feel they're part of something, similar to a Troma experience.
Another decision that has proved successful, in addition to the spoofs, is reviving the history of the erotic films by remaking them. You've made relatively straight remakes of films like Roxanna [original] and Lustful Addiction [original]. Coincidentally, the mainstream Adult business is taking this strategy as well, with Eon McKai's revisioned Neu Wave Hookers and Adam & Eve's new version of The Devil in Miss Jones. They're starting to see that there is a history here that they can do something with. In the early days of Hollywood, they used to produce remakes even a few years after a film was first released.
I'm very saddened by the fact that [the adult industry] doesn't embrace the history as well as they should. You certainly could find Devil in Miss Jones on DVD, but you cannot find anyone finding the negatives, remastering it. The film was so rich in history that it deserves that. I think one of the negative aspects of what I do here is we do that investment but it's a risky business. When you look at the adult film business or any other studio, it's quick, fast, and cheap.
Who would want to invest thousands and thousands of dollars into remastering the Devil in Miss Jones or Deep Throat or any of these films. We attempted to get Deep Throat and Deep Throat II. The latter, because it was directed by Joe Sarno. It just wasn't working. We're at different wavelengths as far as how we approach things. In many respects, I see their perspective because in re-mastering many of these films, it's an investment that is an easy recoup.
At Seduction Cinema in 2002, there were so many things going on at once and most of it did work: signing up these women to contracts, establishing contract players and publicizing that so that they could not work for any other studio and there was ample work here at Seduction Cinema. At the same time, we acquired part of Nick Phillips's film library and we came up with the idea of doing these low-budget remakes. So here we have the ensemble cast, the studio players, a bunch of new directors, and they would just be given a bunch of different assignments, and if you look at any of the different films, based upon a fan of who their preferred director is, you'll see many different results. Roxanna certainly has a great appeal and is a fan favorite. Tony Marsiglia - I don't know if you're familiar with his Dr. Jekyll and Mistress Hyde -
Tony made Chantal, which is a remake of 1969 Nick Phillips film. It's coming out in 2006. I think it really worked because so many of our new directors were given opportunities to loosely base a film on a retro title, and they can take it in whatever direction they want it to go.
Yeah, Nick was here a few months ago and we did some interviews and his films will be coming out in the next few months that will have his interviews attached [to the DVD]. I always say, age a film for 30 years and all of a sudden you get so much more interest. Although, our in-house films, like Playmate of the Apes and Gladiator Eroticus, although they were successful for us, they were pretty heavily dumped upon from a critical perspective. Whereas, you release an older film, I guess it's like a wine or something. It has a different aesthetic 30 years later and a different hipness to it.
I don't think that Doris intended on making Hideout in the Sun a comedy. It's not, but the film is such a blast to watch. It's a combination of so many different elements and you can't really put it all together. Sort of like Nick Phillips, all of a sudden he'll cut to a negative image or he'll do a jump cut. It's like, is this intentional or was he just rushing to get the film into the theater? I tend to think that it was rushing. A lot of these discovered movies now considered brilliant were sometimes even made out of ineptness. I enjoy watching the side of a guy's head talking. "Well, she didn't shoot sync sound, so let's do that later." Or it'll cut to the person's mouth talking while the other guy's talking. All these little exploitation cheats now 35 years later seem really camp and fun.
When you put these films in their proper context, I always refer to Wishman as the Robert Bresson of exploitation cinema. She's so focused on inanimate objects - feet and hands - some of which is a constraint of her budget and her relative inexperience as a filmmaker. There is a certain level of creativity at work when shooting MOS, covering the lack of sync-sound with a well-placed camera. Obviously, there is also a fondness for the work of Joe Sarno at ei, even to the extent that a character in your directorial debut is referred to as Aunt Inga. So what is the influence, overall, of Joe and his work on The Seduction of Misty Mundae?
When I shot Seduction of Misty Mundae which was October/November of 2001, at that point we had in-house Joe's Inga, as well as Butterflies, Girl Meets Girl, Vampire Ecstasy. I only met Joe once at that point [when he did] the commentary for Inga. At the time, we were doing all these spoofs, all the comedies, and - first of all, I wanted to make a film, that's why I got into this business. However, being able to get out there and actually direct a film has always eluded me because I keep getting pulled in different directions because of the business, which lead me to just handle the producing of all these films. So I wanted to make an erotic film, since we had just launched Seduction Cinema a few years earlier, and needed product for that brand. I decided I was going to do a drama and decided to use Joe's films as a boilerplate.
He was really able to grab the audience with high powered over the top drama and make it work. The combination of things that happened in the making of Seduction of Misty Mundae, first of all, there would be no film without Misty Mundae playing this part. I knew from her look and aesthetic what she can do. She looks youthful, she can act, she has a girl next door persona. The film was in preproduction for about a year or so because we were waiting to find someone who could play her aunt, another important character. That actor was not to be found until we met Julian Wells. I was actually considering casting Tammy Parks in that role, but she was sort of leaving the business and that didn't work out, so when Julian found her way into Seduction Cinema, it clicked and I saw that those two women would be able to make this film happen. I thought of it as using the coming of age film that Inga was as inspiration.
The youthful innocent who discovers her body and herself during the course of the film.
It's completely fascinating to me, and I call Seduction of Misty Mundae the compression of what would happen to someone that age in a year ompressed to two days. I think it's a subject matter that is not really approached that often. As of late, in independent filmmaking, topics are kind of sensitive and so sexually explosive and as I say in my commentary track, I made the film and I feel that I really got accomplished what I wanted to do which was to make this coming of age erotic drama. The interesting thing about it was that I was able to really make it happen in the window of opportunity I had. This is 2001, when Misty Mundae first started working for us. She was fresh to the business [of] making movies.
I couldn't make that film today. A combination of things really came together and it all worked. It was the easiest film that I've ever shot in my life. Certainly, I've been on all my movie sets, usually producing, but in the directing capacity, the way the crew worked together, the way the actors worked together, it just all worked seamlessly. And now, three years later, it's coming out and everyone seems to really like it. Of course I'm thrilled from this perspective because I helped write and I directed it. I'm waiting to see if a film that's this sensitive with coming of age can also go to television and to foreign.
You originally directed the film under the pseudonym Michael Beckermann. Did you feel that since Misty and other members of the cast were working under assumed names that this was an affectation you should carry through the project yourself?
At the time I was using Michael Beckermann as a pseudonym only because I had my hands in every single aspect of distribution and the business end, and wanted to keep them separate and maintain a low profile [for] producing. As the years progressed, I felt I had nothing to be ashamed of. I shot and directed the film and I'm very proud of that. I really don't need to use a pseudonym anymore, and the only reason I did [more recently] in Lust in Space, is purely out of nostalgia. I'm always amazed with the IMDb, that because things get updated without me doing a damn thing. I don't know who does this, but all of the sudden, the film will show up and the entire cast and crew will be listed and I'm thinking, "well, how does this happen?" I don't know, someone's doing it.
On a commentary track Sam Sherman did for one of Al Adamson's movies, he says plain and clear, "You know what? Take the credit." Because he did so much work on Dracula vs Frankenstein. Young filmmakers out there, listen to me, if you did it, take the credit. That stuck with me, because Sam, as a kid watching his movies on TV, was an early influence and now I'm working with him. I said, "fuck it." I don't need a pseudonym. This is what I do and I can accept that. So the whole pseudonym thing has fallen apart. Even Misty Mundae doesn't even want to be known as Misty Mundae anymore.
Right. The film was shelved because you were busy doing all of the other things required to run your business. It's now finished. Will this basically be the last Misty Mundae film for Seduction Cinema, or at least her last nude role for her?
Well, there's probably a half a dozen films on the shelf. I don't mean sitting on the shelf, I mean they're in post production right now that are coming out in 2006 and it may actually bleed over to 2007. Now this is because of sheer volume. You're talking about working actors under contract in 2002 and 2003. That was their job and it really operated as a very active studio in those years whereas we were shooting something almost every week. It was almost so super active there's a complete glut of films. There are only so many slots to release a film.
You don't want to overexpose your actors. You don't want to have too much stuff out on the market.
We started becoming known as the Misty Mundae company and that's not who we are. We're Seduction Cinema, we're Shock-O-Rama Cinema, so we started pacing the films, and some are still in post production. Her best work, in my opinion, although I consider a film I made to be her best work, has yet to be released and that's going to happen in the next two years. Films like Sinful, Shock-O-Rama and Chantal, which may be the last film released, are really powerful. I'm not just saying that because, as her career progressed, the roles became much better. I started realizing that as an actor and as someone who is really talented, and I mean that sincerely, this is a girl who goes to film school, can load a film camera, shoot a film and edit it, there needed to be a progression. I feel we started that progression asking, "How many sex comedies can Misty Mundae do before it's just such a bore." I mean, Play-Mate of the Apes is what was Gladiator Eroticus, [which] is Lord of the G Strings. Spiderbabe. I mean, they're similar films...
So there was a progression and I think we got the point where we said, "Misty Mundae is lord of this." She let us know, "guys, this erotica thing, how long am I going to do this?" We didn't disagree with her, we just happened to be, at the same time, launching a horror label, Shock-O-Rama Cinema, doing the same thing that we did with Seduction, which is bring in directors and get an ensemble going. Her first Shock-O-Rama film was Screaming Dead, the next film was Bite Me. Both directed by Brett Piper, which lead to our biggest film called Shock-O-Rama, where she's actually playing a burnt-out erotica star who throws in the towel and goes off into the country to take a break and unfortunately encounters some flesh-eating zombies.
That happens, you know, when you go out into the woods.
Yeah. Right now, I want to call for a hiatus because she's doing other things.
So you expect she's going to come back?
I really don't know, and could only be as supportive as possible. She shot a film for school called Voodoun Blues. She's off doing other things, she's working as Erin Brown. I haven't spoken to her, it's been quite a few months. She's currently acting in [Showtime's] Masters of Horror series, Lucky McKee's Sick Girl.
So she's off doing other things, and it's a big question mark. I read it in online chatter, and bulletin boards, Misty Mundae is no longer with ei cinema, she's doing this, and this... And from my perspective, because of the day to day operations here which is amazingly nuts and the fact that we have a consistent stream of very good Misty Mundae films coming out, there's plenty of time to address, "will she come back and make another film?"
Finally, what is your working process with co-writer, DP, composer of the score, comrade in arms, as it were, John Fedele? He's been around since film school, basically, multitalented, like yourself, and involved in all aspects of the business.
People should surround themselves with talent. No man is an island. No one can do everything and that goes for myself and just about everyone that I work with here. I surround myself with people who I work well with. In the case of John, whom I have been producing films with since college; he's a good writer and we had a good aesthetic with each other in the workplace. John has never ever accepted an [official] job here at ei cinema, because he won't nail himself down to a desk. He's always been a contracted work for hire, which allows him to do other things. We work very well together and he's so multitalented - he's directed for us, he's acted for us, produces music, shoots. I call him up, "Hey John, I need B roll of New York City for this film we're shooting in England. I need all the exteriors." Boom. "John, I have these nudie loops, gosh, I need music." "No problem, done." "I'd really like to shoot a movie, what do you think about co writing with me?" He's always on board for anything creative and is a terrific creative partner.
October 21, 2005
Eon McKai: Art School Smut
While the casual viewer might argue that all roads in the adult entertainment business have been explored, there are still some trailblazers in the business trying to make things interesting again. Chief among them is Eon McKai [web site], kingpin of the nascent alt.porn genre. As Jonathan Marlow interrupts him in the midst of editing his latest, Neu Wave Hookers, the two discuss the history of the industry and the introduction, only twelve months ago, of a whole new style of adult filmmaking.
You have a film degree, which is unusual in this business. Where did you go to school?
I'll never say!
It's a secret.
It's a secret. I've got a master's degree in film from a real film school. I also went to art school, too.
Which was, at least in part, an inspiration for your first adult feature, Art School Sluts. There are a few scenes in the film that were inspired by real incidents?
There's a lot of real stuff in there. There's also a send up of filmmaker and artist Morgan Fischer - that scene where she was taking photographs and then you're watching them develop. I guess you kind of insert your personality in-between the sex scenes when you make a feature.
You came to VCA with this idea?
What made you decide to go with them?
I've always been interested in adult film and it just seemed like an interesting way to have a job and do something fun. I know that's really basic, but that's just how I'm feeling right now. I ask myself, too, "Why did I start doing this?" I guess it's a lot of fun. It really is. With VCA, I snuck in at a time when things were in turmoil and some people gave me a shot - Wit Maverick and Antonio Passolini, and I got a help from Jane Hamilton (Veronica Hart) and Jim Malibu. I got to hang out on their sets and see how they did it. Now I'm coming up with my own way to do it but that was basically my way into VCA. They were pretty nervous about the idea at first. You know, alt.porn hadn't really been tried on video. You had goth stuff, that's all anybody knew. Their only frame of reference to anything I was doing was goth. I would just kind of nod and say, "Just trust me." It seemed to work, though.
Was music also pushing you in this direction? In addition to a different look for your actors, the sound in your film is obviously quite distinct. You use emo, drum and bass...
Yeah, absolutely. I have a lot of experimental stuff, a lot of breakcore and higher caliber stuff from real people. In Neu Wave Hookers, we're getting an almost all electro soundtrack with people like Dirty Sanchez and Electrocute, Gold Chains - you're from San Francisco, are you familiar with Gold Chains?
Gold Chains is on the soundtrack. Topher [Lafata] was actually one of the first people I approached because he made records with dirty lyrics. Gold Chains was by himself just talking about ass and pussy in an ironic, hip-hop way. Then, when he started doing stuff with his backup singer, Sue Cie, their last record they did together was all about being in a relationship and sex and stuff like that. I thought it was pretty interesting, so it'd be good to put into a porno movie.
I read your piece with Joanna [Angel] where she said we were such buddies. We really are good friends. We stuck together through some shit during the last year and we think the same way. I believe there will be more and more people who'll get into what we do, the more we fly the flag that we're making these kind of movies.
Ideally it won't immediately attract folks that crassly co-opt the space.
I think that you can tell the difference. What's happening right now, there is this misnomer that you have to be super hip or some kind of brainiac to get into these movies. That's just not the case. I think certain people are starting to feel a little threatened because they don't have an eye for it. You know, I don't watch tranny porn. I'm not really threatened by the fact that it's there. I would like all porn to have a place on the shelf, a place for my movie to be among other movies like it. That's what we're fighting now, but we're getting a little bit of that. Like, "Oh, alt.porn doesn't exist. You guys are a bunch of..." You know. It's really been interesting. You work with GameLink, so you know. The distributors are really starting to respond to the titles positively.
You've created your own cottage industry.
I just wish I was getting rich off of it but I can't say that's the case.
It will come in time.
I hope so. I hope that I still have some good ideas later when I have a little bit more of the cut!
Before you made Art School Sluts, you made other films while you were in school - non-adult films.
Absolutely, yes. When I'm not Eon McKai, I've definitely done other things. I enjoy being an alias, too. I think if I went back and made a purely art film, it would probably be about the concept of identity. People have really reinvented themselves online and a lot of people who watch my movies are pretty savvy, too. They're pretty social online.
How did you cast Art School Sluts? How did you find these people to star in your film?
With Art School Sluts it was mostly through the internet. I met Keiko through the internet, I met Brooklyn through the internet, this guy Dominic, and some other people. I had to fill it out. I'm always riding that edge of who I want to have in my movies. I'm trying to make a really conscious choice. You know, I generally don't shoot girls with fake boobs. I try to find something in the girl that's got an alt style to her and try to work with that. You know how it is in this business. I'm not saying that I don't like anybody in any of my movies, but you're always riding that edge and your voice as a pornographer is who you decide to put in the movie and why. I work really hard on it. I'm constantly talking to girls on myspace. This week I talked to an insanely hot-looking girl, but she's in Canada. So it's starting to be these girls who know they probably couldn't do normal porn but they'll get a lot of exposure through my stuff. You know, also being friends with Joanna, I've met a lot of the Burning Angel girls. Brooklyn still is a model on Joanna's site.
That's right! I forget about Jezebelle Bond because I met Jez first as a porn star. Actually, when I met her, I thought that she was super cute and I was trying to get her in Art School Sluts. She was really unavailable about doing scenes at that time, but she'd been in the business. Now that I'm here, she's kind of sporty now. We shot her and her boyfriend and they were really nice. It was a really cool scene. And Buff Monster - I don't know if you're familiar but he did a room in San Francisco in some hipster hotel where all the different rooms are painted by different artists.
The Hotel des Arts.
So Buff Monster, he did that room [in KGK2].
To date, all of your work is set in Los Angeles, right?
Yeah, we shot everything here. I would like to go anywhere though.
You've got to make a movie in San Francisco. Think of the history of the business...
Well, I would agree. But it's harder. Here's the thing... I definitely could do something in San Francisco, but I know Joanna and Joe Galant have harder times doing things in New York because here, if you're set up to shoot one day and somebody doesn't show up...
You can always fall back on these agencies. You know what I mean? That's when it becomes such a product. I think that's why I like some of that stuff that's made out there. Maybe I should go to San Francisco.
How did you end up using James Deen in... Well, he's been in everything so far.
I put him in his first scene. Art School Sluts, that's his first. I saw him on the Jim South site and, when Art School Sluts was just beginning, I was struggling for what guys I could put in my movie. Some of that backfired. That guy Dominic was supposed to perform and I had to get someone else to come in and perform instead. You know, making your first porno movie, you want some guys who you know can perform. I had an older character in the movie so I could cast an older porn star since I was sure that would work. But with James Deen, I saw him and something just told me I should give him a shot. I put him in his first scene and now he's become one of my best performers.
He's almost become your alter ego.
My alter ego...
I've never thought of it like that! We've kind of built a little bit of a family and I'd say that James is a part of that. I remember him calling me from New York when he was doing Joanna's Angels. He was like, "Man, it's all your fault they're dressing me up like a hipster!" He's become really in demand. He works every day. His rates are going up and he deserves it. The girls really like him. He's a really nice person, so I'm really happy I brought somebody really nice into the business. I haven't had so much luck with bringing guys into the business since then.
Well, it's tough.
It's totally tough. I'm considering shooting more couples. To anyone that has been in the business, it's like, "Warning, warning!" But some of these couples are hot. The girls are really cute and the guys are real. These are the guys that the girls are really dating, so... We're starting to cross that bridge soon.
Now, with Art School, you're doing a narrative with something that you're relatively familiar with, but with Kill Girl Kill, it's essentially a collection of scenes. Where'd the idea for the series come from?
VCA was in a really weird spot when Kill Girl Kill started. Obviously, VCA had been picked up by Hustler. That was at the time when no one was shooting so they gave me money just to go shoot a scene. You know, when a company stops production for a minute, it's really depressing in the office. You feel like they're on a sinking ship. So we found a way to get some money out of the company to just start shooting something and we shot that first scene with Veronica [Jett] on Kill Girl, just to kind of keep spirits up. "Hey, look, the kids are shooting. All the other features might not be happening but at least something's going on." We got more money to finish the movie. People were already talking about Art School Sluts but it hadn't really pushed enough units at the time, so we were still trying to prove ourselves.
That's when I picked up the camera and started shooting and learning more about shooting a sex scene. Literally, we were just going head-forward into it; we would just show up at a place. We made a lot of mistakes on the first one, but we managed to cut it together into something kind of cool. And we got a bunch of cool people involved in it. Every scene would be like some other day where we would all get together and go shoot someplace. It's really kind of our beginnings of learning how to do it by ourselves. By that, I mean, people like Alice Suicide, Malachi Ecks and Vena Virago. Malachi and Vena have actually started shooting, too, so even more people, even just from my crew out here, are going to start making films.
They're both directing now?
Yeah, Malachi did something. It's kind of on the down low. He just started shooting something this weekend, both him and Vena Virago, separately. Vena Virago [director of Nietzsche Bangers] is the art director on Neu Wave Hookers, and on Art School Sluts, and she art directed the first scene on Kill Girl Kill 2. I don't know if you've seen that one where Deja [Daire] has a bloody nose...
Kill Girl Kill 2 and the first one both start in an odd way.
Yeah, with Kill Girl Kill we literally go someplace and we just start putting stuff together. We just rent a place that we think is cool. We show up, we move some stuff around and I have some vague ideas. We'll buy props and we'll load a bunch of stuff into the location. Literally, we're just kind of building each scene. So I'm always just looking for something to happen. For some reason, that's what happened that day. We just put a bloody nose on Deja and sat her down and, I don't know, something weird was going on with her…
It just seemed right. I was definitely going to hell as I was shooting that scene, though. I felt like I was doing something very bad.
Putting the image of Christ on the lamp...
Christ, yeah. The whole mood of that scene... We had to wait around a long time for paperwork reasons. It was tough. By the time we shot, things were really dark. It was a really dark scene. Neu Wave Hookers is cute, though. It's not a remake, just so you know.
We'll get to that. I'm trying to take this somewhat chronologically, not that it makes any difference whatsoever. It's "a year in the life," from November 2004, when Art School Sluts came out, to November of this year, when Kill Girl Kill 3 is scheduled to be released.
Yeah, I didn't really crank them out this year, but I did okay.
That's still pretty good. Quality takes time.
It does. Everybody's just making a lot of money making a lot of things. I've got to figure it out.
If you were back when the adult business was beginning, when the rules were somewhat different, and you were able to do more with the material, is there anything that you would like to do that you are not able to do in the Kill Girl Kill trilogy?
A lot, narrative-wise. There's a lot I would like to show. I'd like to show situations that are a little bit more real. And I'm not talking about anything violent. It's just pure story stuff. That's probably a big part of why it's hard to take a lot of these films seriously because they can't have certain things happen in them. It's really disappointing. If I wanted to make a movie about street kids who got into drugs and sex, it would be really hard to show everything and talk about everything in the way you would to make a serious movie. Have you ever seen Christiane F.?
So if that was a porno movie, there would be a couple of problems. One, obviously, is that Christiane and her hustler boyfriend were underage. They've probably had sex, you know. They were doing heroin, they were probably having sex. Depicting underaged kids having sex and doing heroin, you couldn't make a porno movie. You would have to remove the drugs and the age. Maybe you could make a movie about an older girl who had a junkie, hustler boyfriend. I look at a movie like that and that's kind of what's holding us back. We can't totally say what we want to say. You look at Deja Daire in that scene [in KGK2] and you have to imagine what's going on with her.
You're asking the audience to fill in the blanks.
I think that's the only way. It seems like gonzo sex is moving at such an accelerated rate. What's the new frontier? Maybe something like Jack the Zipper's Squealer. It just came out on Hustler and it's a beautiful movie. At times, it's kind of creepy and moody. I've thought of doing creepy things. Just kind of inject something else in there that's hardcore besides, I don't know, vomiting. Yeah, it bugs me a little bit.
It's asking you to be creative.
Yeah. You kind of have to dance around it, right?
VCA is currently giving you a lot of flexibility to do what you want?
Absolutely. Over the last year, they've really warmed up to the fact that I have opened a market. Peter Reynolds, who's the head of Sales there, really understands my product. If they didn't get it, I probably wouldn't still be making movies.
That goes back to something we talked about last week. At the Adult Entertainment Expo in January, you and Joanna were trying to get the alt.porn thing going but a lot of the people that you met in Las Vegas have since disappeared from the business.
Well, hopefully they'll come back. There are people like Benny Profane, he did three in a series called Psychocandy. He was shooting real alt girls and goth girls from the clubs out here. A lot of the goth stuff that happens in regular porno movies, it's just, "Okay, let's throw some clothes on some chick." It doesn't really work. If you really want goth girls, you've got to go to something like Gothsend or something like Benny was making. He stopped producing them this year because of financial problems. There were other people at the party this year that just didn't get it together. I'd like to meet up again. I think we'll have a bigger voice than we did last year.
Hopefully we can, now that people are paying a little attention. My whole goal is that we just need a shelf. Distributors just need to know where to put it. Then we're all going to be good. Our customers will know where to get it and we'll know where to sell it.
BlueCine's building the "virtual shelf" and we're not going to shut up about it. People will figure it out.
There's just going to be more and more movies and hopefully they'll be really genuine. Some of them won't but that's how porn is. If something becomes successful, somebody will crank them out. Hopefully there'll be some cute girls in there! Of course, I'm trying to connect with everybody in this market that's making this stuff. Even people that are starting to do stuff on the web, I'll get in touch with them. I end up talking to everyone in the scene because it's still so small.
I get the impression that some scenes from Kill Girl Kill 3 were shot while you were doing Kill Girl Kill 2.
I shot them back to back, but at different times. A month apart...
Who stars in the latest one?
Joanna Angel flew out. It was her first non-Burning Angel sex scene ever and she performed with James Deen. If you want to see people have sex who really want to have sex with each other... it's a pretty crazy scene. Probably the most heat, pure couples heat, ever. Tiger is in this one and Nyomi Zen and Katrina Kraven, Rob Rotten, Kurt Lockwood was back for this one, and Serena Sinn from Bad Ass Models. I don't think she's around much. I think she's back in Florida or something. She did a cool scene with James Deen, too. This girl Tiger, beautiful black girl, emailed me and said, "I love your stuff." I started to talk to her and she really wanted to have sex with Kurt Lockwood. It's her first sex scene and she was so into getting fucked by Kurt Lockwood. You know, Kill Girl Kill was good for me. It really taught me how to put some good sex scenes together before I went back to making features.
You've talked elsewhere about your interest in the work of Gregory Dark and Alex de Renzy. Gregory made some of the best of the original New Wave Hookers series, and now you've done, not a sequel as you note, but a new version entirely.
VCA lets me do a lot of what I want and I needed to come up with something. I wanted to make another feature. I didn't want to make Kill Girl Kill forever. Even though the hardcore "rain coaters" weren't huge fans of Art School Sluts, I think it totally found its audience. I get so many emails about all the stuff that's in that movie and all the references and whatnot. I felt like I needed to go back and do a feature. I tried to come up with an idea that I knew would work for VCA. New Wave Hookers was kind of a known name that would get some attention. I started out with the idea of, basically, playing with the company's history, in a movie. VCA has become so abstract at this point. It's like there was this VCA of some other time that I've only talked to people about and then there's the VCA of more recent time, where Michael Ninn put out a lot of his best early stuff, and then it transformed into just a company that kind of cranked out features. They have a staff with directors, they had Jim Holliday... there are many faces of VCA and I think a lot of people forgot how interesting some of that early stuff is, especially to the people who weren't there the first time.
It's a good pitch - "Hey, I'm going to make a movie based on one of your lines and hopefully distributors will perk up to that name while, the whole time, I'll promote the idea of the back catalog." Selling the back catalog as I'm selling a new movie. It's like I'm sucking their dick and I'm massaging their balls at the same time! They gave me the biggest budget for a movie that I've ever done. High def. I got to shoot for more days and it was just more of everything. That's how I came to it. We just started researching fun stuff about New Wave Hookers. Sean Carney, who does all my PR now, has actually got a file from VCA of the original chromes and we read through some of the original PR that was done for the first New Wave. It was like opening this weird time capsule and, one of the things we noticed was that the Dark Brothers kind of beat the drum the way that we beat the drum. It's like, "Here we come, this movie looks cool, it has cool music in it." There were some really funny stories in there that they would write from the point of view of the dog that they'd send out to the press. We dug some of that stuff up and shot some of the old, fake stories about the Dark Brothers. We shot some of that for the movie. It's a lot about VHS. It fetishizes VHS because, that whole time, VHS movies were quite the thing. Also, the fact that a certain underage performance has been cut out of the original movie.
Those are all really interesting things to think about. I wasn't there at that time of VCA, of course, but it's interesting to me. It's hard to describe all the elements of Neu Wave, but it's really just riffing on the history of the company.
It's a perfect subject for you. That's part of the reason you went with VCA in the first place.
I definitely thought that VCA had a really interesting past and they distribute some of the best old movies. I hate to sound like a salesman, you know, but if you're looking for old porno movies, VCA has got a lot of classic titles, even early John Leslie stuff, too. It just kind of goes and goes. They've got a big collection and some of it hasn't even come out yet.
What's interesting to me is that you have your film coming out and recently a new Devil in Miss Jones was released. It seems like the time is ripe to mine the classics, as it were.
Yeah. I think so. VCA has kind of had a history of it. Veronica Hart did Barbara Broadcast Too! Those movies were successful for them, although they're not as big of a budget as the Devil in Miss Jones remake. I have to realize that I'm not going to have the budget to do something like that so I just really need to have fun with it. Maybe it's just a theme I felt so much more as a kid, compared to some people who have just been in the business longer. I'm not working with as many resources, or as big a push as that, so I didn't elect to remake the movie in any way like that.
You revisioned it.
I revisioned it. Everybody's so much into that time anyways, into the 80s fashions, so many kids are dressing like that. It's just a good time to connect to that.
When will Neu Wave Hookers be released?
Neu Wave comes out on the 17th, which is right after the convention. Riley Mason, the star, is going to be signing [at AEE]. Burning Angel is going to have a booth and Joanna Angel is going to be signing. I'm talking to Joanna about doing some version of the party we did last year. Literally, we were just running around the convention with flyers in our hands. Basically, anybody we could kind of see from talking to them or by the way they looked, we tried to get them together and that's kind of how we all found each other last year.
Have you bothered to read The Other Hollywood?
I've read it like you'd read any Legs McNeil book, in parts. I'll think of somebody and I'll go to it, like a reference book...
The book sets itself up as an alternative to the media's usual portrayal of the industry riddled with violence and drug use. Then the book goes on to illustrate the history of violence and drug use in the industry! It seems that the definitive book on the history of the business still needs to be written.
One of the better historians of this business, Jim Holliday, died. When I met him, he was really fun and crazy but he'd already seemed to forget a lot of stuff. He was already kind of fried. I don't know who would definitively go back. Inside Deep Throat just came out [on video] and there are just many, many stories. I think you could write a book just about the laws involving making adult film.
Perhaps that's the issue with The Other Hollywood. It's too expansive.
It's pretty broad and I guess they're going for the dirt sometimes. When I opened it up, it started with Bunny Yeager. I was like, "Wow, so we're really going back." We're not just starting with loops. I just had dinner with Constance Penley, who teaches a porn class at UCSB. She's in the Center for Film, Television and New Media out there, and I asked, "What do you teach in your class?" She said that they teach the history and the aesthetics and how they've changed. The Other Hollywood went from when to when?
When I asked Constance what the scope of her class was, she starts with [Eadweard] Muybridge.
You can't go much further back than that.
Yeah, that's square one. I think somebody has got to specialize. I think there are a lot of stories to tell and they're not all sad. Some of the people I've gotten to know since going to VCA, like Veronica Hart - she's a great family woman, director and producer. She's still acting in mainstream TV and movie stuff. To me, that's a real success.
You've been very vocal about your appreciation of the classics. If someone was exploring adult movies for the first time, what would you recommend?
Definitely Rinse Dream's Café Flesh. Black Throat. The first two New Wave Hookers [and 2], The Opening of Misty Beethoven. Those are movies you want to own. Friends come over and you can show those films to them. Right now, things like Joanna's Angels, which just came out.
You're name-dropping now. You've got to mention your friends. I see how it is.
She'll be pissed if I don't give her props. We have to hold hands through these fucking interviews on your web site! Right now, if I'm looking for new stuff, I really only know my friends' stuff. I was over at Shane's World and they gave me the new Nerdz movie. I thought that was really cute.
Regardless of the legal constrictions of what you can and can't do, the industry has essentially painted themselves into a corner. You know the sequence of everything that's going to happen.
A lot of the movies that I'm talking about have narratives. I don't know if I'm ever really following the narrative in those movies or if I'm just looking at the people and what they're wearing, and the girls are really hot and beautiful. If you look at Misty Beethoven, they're beautiful, natural girls in there. It's the aesthetics that have gotten so... The big movies are really, really beautiful to look at but just totally unwatchable from a narrative point of view. That's why, in Art School Sluts, I'll let the whole scene fall apart in the movie because we'll actually get to see a little bit of the personality of the people who are performing. I don't know how to explain it, but I'll just shoot. I have such disrespect for the narrative in some of my features. I'm just shooting and looking for them to mess up, like I'm going to carve something out of that. That's a lot of what I'm doing in the new movie, too. That's also what was so powerful about gonzo. You'd sit there and you'd look at the girl and you'd learn some stuff about her. There's just something really weird about that, like knowing something real.
Even when it's fake.
Even when it's fake. If it's played off good, it can be really interesting.
When Neu Wave is finished, do you have a project in mind for your next film?
I'm going to make a feature. I'm not going back to do anything like Kill Girl Kill, as far as I know, anytime soon. I want to make a low budget feature and I don't want to say too much about it yet. I've been thinking a lot about movies like River's Edge or Over the Edge. I've always been kind of drawn to those movies. I wouldn't mind shooting somewhere in the suburbs. Not the valley, but somewhere where they're building new houses. Something's drawing me to that, but I don't know what I'm going to do, exactly. I have to finish cutting Neu Wave and turn in a budget for something new. You know those movies, like River's Edge?
Absolutely, yeah. And Suburbia.
Yeah. I think those movies influenced stuff like Gummo, in a way.
Gummo definitely is an extension of something like River's Edge, except a bit more fucked up.
It's a lot more fucked up, a lot more heightened.
So now you're going to take it one step further...
...and they'll have sex. Those characters travel in a time and place. Obviously, because of porn, it has to be adult, but before you have to get a job. You have to make adult decisions but yet you don't have to fully take a major job. Rent's cheap, you party every night. There's something interesting about that time and place. Something interesting about where you go and what you do.
October 12, 2005
Pirates Premieres in Hollyweird
by Re Pete
On a recent Monday evening, all the excessively pretty people poured into Hollywood's storied Egyptian Theater for a much-anticipated premiere. The movie, Pirates, shot entirely in high-definition by easygoing wunderkind and techno-sexual adventurer Joone, already had a lot of industry people talking. After all, it starred some of the sexiest women on Earth - including Jesse Jane, Janine Lindemulder, Carmen Luvana, Teagan Presley and Jenaveve Jolie. And it had been heralded as one of the biggest (read: most expensive) adult productions yet made (though opinions on this vary).
That's right - the Egyptian was the site for a XXX movie premiere, the likes of which haven't been seen since the bowchickabowchicka bygone days of the seventies. Replace the oversaturated blue of those grimy times with new-millennium high-def depth, and you've got porno chic with bigger production values (not to mention breasts), red carpets, puffy pirate shirts, scabbards, and the crisp, clean smell of money. Strange days, even for an old, permanently warped industry town like Hollywood.
Does this mean that the mainstreaming of adult entertainment has taken yet another step forward, along with Porn Queen Jenna Jameson's New York Times-bestselling memoir "How to Make Love Like a Porn Star: A Cautionary Tale" and the numerous Hollywood acting credits for adult actors like Gina Lynn and Nina Hartley, not to mention the black-inked porn profit centers for big ole' American corporations like News Corp., Time Warner, and Paris "The Heiress" Hilton's namesake hotel chain (not to mention her own "underground-style" porno, 1 Night in Paris)? (Well, not quite: as part of the unofficial "War on Porn," the current Presidential administration has enlisted the help of the FBI, whose Washington Field Office just began recruiting for a new anti-obscenity squad. As if they don't have enough to do right now.)
But never mind about that. I recently talked with Joone about Pirates, which will almost certainly set sales records for Digital Playground - the entertainment company that produced the movie in association with longtime adult fixture Adam and Eve - as well as across the entire industry. Here are some excerpts from the interview, condensed for easy reading.
How did the premiere at the Egyptian go?
It was phenomenal. A great turnout, over 600 people. The place was packed.
The costumes and set design looks fantastic. What inspired you to make the movie and to really go for broke on Pirates?
We shot a little side movie during the filming of Island Fever 3 in Tahiti and Bora Bora with Evan Stone as a pirate. It was so much fun, and we thought we had something, so we decided to do a full-length feature.
Was it shot on location?
We shot in Florida and Los Angeles. We did all the ship scenes in Florida.
You're known for using cutting-edge digital technology in your films. Did you use any new gadgets for Pirates?
This time around we went with two high-definition cameras instead of one. I really wanted to capture the best possible performance, which two cameras enabled us to do.
When it came to shooting, did you have a favorite performer?
I actually wrote the screenplay with the actors in mind. Evan Stone, Jesse Jane, Tommy Gunn, they all had distinct roles. Evan plays the wild-eyed comic pirate, who balances nicely with Tommy, who plays a mean, savage pirate.
Considering where we are now, with Pirates receiving a premiere at the Egyptian, is adult entertainment mainstream?
Well, I look at Digital Playground as an entertainment company. We create entertainment for adults, and we include subject matter that traditional Hollywood won't touch. But it appeals to a lot of people, from all over the world. For Pirates, the sex isn't secondary -- it's all motivated by the story. The sex scenes aren't separate from the story.
Where is adult entertainment headed? It seems like interactive is one possible frontier. What's next?
I'm interested in exploiting technology through sexuality. As for what's next, I'm excited about mobile, and the new HD players coming out next year. It will open up a lot of new ways for people to enjoy adult-oriented entertainment.
Would you ever consider doing a comedy? A full-fledged, scripted, hardcore comedy?
Pirates is a comedy, and an action-adventure. It's got it all. At the premiere, everyone laughed in all the right places.
September 28, 2005
Joanna Angel: Burning it up
Welcome back to Los Angeles! You were working on the new Eon McKai film, yes?
It was awesome. We're good friends and really respect and inspire each other in different ways. It was a lot of fun.
When did you two become friends?
We met at the AVN awards. Right before AVN, when Art School Sluts came out, I decided that this guy should be my friend. So I just sent him an email and said, "I'm going to be at AVN and we should totally meet up. I read about you and I really like what you do." We met and I felt like we knew each other forever. We're really close, like brother and sister. I even have a key to his house. Sometimes I come over and clean his kitchen! Last time I came to his house we stayed up talking until five in the morning. We have a really nice mutual respect for one another.
Eon suggested that you sign-up with Bad Ass Models?
Yeah. When I was coming to L.A. I decided that I should try to work with some other companies. Eon told me that I should call up Frank [Prather].
Was it also at his suggestion that you connect with VCA?
He recommended a couple people to them and I was the only one that made it. It wasn't just because Eon put in a word for me. I had to do the work on my own!
You're all of five feet tall. You seem taller on the site.
I know. That's because I wear big shoes. But yeah, I'm just barely five feet tall.
Your "personal profile" also lists some of the music you like and, since music plays such a large role on your site, it makes perfect sense. I will state plainly, right here, that Blonde Redhead is one of the greatest bands ever.
It's good to talk with someone that agrees with me! It's nice to get interviewed by someone who knows about music.
How did you settle on Brooklyn, specifically Williamsburg, as a home for your site?
It actually started in New Jersey when I was in college at Rutgers. Me and my friend Mitch started it during my senior year of school. I grew up in New Jersey and lived there my whole life. I knew that I wanted to move to New York because that's what everybody does when you live in New Jersey. We just decided on Williamsburg because it's kind of a fun, young, cool place to live. It's important to live somewhere like that when you're running the business we're running.
You decided that the website would be great way to intersect the things that you like, such as music and...
...and sex and tattoos. It's really a reflection of me.
How did you arrive at the decision to produce your first DVD? Was that always something that you wanted to do?
No, it wasn't. When the web site first started, we got all this attention and people were like, "What is Burning Angel? Is it punk, is it alternative, is it this, is it that?" - trying to figure out what to call it, how to categorize it, which is kind of annoying. It was hard because doing something positive and empowering for women is difficult in the porn industry.
I kind of got lost in doing what other people wanted Burning Angel to be. I didn't even really know what I wanted to do. I started to make Burning Angel into this artsy photo site.
When I went to AVN, just to see what everything was all about, I had this porn site and yet knew nothing about porn at all. At AVN, I was like, "It's not about how much filth is in your content." You can make a really dirty porno with all of those things that are in regular porno, like ATMs and DPs and facials and whatever, but you can do it in a way that's fun. Just because it's dirty doesn't mean it's bad! You can still make something artistic and funny, make it fit your personality and while making it dirty at the same time. That's when I decided that we should make DVDs, to make a transition from a "softcore" to a "hardcore" site.
How did you decide which of the girls on the site you were going to feature on the DVD, like Nancy Jade and Jezebelle Bond. Was it difficult for the ladies to commit to the film?
No. That's what we do!
It's an extension of the web site.
Yeah, it is. You know, it was a little difficult. It was the first time I had to look for guys, and finding male performers was hard.
And Tommy Pistol was up to the challenge?
[laughs] Yeah, he was!
Have you talked to many of the bands that you interviewed since the disc was released? My Chemical Romance and bands like that. Have they seen it and commented to you?
Yeah, they all love it. I've been in the music scene for so long. I have a really good, mutual respect for all my friends in bands. Because of that, people were really helpful when I wanted to make this DVD.
Do you plan on making another one of the same sort?
We've got another movie, Joanna's Angels, coming out on VCA now and that was pretty cool because I actually had a budget to work with. I shot that in and around New York. Different places in Manhattan and around there. I want to make a Burning Angel 2. I had an idea. Should I say it, should I say what I'm going to do in part two?
No. Yeah, you can say it. Go ahead and say it.
I want to interview all the bands naked. I think that would be cool. A lot of people who'd never heard of the bands would skip over the interviews. I'm trying to think of ways to make the interviews better if you really don't care about them.
The script for Joanna's Angels is your own creation?
Yeah, I wrote it.
Were you already considering making this idea into a film before VCA got involved?
Ideas always come to me at weird times. I was driving around one day and it just came to me. I was like, "We should make a superhero movie called Joanna's Angels." When I originally thought of the idea, I wanted to make an all girl/girl one, since there's 100 girls on the site and not all of them will do boy/girl. When VCA said they would fund a movie, I really wanted to use the Joanna's Angels idea, but just turned it around to make it a feature. It just started as an idea because I liked the title. I think of Charlie's Angels as a movie that was meant to be a porno. Nobody really watched it for any other reason than to see the girls. It's totally marketed as this kitschy "girl power" type thing. I think that's appropriate for the nature of Burning Angel.
VCA allowed you to cast whomever you wanted? I see that you're still working with Kylee Kross and Sabrina Sparx...
Yeah, it was all me. There are certain things they'll try and change, here and there. They'll add to the box cover or take things away. And there were definitely guidelines I have to follow. But they accepted my idea and really didn't try and creatively control the project. It was more like "quality control." At Burning Angel, we let a lot of things fly. You know, being an amateur company, talking in the background, little screw-ups here and there.
It was born from Tommy Pistol. We were just sitting around in September of last year. He was like, "Hey, you know what would be really cool? If we made some zombie-horror-porno movie for Halloween." I was like, "That's actually a good idea. We should do it." So I called my friend Doug [Sakmann] because Doug makes horror movies. He made this movie called Punk Rock Holocaust. It's this really funny movie about the Warped Tour. I was like, "Hey! Would you help me make a horror movie porno thing?" I didn't know how to even begin. Then we just kind of brainstormed. He said, "Oh, we should make it like a spoof," and then emailed [his idea] to me. I thought, "Whoa, this is awesome!" Then we just did it. It came to fruition in all of twenty-five minutes.
With this film, you've actually crossed the American taboo of mixing violence and sex. Has anyone given you any flack over it?
Yeah, we've gotten a lot of flack for it. We had to take it off of the Internet. Everybody hates Re-Penetrator. It's discrimination against zombies! We were asked by our billing company to take it off of Burning Angel. So we had to put it on www.repenetrator.com, which is hosted by this European online company. Apparently, the Europeans like zombies better than the Americans do!
Well, they don't have the same laws.
Yeah. So people started coming to me every day asking, "When's Re-Penetrator coming to DVD?" I intended for that to happen but didn't think I could put just that one scene on a disc. Usually a DVD is two-hours long. I thought maybe we'll make other horror spoofs and put them altogether whenever it's done. People wanted it so badly that I was like, "Alright, we'll just put this one scene on DVD." I felt like I was cheating people, but everybody loved it so much that they wanted to own it. We did put different cuts of the film on there. We had a little shorter "screener" cut, so we could show it at parties and stuff, and also a longer one. We put both versions on the disc and then we did a "director's commentary" over them.
When you screened it last Halloween, how did the audience react?
Nobody feels lukewarm about Re-Penetrator. Half the people walked out and the other half screamed to play it again.
Independently, you and Eon and a handful of others are seemingly changing the direction of the business. It's very reassuring since the industry has been stagnant for some time. It's good to see a return of "normal people" to adult films. "Normal" in the sense that they're not surgically enhanced. Unless you consider tattoos as "enhanced."
Well, thank you.
When do you find time to do all this stuff?
I don't know how I find time to do anything!
You decided to appear in Eon's new film, Neu Wave Hookers, which is also a forthcoming VCA release. Were you familiar with the original series? Have you seen any of them?
No! Eon always makes fun of me because he knows all this stuff about old school porn and I don't really know anything. I watched my first porno a year ago!
In a sense, perhaps you're better off...
So I had heard of it. Eon showed it to me. I didn't really know much about it.
He's trying to do something very different with the series, I wager. Now that you're branching out into different films, it seems to be part of a larger career path. A path that extends beyond Burning Angel.
I guess so. I don't really think about the future that much. I just kind of let things happen. There are some directors that I really do respect and I like working with them. I only work with people I can gain something from [experience-wise]. Eon's one of those people. I did a movie for Jules Jordan but only one scene. I don't know when it's coming out. I did one for Adam & Eve that Tristan Taormino directed. She's my favorite person in the world! I look forward to working with some other people. [Joanna also appears in Irvin Bomb's Naughty Art: Art School Models
You keep a relatively regular diary on the site. Would you ever want to publish a book?
There happens to be a book coming out next month, called Naked Ambition. It's a book about sex, with a lot of different women, including myself, contributing chapters. That's exciting for me because it's always been a dream to have something published. Having one chapter is a step in the right direction.
Burning Angel is slowly becoming a media empire. Perhaps you'll soon have your own television show at this rate! Not unlike Suicide Girls, you've also taken the Angels on the road. You perform in the live shows as well, right?
I do. I do like performances. I do it all!
September 7, 2005
Candida Royalle: Royally Candid
Candida Royalle is a hyphenate if there ever was one: a writer-director- producer-one-time-actress, and now you can add author to that growing list. One thing she is not is a stereotypical porno personality. Extremely intelligent and affable in conversation, she took some time out from her busy schedule to talk to BlueCine about her life in the adult industry and how she separated herself from the rest of the pack, taking a different path while paving one for other women in the industry.
BlueCine: What was the first porn movie you ever saw? How old were you?
I think I was about 22 and was out with a boyfriend who had a friend working at an X-rated theater. The friend let us come in and watch the movie that happened to be playing. I remember it had a couple of hippies rolling around having sex in a field or something. This was the 70s, so that was a typical thing for an adult film. I was sort of unfazed and not very interested.
So it wasn't particularly memorable in other words.
[laughs] No. To tell you the truth I was never a huge consumer of adult movies. I'd never even seen a whole one when an agent asked me to be in one. And, while there are certainly some movies worthy of watching, I find the majority of Adult movies are formulaic and boring. That's why I set out to do what I do -- I thought, oh come on, let's do something different already.
What did you want to do that you weren't seeing in these films?
Primarily, the sex was all cookie-cutter, predictable. There was nothing really different or exciting about it. Every so often they would try to do a different story -- but then as soon as it came time for the sex itself, you could almost predict exactly what you were going to see: A certain amount of sex scenes, a certain kind of sex scene, the same kind of sex acts and camera angles. And they all had to end in the almighty "money shot." This is what distributors demanded of people, so it all had to look that way. But I think they really underestimate the audience, and have restricted people's creativity because of that.
Yeah, one of my pet peeves with a lot of adult films is the number of extreme close-ups, which I just don't find erotic at all. Are there any particular angles that are better or more erotic than others?
The point is that there isn't any one angle, it's just what works at the moment. And you're right about all the close-ups, it's like they create this stable of angles that they use, like the "behind the guy's balls shot" and that sort of thing. Back when I was acting in the movies, we had this phrase, "cheat to the camera." So the woman would be going down on the guy and would have to be doing it in this totally unnatural way, because the camera would have to see it. There'd be these monster close-ups, and everything was done so mechanically, not real. Once you start thinking "Oh, this is the way I have to shoot something or this is the angle I have to use" it becomes mechanical, and loses its spontaneity and fluidity. Whereas, when we started Femme Productions, what we did was let the camera people move around and be very fluid with the camera, with no particular angles. And whatever looked the best to us when editing, we would keep.
So there's an improvisational style to some of the filmmaking.
Oh absolutely. It was almost like cinema verite the way we shot it. And you can do that with video; it's a lot harder with film, because it's so much more expensive and you have to plan your shots more, but even with film you can do a lovely moving shot along people's bodies. And I don't care about seeing monster close-ups. I'd rather see the entire body, the whole couple when they're making love. If my cameraperson happens to get a close-up that looks good then we'll put it in. But we don't ask for it.
It's funny, when we were shooting our very first movie, which was called Femme, all of a sudden I saw the assistant director working with the camera guy and the lighting guy, and they're setting up a close-up. They had these little tiny lights they called "inkies," which they shine right on the genitals. So I walked over to them and said, "No, no, no, you don't do that in a Femme movie." But this is what they usually do, shine a blaring light up into the genitals, getting the camera right up there as if it's a gynecological exam. And then they shoot it. To me, that's unnatural.
Was there something that women weren't getting in adult films that you specifically set out to change?
What women weren't getting was a movie that spoke to them and their sexuality, they weren't getting something they could relate to. To appeal to all the male buyers the industry's whole foundation was the women in the movies, and yet women's sexuality was completely ignored.
How did you get distributors to take you seriously as a producer? Because I know when you started there weren't other women doing this.
Exactly. It wasn't easy. I went to the three major distributors, and the only one that offered to take the line and distribute it was VCA. They really didn't have to put up much money, I financed the whole thing myself; all they had to do was finance distribution costs. And they didn't do any real marketing of it. But amazingly, the first one, even without people knowing what it was, did really well. After that, they started really promoting my first three films, Femme, Urban Heat and Christine's Secret. And then when we set out to do Three Daughters, we realized we wanted to go bigger with this one. This was back in '86, and we spent $75,000. I mean people don't spend 75K now. We knew we wanted to make waves with that film. So that's when we decided to take over distribution for ourselves. We managed to get VCA to release the first three back to us and started Femme Distribution. We distributed everything ourselves for about eight years. Internationally, it put us on the map. And then in 1995, I was burnt out from trying to distribute, produce and direct these movies, so that's when I made a new deal with Adam & Eve. And they financed seven new movies for me.Do you think you paved the way for more women to produce adult films now, or is the industry still run and dominated by men?
I think a lot more women are doing it now. I do feel proudly like a pioneer, that I inspired and set an example for other women to do this as well. Women are really a much bigger force in this industry now.
Do your films appeal to gay women, too?
I think my films appeal to people across the board. Although gay women certainly prefer something that is done specifically for them -- and I'm actually considering a line like that -- they do like our films because they are more egalitarian, and have more realistic-looking women. I think even gay men have liked them because of the good-looking men we have in there. And straight men, too -- a lot of people assumed that straight men wouldn't like my work as much but I have a huge straight male following. I get a lot of mail from men over the years thanking me, saying that everyone assumes men want typical porn but they really prefer ours. I always say the husbands of the world are grateful to me because they have something they can finally bring home to their wives that the women, too, can enjoy.
And you often use women who are "older" by porn industry standards, too, who are still very attractive, so it's probably nice for them to see that.
Definitely. I feel like women just get sexier with age. Men, too. If we take care of ourselves, we just get better.
I agree. I think I'm getting sexier with age. [coughs]
[laughs] I know I am! I think it's that we get more comfortable with our sexuality as we get older. I am just better. A better lover, take better care of myself. I'm more womanly.
And are there really an additional 136 minutes on the Stud Hunters DVD?
Yeah -- we have a making-of documentary that I think is better than the usual adult "behind the scenes" doc because it's really well done. I actually paid a filmmaker to come in and do it for me. And then there's a huge photo show, as well as commentary.
Stud Hunters is one of those films-within-a-film stories that happens to be an adult film, a satire of the industry.
It's not even so much a satire of the industry so much as a spoof about a woman director. It turns the tables -- instead of women being the ones auditioning and desperately vying in front of men, it's the other way around. In fact, I have to share with you an e-mail I got just the other day from a guy who really liked Stud Hunters. He said, "I just viewed Stud Hunters, great movie. And without realizing it, you've touched on the realm of the CFNM (Clothed Female, Nude Male) fetish." Apparently this is gaining in popularity and there are not a lot of videos that cater to it. So there's a whole fetish out there where men display themselves in front of women. Funny that we just accidentally turned on to that.
Is it true you sing the film's theme song?
Yes, it's true. You know, I've sung professionally in the past, and I insinuate myself wherever I can. Lately, I've been really into world music, and South Asian music in particular.
Yes! That makes me so happy. The very last scene in Stud Hunters, where the director seduces all the guys, has a really heavy South Asian music influence. It's good lovemaking music. So we have that, and we have my theme song.
And do you write most of the scripts for your films?
I do write them, and sometimes my producer works with me on the stories. When I have guest directors I let them write their own scripts. Like for the Star Directors series that I worked on some years ago -- Taste of Ambrosia, Sensual Escape and Rites of Passion -- I had Annie Sprinkle, Veronica Hart, Veronica Vera and Glorida Leonard direct for me. That was a fun series.
On average, how long does it take to shoot an adult movie?
The shooting itself takes me about a week, but my pre-production and post-production take longer than most people's. The editing is the longest process because I do it myself. That frustrates my distributors to no end -- with Stud Hunters, I took a year to edit. But, see, I approach these like real movies; I only do an average of one every couple of years. I approach the films like a real, full-blown project, instead of just churning them out. And people in the adult industry just aren't used to that.
Because there's often a factory mentality there.
Yeah, it's like assembly line porn. Which is no fun for me.
Do the actors ever have to perform more than one sex scene a day?
Never a sex scene. Although one time, Mark Davis did two sex scenes in one day for One Size Fits All, but he didn't come in the first one. I don't require that of my actors, but it was really funny -- after the first time he worked for me, we were shooting and he just kept going. I said, "Cut! Okay we have enough." Then he just looked at me like, Are you kidding? I said, "Well go relieve yourself in the bathroom." He came running after me and said, "Yeah, well, then you're going with me!" [laughs]
So you have a pretty fun set when you're shooting?
Yes, we do. In fact, that's why I like to do photos, because they really show people what good humor there is on our sets. So if there are any questions about what really goes on, i.e., are people exploited and abused and so on, well, they can see, at least on my sets, that we have a good time. We have wonderful crews and there's a really nice mood on the set.
We asked Nina Hartley this but want to ask you, too -- what did you think of Boogie Nights?
Well, of course, it depicted the industry as of quite a while ago -- although I was around back then, too. But that movie kind of bugged me, because he presented it as, "Oh, this is really the way it was and I have great reverence for the industry." But meanwhile, he felt the need to show the main guy as a pedophile, which I've never known anyone in the mainstream porn industry to be. No one ever approaches underage men to be in the movies. It was just unrealistic. And I thought the depiction of drug use was quite exaggerated. But on the other hand, it was realistic in the sense that there was a lot of camaraderie; it was like a big family in a lot of ways, and there was a lot of partying sometimes -- in that sense, it was true.
Now I notice you have a place on your Web site for people needing advice. What are some of the most typical questions people ask you?
Usually along the lines of, "I've been with my boyfriend for three years and he hasn't been turned on to me for the last year, what should I do," or, "I've been with my wife for five years and now she doesn't want to have sex with me, what can I do?" Those are the most common ones, and also the toughest. I can't answer those in a simple e-mail. These people have issues that have to be dealt with, possibly in counseling.
I get some very touching and some very sad letters. And then, of course, I get men writing to ask for a recommendation on the perfect movie to watch with their wife -- who doesn't want to see too many close-ups, or women with women, or whatever. So I have to go through what each movie has that they might like.
For a couple who may have never seen an adult film before but is interested in checking some out together, which films from your own collection would you start them off with?
The thing about my movies is that there's a real variety of both explicit and soft. So, for instance, Bridal Shower is good for "newbies" because it starts off very soft; the first scene is completely non-explicit. And then it works its way up in intensity. And it has great information for women, great advice in a fun format. I used the backdrop of a bridal shower party, with women sitting around talking about how they got their men to be the lovers they want. It's very fun and upbeat but I sneak some messages in there, a way to share information on things that I've learned using a sexy, fun story format. The only thing people need to know is that there is a scene involving two women and a man, although my scenes like that definitely cater more to the female fantasy.
The Gift is a very romantic piece, a sweet love story. And Christine's Secret, even though it's one of my older titles; it won a lot of awards and is also a nice romance. These are all great starter movies. Three Daughters was our absolute best seller for a long time because it's a full-blown story. That, too, has a scene between two women. But as with all my scenes between women, there's a reason for it being there. They're not just gratuitous, and are between women who genuinely like women.
I'm intrigued by the title of your new book, How To Tell a Naked Man What to Do. What are some of the most important things to tell a naked man? Besides "you'll poke my eye out with that thing"?
The book plays off the fact that I'm an erotic film director and uses the process of directing an erotic movie as a blueprint for directing your own sex life. It breaks down the whole process. The "research phase," which in the book I compare to your own fantasies and how you'd want that to play out; the "pre-production" phase, in which I talk about lighting to flatter the both of you, picking out the right kind of lingerie to flatter your body, certain kinds of music, and all this, also touches on some important issues for women, like confronting any shame you might have about particular fantasies, any guilt you might have. How to convey needs; asking for what they want can be very difficult for women. And then, in one of my favorite parts, "post-production," I liken it to talking about what you did the next day. So if you had a particularly hot night the night before, I tell people how much fun it is to communicate afterwards about what you liked and didn't like.
Most people don't think much about the "day after."
Yeah, it's true. And I disclose a lot of stuff about myself and coming to terms with my own sexuality and how I got my needs met. Something that I discovered with a man I consider one of my most passionate, fulfilling lovers was how we loved to recount it the next day -- what worked well and what didn't work for one of us.
Do you perceive certain differences in sexuality here in the States versus other countries?
There are definitely subtle and not-so-subtle differences. I've actually been with a lot of Europeans -- my husband was Swedish; we were together almost ten years. And I dated a Dutch man for two years. The Dutch are much more open sexually and not hung up, but on the other hand, northern Europeans -- okay, now here we're moving into the area of gross generalization [laughs] -- but I think they can be a little less sensual, a little less passionate. On the other hand, they are so much more accepting of sexuality in Europe than we are here. It's laughable the hang-ups that we still have in America. Maybe only England comes closest, as they still share some of our Puritan hang-ups, but even there, they've learned to cope with it in a more creative, kinky fashion.
Of the films you acted in, what's your favorite?
I would say the last three I ever did were all my favorites: Fascination, by Chuck Vincent, with a very young Ron Jeremy, one of his first movies. Vincent did very story-driven movies. I played Ron's sister. It's a very fun movie. And then Blue Magic, which I wrote, and my husband at the time produced it. A beautiful turn of the century period piece. I don't think it's even on DVD. We unfortunately lost control of it due to some terrible contractual problems, and now I think some sleazy guy has the rights. It's a shame, because it was a foreshadowing of things I'd do later, and it was the first film I wrote. And the other favorites are some real early classics I did with John Holmes -- Hard Soap and Pizza Girls in the late 1970s. For Pizza Girls, we had to learn how to ride skateboards, so we could deliver pizzas that way in the movie.
I think from just the title I can guess what that one's about.
[laughs] Yeah, and the tagline was "Hot and saucy pizza girls... we deliver!"