March 23, 2005

On the Set Report: M. Lucas' Dangerous Liaisons


Michael Lucas thinks big, and his latest production is no exception. An epic gay-porn remake of the 17th-century novel by French author Choderlos de Laclos, Michael Lucas’ Dangerous Liaisons promises to be his highest-profile film yet. “This has five-star hot sex!” Lucas exclaims. “It has a beautiful cast, incredible editing, expensive locations, five cameras, three makeup artists, two stylists, two set stylists, three drivers, eight assistants, even a lawyer! It cost $250,000 to make, and it’s a huge deal!” Modesty has never been his strong point, but when Lucas talks about his latest movie he starts to sound like the Donald Trump of gay porn. Yes, the Russian porn star/auteur has always been a tireless self-promoter, but in this case, bigger is certainly better—and not only when it comes to dick size.

On a chilly Saturday in February, Lucas arrives on the set of a photographer’s studio in the East Village. He and co-stars Gus Mattox and new Lucas exclusive Bruce Beckham have been out all morning shooting a scene on the streets of New York. Director of photography Tony DeMarco, who also wrote the script for Liaisons, explains that the battery on their camera went dead during the shoot, so a production assistant had to rush over with a new one. Then as soon as they were ready to shoot, a fire truck arrived across the street, causing another delay. But the short scene was eventually completed, and now they are ready to get down to some sex.

“This is my first New York movie,” says Mattox with excitement. “And my first with Michael Lucas. I liked the script, and they needed someone who could do dialogue and sex. So it seemed like a perfect match!” Beckham, who is originally from Ohio but now goes to culinary school in Los Angeles, met Lucas when he lived in New York. He has done a couple of movies under a different name for Blue Blake but considers this a new start. “I really like Michael and look forward to coming to New York to work for him a lot,” he says, blue eyes sparkling.

Mattox changes into striped boxers and Beckham to blue briefs, and they sit on a red velvet divan as Lucas preps them for the scene. Porn star Raymond Dragon, who is working camera on the film, sets up lights as a still photographer snaps pictures. Lucas meticulously runs through the choreography he wants for the sex. Mattox absentmindedly plays with Beckham’s hair as Lucas talks about the kissing, licking, sucking, fucking, armpit sniffing and footplay that will ensue. When he hears about the pit sniffing, Mattox politely asks for some baby wipes and demurely swabs away. Lucas attempts to demonstrate a position he’d like for the fucking, but when he leans into the couch, it promptly tips over. They decide on a new position. Lucas also choreographs the camera work, which will be shot by both DeMarco and Dragon. Ever a stickler for detail, Lucas directs the PAs to wipe the bottoms of the models’ feet. Always thinking ahead, he tells them to be ready with condoms, lube, water and towels.

When Lucas finally calls for action, the models begin making out. Dragon shoots the action from a loft area above the couch and DeMarco is on the floor. Lucas crouches on the sidelines, watching intently as they move on to oral. Before long, Beckham has both legs in the air and Mattox is eating his ass. They gracefully move into one of the positions Lucas demonstrated for the 69 sequence. The cameras zoom in for close-ups as the models sniff, lick and shrimp. “So beautiful,” Mattox murmurs more than once. Lucas calls for the c-light as the fucking begins. “Spread those cheeks,” he tells Beckham. As Dragon drops down to get a low-angle shot, Lucas lands next to him, trying to see what the camera is capturing. He holds onto Mattox’s ankle, holding him in place as he rams Beckham. After several minutes, Lucas calls for a break. Mattox good-naturedly does tricks with his dick, noting that they would make great DVD extras. The makeup artist touches up the models, and then it’s back to work.

Beckham fingers his hole in close-up, then Mattox moves in to fuck. Lucas calls for “more noise” from the models and has very specific instructions for the pop shots. Beckham shoots then takes some of his cum and puts it on Mattox’s lips and kisses him. Mattox jacks to completion on Beckham’s dick then sucks it off. “I only shoot safe sex with condoms,” Lucas says later, “but that doesn’t mean we can’t be creative and push things a bit.” There is one final kiss, then Mattox smirks in character for the camera. Less than 90 minutes have gone by and the scene is done.

It’s relatively small compared with what Lucas will attempt the following weekend. As numerous models, extras and cameramen wait for some local “celebrities” in a large New York club, the director barks orders at his staff. On a Sunday afternoon, Lucas and crew have gathered at Quo in Chelsea to shoot the finale to Dangerous Liaisons. The club is set up to look like an art gallery, with big photo blowups that have video monitors inserted in them. The extras—curious porn fans who have answered ads placed in local gay rags—mill around and wait for the glitterati to film their red-carpet arrivals. “This movie is all about fashion, beauty and intrigue,” Lucas says. “It is about designers, models and photographers—and hot sex, of course!”

Dragon is still shooting. “It’s been a long week,” he says with a smile, relieved that today is the final day of filming, which will be followed by a wrap party. First to arrive is local trannie club fixture Amanda Lepore. She is wearing very little clothing—basically a jeweled bikini with a pink fur and heels. As she intently reads over a release form, two video cameras and a photographer record every nuance on her sculpted face. Reality porn takes a new turn! In the back, Lucas preps on an all-white set to interview the nightlife vixen. Next, drag star and DJ Lady Bunny makes the scene, shrieking, “Where are the drugs?” She banters with Lepore and says she is happy to be making her porn debut. Entertainer RuPaul walks in, wearing a fur coat, cowboy hat and boots. She asks whether Boy George has arrived yet. Lucas tells her that the former Culture Club singer has already come and gone. He got the call time mixed up, but they shot a brief cameo that will be used in the film. Village Voice columnist Michael Musto slips in and hovers in the corner scribbling notes while Bunny entertains the extras. “Okay, I want your cocks out and hard, right now!” she demands. They laugh and seem excited to be included in the fun.

Today there will be two setups: One is a party scene, and the other will feature the stars are they pull up in a limo and arrive on a red carpet. The extras will play rabid porn fans who will cheer and take pictures. Lady Bunny goes first, jumping out of the limo, cavorting on the red carpet and running into the club. Then Musto gets in the limo to make his entrance. When asked who he is wearing, Musto answers, “Kmart!” Lepore is next, posing like a veteran and trying not to shiver in her skimpy outfit. Finally, RuPaul walks the walk, followed by Lucas himself, then the crew and extras gratefully move inside.

After a break, Lucas welcomes everyone and introduces his cast, which includes porn stars Wilfried Knight, Owen Hawk and Kent Larson. He tells the crowd they look beautiful and explains what the cocktail party will entail. It is the finale of the movie and features a confrontation between Lucas and Gus Mattox, who has been chatting with RuPaul about her new doll (out later this year!). Mattox introduces his lovely female companion Blair Ross, who will be playing his assistant. “Blair and I appeared together in 42nd Street,” Mattox explains. “When she heard that I kept talking to an assistant in the film on my cell phone, she said she wanted to play her. So here she is!”

For the party scene, the extras are handed glasses and told to mingle. Lucas confronts Mattox, and before they know it, the scene and the movie are wrapped. Lucas is clearly thrilled with the results. “I work with such a great team of people,” he says. “I think my talent as a producer is that I surround myself with great people. And I enjoy giving these people challenging projects. Sometimes they want to work on something new and exciting. Something grandiose, like Dangerous Liaisons!”

Donald Trump, take note!

Reprinted from GAYVN magazine (2005)

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