October 11, 2007

On the Set Report: The Intern


The Lucas Entertainment headquarters are bustling—or more so than usual. The Manhattan-based company is producing its first sex comedy, titled The Intern, and the film is being shot in its Midtown offices. On a rainy Saturday in May, a full crew is set up at the desk of porn superstar and CEO/president Michael Lucas. He is being attended to by a makeup man while the crew prepares for today’s shoot. And it’s a busy day, indeed. Earlier, Ben Andrews, who stars in the title role, filmed a scene in which he is interviewed for a position at a fictional porn company. And later, a sex scene between Lucas exclusive Ray Star and newcomer Christian Cruz will be filmed for the DVD extras. But right now, Lucas is getting his nose powdered while he learns his lines.

In the outer office, Andrews is packing up following the completion of his work. Dressed in shorts and a hoodie, the superhung model cuddles with his new Chihuahua, Pierre, and talks about how he came up with the idea for a movie that would be a combination of Ugly Betty and The Devil Wears Prada. “I thought it would be fun to do a spoof of the porn industry,” says Andrews with a grin. “And as soon as Michael heard it, he said, ‘This film is a winner. I can feel it in my foreskin!’”

The playful star dons the glasses he wears as “Ugly Benny” and shows off a new dildo that was recently cast from his enormous endowment. “Have you seen it?” Andrews asks. He proudly displays the huge art piece and describes how it was made (“I had to stay hard for five minutes in this gel-like stuff. It was tough!”). Andrews also wants fans to know that the dildo is accurate—well, except for the lettering of his name that goes across the top of it. “It’s all me,” he says, “and my mom even wants one!”

But now it’s time for more work, and Andrews and his little dog depart. Back in the main office, Lucas is being rehearsed by writer/director Tony Dimarco. Dressed in jeans and a velvet blazer, Lucas practices slamming down the phone as he argues with someone on the other end. Dimarco feeds him lines from behind the camera, as editor Frank Tyler mans a second camera. There is a lot of dialogue for this scene in which Cruz, as the assistant to porn studio head Lucas, gives Botox injections to his vain boss as he chews out a rival studio chief. The funny, snappy dialogue, written by Dimarco, is hard to nail, so they do it again and again. In the scene, Lucas tells scout Cruz, “We need models with big dicks. Big dicks sell movies!” The man knows what he’s talking about!

After the master shot is complete, the cameras move in for close-ups. In one, Lucas has a Botox needle stuck to his head as he screams into the phone. The crew stifles giggles as their employer pokes fun at his image. Between shots, Lucas explains his motivation. “In this production,” he says, “I cater to every outrageous, ridiculous rumor ever spread about me for the past 12 years. And there have been a lot—from Botox to collagen. Rumors inspired me to make a movie to show how absurd this industry is, how full of jealousy the people are. This is my gift to them.”

Cruz stops to watch a playback of the scene with headphones, so he can match his movements from take to take. To while away the time, Lucas views clips of Marlene Dietrich on YouTube. “Look how glamorous, darling,” he says to no one in particular. After about an hour, the scene is wrapped. The crew immediately moves on to the next scene, which will be shot in Dimarco’s office.

Cruz strips down to his undies to prepare for his scene with Star, who does a quick photo shoot with Dimarco behind the lens. Star, who has been in 12 films and lives in Miami, flew in especially for today’s scene. He shows off his massive back tattoo and explains the very private meaning behind it. Star also shares his theories about porn and life. “I work in the medical profession,” he says. “I don’t do this as a career. I do it for the fun of it.” Cruz nods in agreement. “Me too,” he says. “But I want to be a star. I want to rule the world!”

As the models prepare, an observer on the sidelines takes notes and snaps an occasional picture. He is the winner of a contest run by Lucas to find an Internet blogger, a civilian who will come to the set each day and write about the progress of the film for fans. The hands-down choice was Mike Kashey, who spent a week documenting the action. “Actually, I’m an aspiring porn director,” Kashey says, “and a full-fledged porn fan.” Bryan Christopher, Lucas publicity director, says that Kashey wrote the best essay and even did a sample blog. “That really impressed us,” he says. Kashey knew about Lucas from his MySpace page. “I have been learning so much,” he gushes. “I told Tony Dimarco that I was interested in directing, and he has been giving me lots of hints and tips. It’s been a great week!”

As lights are being set up in his office, Dimarco reviews some scenes that mimic the tone of Ugly Betty (in fact, the original title for the movie was Ugly Benny, but the lawsuit that surrounded La Dolce Vita changed that). “I thought it was a great idea when Ben came to me with it,” Dimarco says. “And I wanted to shoot it like a sitcom. Everything our company has done lately has been so dark and heavy. I love drama, but I thought it would be fun to try something lighter. It’s not easy to meld sex and comedy. Seeing if we can make it hot and funny—that will be the challenge.”

But the busy director has no more time to chat. It’s on to the sex scene. “Okay, Christian,” he says, “go douche.”

The Intern is available now at www.lucasentertainment.com. For more information on the production, visit www.TheInternXXX.com.

Reprinted from
GAYVN magazine (2007)

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