This is Part 2 of a 3-part interview with Wicked contract director, Brad Armstrong
W! I was reading some older interviews where you’re talking about your very clear dislike of gonzo porn. That makes sense, obviously, from your standpoint, but in the last year or so it seems like feature films and particularly parodies are really coming back to the forefront of adult entertainment, and gonzo is falling by the wayside. Do you think the path is clear ahead for feature films?
BA I think a lot of it is because the market is so saturated with the make-it-for-as-cheap-as-you-can, throw-it-out-there, sell-it-for-as-little-as-you-can stuff. It’s just the lowest common denominator, and I know not everyone wants to see the bad acting and stuff. I get it. That’s why I make my all-sex movies, which are more all sex but with some art to it. As opposed to “couch porn,” where you’re throwing whatever chicks are available that day on whatever couch is available that day and, you know, I mean it’s like realistically, the talent pool in adult is only so big. And there’s only so many couches out there. So it’s the same girl working with the same guy on the same couch… There’s one studio in particular that has this blue couch. And that blue couch has to be in a thousand pornos.
W! Yeah, I think I know which one you’re talking about. Hah!
BA How many times can you watch that blue couch? You know what I mean? It’s like, you can buy two porns and probably have the same content as in twenty. It’s just, I think… It’s just a saturation. Because there’s only so many times you can make the same thing. It’s the same with porn where it’s the same old thing over and over and over again.
W! That makes a lot of sense. I don’t personally like gonzo either because I’m not your typical porn consumer. I’m somebody who watches and reviews porn, so I appreciate feature movies because it gives me something new and something to laugh at. But still, the only really inherent goodness I can see in gonzo is that it kind of democratizes the ability to make porn, which is kind of the best thing about the internet. Anybody can pick up a camera and make something and express themselves that way, and I dunno, I see that as gonzo’s only saving grace. Maybe this will inspire more people to express themselves sexually online… But that could be a bad thing for the industry. I guess I wanted to get your take on that perspective.
BA I think, from a viewer point of view, the more content and the more sex you have, the better. The problem is, that as a producer of it, all that does is take away my customers. My customer base is cut by, ten, twenty, a hundred, when you look at more people… It’s like if all of a sudden, let’s say you love pizza. And you’ve got your five or six pizzas that you like. Now everybody in the city is being able to make pizza and throw up a “for sale” sign in front of it. You know what I mean? And here again, people these days are getting much more in touch with their sexuality and so the demand is far higher. But when the supply… Let’s say the demand went up twenty-fold. But if the supply went up fifty-fold, you’re still not making as much money. Adult film, people think it’s making so much money, but yes and no. The demand is greater but the supply has gotten massive. And when you think about gonzo, it kind of fucked it up. And now, almost anyone who can pick up a four thousand dollar video camera all of a sudden can make a movie. Now it’s even worse, people can even shoot movies on their two hundred dollar flip phone and throw it up on the internet. I mean, if any business had to deal with that kind of saturation and overflow, there’s no way they’d be operating. Thankfully, everybody’s horny. That’s the only thing that keeps us going! There used to be a time when I used to wonder how every day I’d go to work I’d still have a job. Because there’s so much stuff out there, if tomorrow nobody made another porno, just like… how much product is there out there, and could you possibly watch it all in the next ten years?
W! Hell no.
BA I don’t watch that much porn. I never did. Before I got into the business I’d only seen two porns. It’s one of those things where, how much porn can people watch before they’ve seen it all. And, is it really possible for us to watch it all? So like I said, if we stopped tomorrow, there’s still so much of it out there, would anybody really care? And it’s like right now it’s based one who the latest star is, and what’s the next fetish that everybody’s getting into, and what’s the latest greatest thing, and whatever it’s gonna be, but if there was no more, would it matter? And apparently it does because everybody keeps watching it.
W! Sex always sells, as they say. Well, that’s really interesting, I hadn’t really thought about it in that way before. Oh I also read in another interview where you said that you’re not a fan of HD. Because it makes it more difficult to create the fantasy, the image, of the perfect woman.
BA Some girls can have HD, and some can’t.
W! I agree. I’ve seen some very disturbing things in HD.
BA I mean, you get some actresses who absolutely have it in their contract that certain things can’t be done. They have the soft light, there was this one pilot, an older actor, and they had this one guy whose job it was to follow her around with that soft box to make her look as soft as possible while they were shooting this thing. When you’ve got HBO and most channels now on Dish Network or whatever, they’ve go the regular channels and the HD channels. If you have the HD and you have the normal and you flip back and forth and see what the difference is, it’s like night and day, like Judge Judy and all that kind of shit! You know, they do not want HD…. You’ll see a lot of things, like, you know, one of the best scenes in Zorro, I don’t know if you’ve seen the movie…
W! Oh, yeah, definitely.
BA So you’ve got Anthony Hopkins and Catherine Zeta Jones, and you’ve got this whole rough-and-tumble and flat look on Anthony Hopkins, and for her cuts it’s like glowing, there’s so much filter and soft effects on it that it’s like night and day, you’re jumping back and forth between these two figures. I mean he’s supposed to be this rough and tumble guy so you want it to be gritty and dirty, and then with her it’s like she’s this beautiful angelic thing, and it’s like back and forth and back and forth, and it’s like night and day.
W! I’ve never noticed that. I’m gonna look for that now. I’ve always found HD to be a little… I don’t enjoy watching it because it makes everything so clearly focused that sometimes it takes on the look of, like, a Spanish channel soap opera…
BA Or really bad video.
W! Yeah! Like old soap operas and sitcoms!
BA It loses all its softness. That was my thing, was trying to make it look like film, without using film. I’ve shot film and it’s a pain in the ass. But that’s the whole thing, when you start looking at, like in Best Buy, LED TVs as opposed to LED TVs… LED is like so crystal clear it looks like a video game almost. And it looks like, with HD, really, really bad video. But the whole thing is that crystal clear. Here again, if you’re shooting wildlife or sports then that’s perfect. But some other stuff is just not meant for that. Especially where it’s really bad is with the gonzo films where you’ve got chicks that are… um… a lot of times… not the… best of the batch. And you know, it’s one thing not to make a woman “perfect,” but it’s another thing to kind of… the whole point of watching porn is to, at least in my eyes, get something you couldn’t normally get. You know what I mean? So if the people take their clothes off and the chick’s got a big zitty ass, it’s like, “Ummm.”
W! Oh yeah, I’ve seen some of that. And to me, the whole point of watching porn is that you want to be there, doing this…
BA That’s what I’m saying. If I’m sitting there looking at this chick and she’s got some big zit on her ass, it’s like, I’m fast-forwarding that shit!
Stay tuned for Part 3, coming next week!