On the Set of a Sci-Fi Porno

By Luke Y. Thompson in DVDs, Miscellaneous, Movies
Friday, March 29, 2013 at 8:00 am


I've done set visits before. But I've never done one quite like this one, shot (unsurprisingly) inside a nondescript building in the Valley, next door to apartment complexes whose residents likely have no idea that they live in gang-bang territory.

Saving Humanity, though, wants to be a very different kind of adult feature. Specifically, the kind released in R-rated form first, to be perceived (they hope) as a sci-fi film first, just one that happens to have a lot of truncated sex scenes that totally make sense in the context of the plot. Then, a month or so later, out comes the X-rated version on DVD to bring a true sense of climax to the scenes you saw in trimmed form.

Producer Kim Nielsen and director Harry Sparks have done this once before, with last year's Revenge of the Petites, a Revenge of the Nerds homage in which younger and more natural-looking ladies took on a more stereotypically big-boobed sorority. You may not have heard of it - odds are that unless you follow the adult industry, you haven't - but as everyone involved with this production will tell you, it got a positive review at CraveOnline, which gave it 7.5 out of 10. That "beat War Horse, which got a 6, and Men in Black 3, which got a 2!" notes Nielsen. While it's not really fair to compare grades like that - any critic can tell you that each movie is assessed based on its own goals - it's a reasonable point of pride.

Not your standard SAG rules

Nielsen, an impeccably dressed Asian man with a soft English accent that gives him a bit of a Bond-villain vibe, worked at General Motors for seven years and then discovered the profitability of Internet porn when he went back to college to get a doctorate in marketing. Nowadays he makes most of his money from subscription sites, but his goal is "to merge and be known for merging mainstream and eroticism in a meaningful way, where the sex is part of the storyline and not just an add-on, or the stories are made up just to string a bunch of sex scenes together...Women aren't necessarily objectified or degraded - that's what sets our stuff apart."

For director Sparks the transition has been away from mainstream, as his frustrations with censorship issues over his non-XXX films All Hallow's Eve and Rotkappchen: The Blood of Red Riding Hood are a thing of the past. "I just found that so restricting," he says. "And then I guess was inspired by (the adult film)Pirates 2, like hey, maybe I can tell a story or feature and use what I learned from mainstream to tell an adult feature." Asked the difference between union actors and adult stars, he says the latter are easier to direct because "they have fewer hang-ups."

The male star of the film is James Deen, recently the subject of mainstream media attention both for acting opposite Lindsay Lohan in Paul Schrader's The Canyons, and for his upcoming, Kickstarter-funded (non-porn) steampunk western Cowboys & Engines, set to star Malcolm McDowell and Walter Koenig. Deen looks more like a mainstream leading man than the muscular, tattooed dudes on so many DVD covers, but he brushes off the notion that he's some kind of special crossover star.


"People project a lot of things on to me," he says. "I'm not ever trying to accomplish some big grandiose goal; I kinda want to do things myself for my own personal self-satisfaction and growth. So I have the whole thing of people telling me, 'Oh yeah, you're expanding the borders,' and stuff like that, but it's not my motivation for doing anything. If things get benefitted, then cool, great, awesome."

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