Taylor & Burton, Kidman & Cruise, Lohan & Deen?

The Twitterverse was buzzing this past February because novelist and screenwriter Bret Easton Ellis had been tweeting about meetings he was having with James Deen. The adult performer. The male adult performer. The male adult performer everyone seems to adore. As reported by yours truly in a previous missive, Deen was courted by Ellis to star in a film to be directed by Paul Schrader (American Gigolo and the greatest American film you’ve likely not seen, Blue Collar), the script to which he was then in the midst of writing. Deen was to “act and be full-frontal naked banging girls and guys.” In short, the perfect role for him.

Now, four months later, another tweet from Ellis suggests that professional tabloid punching-bag Lindsay Lohan will be starring opposite Dean in the film now titled The Canyons. It stands to reason she might therefore be engaging in some rather risque activities with our big dicked guy next door.

When previously been attached to take the title role in Lovelace, Lohan’s legal troubles led the producers to instead hire everyone’s favorite busty, lily-white nymph, Amanda Seyfried. As director Schrader was quick to point out (typos and all) on the film’s official Facebook Page. nothing is yet a done deal. “Despite what may be reported elsewhere, casting on The Canyons is not quite finalized… Many wonderful young actors submitted auditions and I like to bring some of them to wider attention. Or at least the wider attention that this website provides. Paul S.” (Did he just piss on Facebook? Awesome.)

So, disregarding Schrader’s reminder, we can assume Deen is in, Lohan is in, and we’re gonna watch this most likely incredible movie on its day of release for sure, right? Right. Until then, those questioning whether Schrader can handle something as rampantly sexual as a movie written by the undisputed master of stories about promiscuous, disaffected, drug-gulping twenty-something Americans, starring the world’s most charming male pornstar, and a real-life Hollywood trainwreck, watch this clip of Karvey Keitel and Richard Pryor’s dildo fight in Blue Collar and let your doubts subside. We’re in safe hands here.

Suze in the Afternoon

It’s not often that the worlds of pornography and intelligent, arthouse cinematic fare cross paths, but one particular French film of the ’70s played a small but crucial role in the development of one of porn’s most enduring talents.

Suze Randall

The blonde woman in the above image from Eric Rohmer’s 1972 masterpiece Love in the Afternoon is none other than famed pornographer Suze Randall. Born in Worcestershire, England in 1946, Randall started her professional life as a nurse but soon turned to fashion modeling and taking erotic photos of her model friends in her spare time. In 1972 Randall landed a role in the newest film from Rohmer, a French critic, novelist, and filmmaker who had found international recognition three years earlier with his Academy Award nominated film, My Night at Maude’s. In the film, Randall plays the au pair of bourgeois couple in the midst of a crisis of fidelity – for the husband Frederic at least. Randall’s character, of course, makes things even more difficult for Frederic by waltzing around sans clothing as she prepares for a day caring for his family.

So, yes, for those with a question they’ve been dying to ask, Suze Randall does appear nude in Love in the Afternoon. And, no, I’m not going to show you. For that (and a profound meditation on fidelity, morality, and manipulation) you’re just going to have to buy, rent, or steal a copy of Love in the Afternoon and see it for yourself. (Well, either that or… Mr. Skin?)

As more and more adult entertainment companies strive to reach viewers in a more “cinematic” way, it’s good to remember that there are trailblazing cross-over successes like Suze Randall still churning out great work. Suze Randall’s work can, of course, be seen at her website, Suze.net.

James Deen as James Dean

James Deen, James Dean, James FrancoWhen James Dean took the starring role in the now iconic 1995 film Rebel Without a Cause, nobody had any idea that he wouldn’t live to see the films premiere, dying in a car accident one month before its October 27 release date. The public would embrace his character, Jim Stark, as emblematic of the fifties’ trouble youth culture stripped of its innocence in the years after World War II. Dean would go on to solidify his status as an immortal heartthrob, even amidst rumors of his bisexuality and affairs with both costar Natalie Wood and director Nicholas Ray (who also allegedly had a tryst with Wood). Now, thanks to renaissance man James Franco, the behind-the-scenes romps that rocked the Rebel set are being presented in very, very explicit detail.

No, a ’55 Natalie Wood and James Dean-starring sex tape hasn’t surfaced; Franco has just turned to his friends in the porn industry to recreate an imagined encounter between the two Hollywood legends. Presumably cast not just for his name, but also for his sensitive heartthrob status in the adult industry, James Deen finally had a chance to play his namesake in a hardcore flick. Heather Vahn, a vastly underrated performer, plays Natalie Wood and the two get it on in thoroughly hardcore fashion, bringing the backstage tryst to life.

What’s the point? Is this another Axel Braun-directed porn parody? Nope, it’s another of Franco’s art exhibitions, though this time he is ably assisted by Douglas Gordon, Harmony Korine, Paul McCarthy, Terry Richardson, Ed Ruscha, and Aaron Young, who all contribute artistic odes to the era-defining American film.

Those interested can head on over to LA’s MOCA and see the works in person. The exhibition, simply titled ‘Rebel’, runs until June 23rd and will be followed by a book release of the same title.

Possible Porno Auteurs

For all Hollywood’s financial, technological, and artistic success, no mainstream (or even indie) filmmaker has used any part of the Hollywood system to produce and distribute an explicit pornographic movie. Sure, a few directors have included unsimulated sex in their films specifically to arouse their audiences sexually, as opposed to intellectually or emotionally (see Vincent Gallo’s The Brown Bunny or Larry Clark’s Ken Park), but where is that genre-breaking, convention-destroying hardcore sex movie Hollywood radicals have been promising for decades?

In order to encourage the more adventurous auteurs out there, I decided to come up with a short list of filmmakers I’d love to see tackle a narrative movie with explicit sex aimed at fairly mainstream audiences. Some choices might seem a little out there, but so are some of the directors’ oeuvres.

Steven Soderbergh:

While the Traffic and Oceans 11 director has announced he’ll be retiring after his current projects are finished, it’d be great if he could squeeze a hardcore porn flick out, too. Why? His upcoming Magic Mike stars Channing Tatum as a male stripper

Lars Von Trier:

Ok, so he refuses to visit America and hates the Hollywood system, but since he’s cast some of our greatest contemporary actors, let’s give the Danish enfant terrible a pass. He did, after all, includ a few brief glimpses of actual penetration in 2009’s Antichrist, but the bodies didn’t belong to actors Charlotte Gainsbourg and Willem Dafoe. Next time, Lars, why not go all out and have, say, Alexander Skarsgård present Christina Hendricks with a pearl necklace, porno style?

Steven Spielberg:

Everyone loves Spielberg, right? The guy made E.T. and Schindler’s List, for chrissakes! Doesn’t that prove he’s an unquestionable genius of the cinematic arts? Given his cache and cred, instead of wading in tear-jerking territory with his most recent efforts, why doesn’t Hollywood’s most powerful auteur put his weight behind something truly revolutionary? What’s that? He already has?

Hung like a War Horse

Well, color me impressed.

Vibrating on Another Dimension

Sex & ZenIn August of last year, I blogged about 3D Sex & Zen: Extreme Ecstasy, Hong Kong’s highest grossing Category III (18-years-and-over) movie ever. At the time, I, like many of you, assumed the Sex & Zen series would likely end there and possibly be rebooted/remade/remastered in 3D. Nope. “Fuck that,” yawned producer of this three-dimensional pornographic phenomenon, Stephen Shiu “we need to find the next dimension!” And find it they did, giving it the rather uninspired name of 4. But just what is the fourth dimension? Well, according to early reports, it involves vibrating cinema seats. No shit?

With no release date in sight and little but a title, 4D Sex & Zen: Slayer of a Thousand from the Mysterious East, to toss to his buddies in the entertainment media, Shiu is nonetheless determined to have every viewer of his 4D opus buzzing along with every orgasmic thrust. While it sounds unlike anything you or I might have heard of before, vibrating cinema seats isn’t exactly a revolutionary idea. The first attempt at buzzing the butts of cinema patrons was made back in the aftermath of WW II to a rather pitiful reception.

So, really, isn’t this just another ploy to keep dollars flowing into cinemas and not the hands of bootleggers. Is there some way those who purchase 4D Sex & Zen on DVD or Blu-Ray will be able to enjoy the vibrations experienced by cinema-goers (without stealing their girlfriend’s rabbit)? I’m no expert and I can’t say for sure, but I’ll be sure to ask my friendly Chinatown DVD merchant the next time I drop by to pick up a Hong Sang-Soo DVD for a paltry $6 USD and wonder why I hardly ever go to the movies anymore