Edge

Kevin Smith makes a (movie about) porno!

The sages teach that if romance be the water of life, then porno is the incompatible oil. Kevin Smith, in directing his new film Zack and Miri Make a Porno, tests this assumption, and what he creates can only be referred to as the first of its kind – a porno-themed romantic comedy.

Zack and Miri, played by Seth Rogen and Elizabeth Banks, are lifelong friends who live with each other. Together they fall deeper and deeper in debt, and to make some money they decide to make a pornographic video starring them and all of their friends. When asked how he was inspired to create such a film, Smith says it was a “logical progression.” Guy love – the love of a best friend – is a central theme in Smith’s earlier movies Chasing Amy and Clerks, but now Smith felt ready to move on to a movie about the love between a guy and a girl.

“I was curious to see what would happen if you added sex to that kind of relationship,” Smith explained.

Unlike producing cinematic romance, creating porn was a difficulty for Kevin Smith. He explains, saying he “cannot ask an actor to do something he wouldn’t feel comfortable doing,” so it took a very open and willing cast to make the porn aspect of the movie a success. Smith’s lifelong friend Jason Mewes, who he describes as having “popped out of the womb wanting to fuck everything in sight,” was a large reason the creation of the movie was successful. In the movie, Mewes has a sexual scene with actress Katie Morgan, and the enthusiasm that Mewes brought to that scene enabled Smith to more comfortably film pornography.

“Jason got so into the scene that we had to take Katie to a chiropractor,” Smith joked.

Traci Lords, who plays Bubbles (named after a little trick she can do), was also an important factor in tying the adult industry into the film. As a former porn star with over 80 films made, the last one having been made about twenty years ago, she brought real pornographic experience to the movie. Lords decided for that for this film she would “embrace her past and make fun of it,” Smith said. Her homegrown, satirical view of the world of pornography helps to keep the sexuality of the film comical.

Because this film deals with the risqué topic of pornography, it raised unusual difficulties for Smith. Marketing for this film was nearly impossible because citizens and city governments objected to posters or billboard that used the word “porno.”

“What porno have you ever watched that has porno in the title?” Smith asked. “And it’s not even a bad word! It’s not like we called it Zack and Miri Make a Fuck Tape.”

Achieving the desired rating of R for this movie was also a nightmare. Smith’s movies are generally given their strict ratings based on dialogue, but this was the first of his movies that was criticized for rude visuals. The movie was submitted to the MPAA three times, but only through a final appeals process was the movie brought down to an R rating.

One might ask that with Zack and Miri’s new pornographically romantic relationship, will pornography be changed forever? No, believes Smith.

“Porno will always be porno, and I don’t think this will change anyone’s mind,” he said.

October 26, 2008

Reporters

Sam Rotenberg

Contributing EDGE Writer


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