When you and the rest of your funky bunch first burst into my consciousness in 1991, I was instantly charmed by your pretty/bad boy ways… and I felt a few “good vibrations” of my own as a result. Nothing could sully my image of your abs and those little Calvin Klein panties, not even the melodic walk on the wild side you took soon after.
Fear (1996) and Boogie Nights (1997) were integral in my late adolescent/college-aged development in ways that are both painfully obvious and extremely subtle today. I cried during your little monologue at the end of The Perfect Storm (2000), while fantasizing myself as Diane Lane of course; and I never quite got inter-species love until I saw you and Helena Bonham Carter in Plant of the Apes (2001).
I cheered (read: screamed and squealed) in a movie theatre during Rock Star (2001), but not because of Zakk Wylde and his shredding and his hair and his shot gun as The Junior Mint was led to believe, oh no – it was because of you, Marky.
It was because of you.
So when I heard recently that you, producer you, were developing an HBO series about the adult entertainment industry… well, let’s just say that I had to excuse myself.
This – an hour-long drama slated to focus on a fictitious production company struggling with internet competition and a young woman from middle America convinced by her wannabe suitcase pimp boyfriend to give a career as talent a go – from the man who had had to at least be involved in the decision to cast a real live porn star in a recurring role on a major mainstream production. It’s almost too much.
(by the way, I’m talking about Sasha Grey and “Entourage” here in case you’re confused)
Because of our history, I can almost believe it when I hear that your “sprawling epic” will attempt to tell stories that no one has ever told before, stories that actual members of the industry will have a part in telling and playing. Almost.
Here’re a couple of things…
First: James Frey? Really? You’re going to involve that epic embellisher in this project? I must express my concern over this decision!! Although some may find this jackal to be a compelling writer (I myself do not), he 1) is a total liar and 2) has a reputation for being a total liar. Why start your nobly-intended project off on such a bad foot? Do you think Oprah is going to watch the pilot of your written-by-James-Frey show and think “Oh yeah, I believe this… and I totally have a new, more critical, and further nuanced opinion of adult production and the struggles people working therein must face on daily basis as a result!” I’m gonna go with probably not. And mark my words – if you’re looking to tell the truth about anything in this world, you want Oprah agreeing with you #justsayin’…
Second, how are you going to develop this project? How are you going to capture the structure of the business, the stigma and judgment all industry insiders face from a public that rabidly hates and simultaneously consumes them (on all levels), and the controversy people with no connection to or understanding of the business stir up?!! (it’s getting me all riled up just thinking about it)
Who is going to help you answer these questions?
As the scholarly expert on this industry, I am well versed in the poor and often outlandish existing work that mischaracterizes the business. I am also painfully aware of the mainstream’s tendency to speak with the same one or two folks about the industry, insiders or otherwise. Insight from one or two, or even five or ten, people cannot fully characterize any business. Consequently, it’s going to take a heck of a lot of work on your part to really accomplish the goal of accuracy you’ve set for yourself.
And then if – and by “if” I mean “when,” because I believe in you Mark – you talk to enough of all the right people… well, are you sure that the story you get is going to fly? Because folks outside the business often have very uniformed ideas about the adult production industry… ideas that, for whatever reason, they are rather invested in. When you attempt to tell the world how porn actually is, which is nothing like what most people believe, do you think they’ll be willing to listen?
Oh god, it makes me so nervous!!
So please don’t let me down, Marky Mark. I know you’re not perfect – I forgave you for I Heart Hukabees (2004), which I admittedly didn’t understand; and I forcibly dragged another human being to the movie theatre to see you in The Lovely Bones (2009), thereby supporting one of the most overrated authors ever (ever!) – but I know you have it in you to do a perfect job on this new project.
But, you know, if you decide you need any rigorously researched scholarship about the historical and legal development of the industry or you want some insight on the inner-workings of adult from the only scholar specializing in the production side of the business, drop me a line. I think I might be able to pencil in a consultation… for a small fee (*wink, wink*).
I recently re-watched Fear (1996) for the 8 millionth time… it’s still just as amazing.
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Pictured above and throughout: Mark Wahlberg courtesy of the interwebs.
You may quote anything herein with the following attribution: “Reprinted from Porn Valley Vantage/PVVOnline, copyright © Chauntelle Anne Tibbals, PhD (www.PVVOnline.com).”