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Conversations with Dru Berrymore- 6/7/05

Porn Valley- Dru Berrymore’s company ArchAngel has been shooting a hi-def series titled Vampire Chronicles. When cameras roll again for the third installment, Cass Paley will be helming.

Last December I had a chat with Berrymore when the series got launched I was curious if Berrymore chose her own porn name or whether it had been given her. “Somebody gave me that name,” she says. “Some little company out of Jersey- Starmaker Video [Mel Schwartz being the owner]. I did some bondage stuff for them.” Berrymore explains that she had a different porn name on the model release but that the company took the liberty of changing it for her. This was in 1993, says Berrymore laughing, like where has all the time gone. “I’m like a dinosaur.” I asked her if she just got off the boat from Germany at the time. She thinks the question is funny. Berrymore says she had already landed some jobs in the mainstream before doing porn.

“Like set painting,” she says. “And I was doing scenic art. But I did get OFF the boat in 1989. I was doing extra work in Die Hard 2 and Baywatch. In Die Hard 2 you’ll probably see some little blond in the background somewhere. In Lost Highway I think I actually walk down the stairs, and what’s his name- Robert [Blake]- the one that killed his wife was coming up the stairs talking to me. I was, you’re not supposed to talk to me. I was 19 or 20 so you can do the math.”

Asked why she got into porn, Berrymore gives the typical answer- that she figured out how to get paid for something she really likes doing which is fucking. She gives a throaty laugh. “That’s why I stayed in for as long as I did.” Berrymore also remembers the industry being a cash business when she started and it being very small by comparison to today’s enterprise. “It was really like a family,” she said. “If you had any problems you could call producers and they’d come tow your car in the middle of the night. You always had a place to go. We lived hard. You partied hard. And you were always taken care of.”

I casually remind Berrymore that her name was always in the middle of some escapade. She laughs, noting that the business now is a big machine. Berrymore always embraced the quaint idea of putting people together that want to work with each other and have chemistry. For her part, Berrymore can recall, herself, being over directed and shooting 8 hour sex scenes. I guess she’s never met Tom Zupko. And she tells me she’s never met Zupko but has done the equivalent in Europe. “Thank you very much.”

As far as Berrymore’s concerned, Europe’s reputation for roughness never translated in her mind. “Not if you really enjoy sex and talk to your partner,” she says. “And I was always talking to them [her partners], what can I do to get you off; what should I completely stay away from or how willing are you to explore certain boundaries? It was more like an adventure, following a map.”

Berrymore’s discovery, upon coming to this country, is that the American perception of sex was pretty hypocritical. “Sex was not talked about,” she observed. Like you’d get involved with people and they’d tell you, you’re blowing my mind because I wouldn’t go there. That’s what I found here.” Berrymore had also tried directing movies in Europe and found little patience with it. “I’d end up walking off a set because I couldn’t communicate any more. People just don’t listen.”

At the time of this interview, Berrymore was referring to Jennifer James as her business partner and Berrymore was deferring the director’s role to James, noting that James had more patience for it.

“I like putting deals together,” says Berrymore explaining her own role with ArchAngel. “I like old school porn sex to ask who do you want to work with? I’ll ask the main actress who would you really like to do a scene with? And then I’d call these people and would see if they’d be okay working with that person so we have chemistry on set. So far it hasn’t been like work.”

As far as starting a company, Berrymore feels that everything’s been falling into place for her. “It’s really going smooth,” she says. “I believe there are bigger and better things out there that are guiding us. We seem to be very well taken care of financially. And it’s been an amazing experience. I’m very happy and I just want to make sure that everyone on set is happy, that we get the job done and we get probably the best product we could ever get. There’s no sense in forcing people to do anything.”


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