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On the Set: Not Bewitched XXX- 3/18/2008

Van Nuys- Will Ryder’s obviously done his homework. And then some.

Will, who’s riding the wave of Not the Bradys XXX’s howling success [rumors are it might have sold at least 30,000 units], is hoping to cash in on another classic TV show’s popularity.

While he won’t confirm the Brady sales figures, Ryder‘s not denying them, either, describing how the porn comedy’s gone into its fifth pressing. I’m telling Ryder how people I know who shouldn’t even be aware of anything related to the porn industry, are talking up this feature. And there will be a sequel, Ryder states. But without Hillary Scott.

Fact is, Ryder, in part, thanks to the tabloid shows, got so much buzz on Not The Bradys XXX, he could have started his own bee colony.

This time, however, it’s about Bewitched. And Ryder, who hasn’t met a pop concept yet he won’t slavishly emulate, is similarly calling it Not Bewitched XXX.

But that’s where the disclaimers end. Because everything else identifiable with the late Elizabeth Montgomery’s TV show remains pretty much up for grabs.

For his assignment, Ryder watched every episode of the TV series that’s been available so far on DVD. Bewitched ran from 1964 to 1972. And though maybe not many people realize it, Bewitched itself was a spin on a 1940’s film titled I Married a Witch starring Veronica Lake.

Practically an expert on the subtleties of Samantha Stephens, Ryder will tell you about the green phones and green matte carpeting and how The Stephens’ kitchen always managed a fresh look to reflect the zeitgeist.

“Everyone was re-doing their kitchens back then- that was the big thing,” Ryder notes.

With one day set aside for studio shots, Ryder’s managed to pick the typical dwelling for the Stephens abode – according to him, it’s straight out of Sixties suburbia.

“And we’re bringing in our own furniture,” Ryder adds, noting that authentic costuming has cost him a pretty penny as well.

“The Sixties were a beautiful time,” extolls Ryder whose personal voyage into nostalgia practically evokes the smell of wallpaper paste. And the sex scenes haven’t even started.

To play the part of Samantha, Ryder’s got Jenna Haze wearing a blond bouffant flip. [Also a popular hairdo from the Sixties.]

Haze is looking like the lead singer of the Shangri-Las, one of the popular girl groups back in the day. While Mike Horner’s playing Darrin and James Bartholet, in a white wig that’s taking on a life of its own, is Darrin’s smarmy boss, Larry Tate.

Ron Jeremy’s flying in from England – where he’s on college tour – expressly to play the part of Dr. Bombay, the warlock family doctor. For that sequence Ryder, in one of the Van Nuys Studio’s elaborate setups, has designed what he’s calling the “Ali Baba tent” complete with a harem and a million throw pillows.

Ryder’s laughing about how they’ve got their own sexual history and how the pillows toss off a particular scent in confined spaces. He would know. Ryder learned from first hand experience bringing them to the studio.

Closing his eyes for a second to think, Ryder rattles off the remainder of the female cast. He talks wistfully about Michelle Avanti playing the role of snoopy neighbor Gladys Kravitz and how she’s going to get fucked in the ass by a black guy.

There’s something like 16 women in this feature either with speaking roles or eye candy parts. The plot has Aunt Clara turning Tabitha, who’s celebrating her first birthday, into an 18 year-old nymph played by Teagan Presley. Ryder’s reasoning behind the conglomeration is Digital Playground’s success with Babysitters [a cast of 12 ladies] which he describes as “nice, but not spectacular.”

“I think we’ve got a hit,” Ryder’s saying about this new project which Adam & Eve is distributing. “Nothing can stop us.”

Despite the fact that he hasn’t really hyped it on the porn boards, Ryder’s talking about all the ancillary VOD deals that so far have been popping up out of the blue.

“If you do it right, you can sell it,” Ryder’s philosophizing, suggesting that even with the DVD crunch, good old fashioned parody, top notch casting and attention to the finer points and smaller details will sell a project.

“I hate that phrase, it’s only porn,” Ryder’s saying to make this point.

Ryder, a musician in a past life, often talks about how if the Britney Rears parodies hadn’t caught fire he’d probably be in Honolulu somewhere giving ukulele lessons. Ryder doesn’t exactly word it that way, but the thought is clearly there. Ryder’s extremely grateful to have caught lightning in a bottle.

So, even for a comedy, Ryder’s taking this shit pretty seriously. Before he gets the first shot off, Ryder’s in the green room studying a Bewitched sequence as though it were The Zapruder film. He’s saying how the toughest assignment will be coming up with the music to get the orchestra sound. After discussing pizzicatos, who knows what Ryder’s talking about when he gets into the finite technicalities.

Personally, I’m liking the elegant setup of Darrin’s office, particularly the ornate, big money, men’s club look to the paneling and molding. Bartholet and Horner are going over their lines.

“You guys look so good you should be acting,” Ryder insists.

Ryder’s got Durotran light boxes throwing off the illusion that Darrin’s office is 90 stories above the city. While Ryder says he could have spent $3,000 at the very least, he brought in the effect for $300.

“Except it looks like Cleveland,” he’s laughing. Okay, maybe Cleveland on a cloudy day.

“God, is that dope.” Even Ryder’s got to admire what he’s looking at in the monitor.

Ryder winces. His sciatica’s acting up and Ryder’s taking a few cat-like stretches to work out the pain in his ass. Bartholet’s saying how he’s got a needle guy at Pico & Olympia who does wonders with acupuncture.

“If you want to blow smoke in my face that’s fine,” Horner’s next telling Bartholet who’s going through cigarettes in the scene as though he’s being paid a commission on nicotine. Darrin wants to be home for his daughter’s birthday, but the boss insists that he work late at the office on behalf of a client.

Horner’s typically exasperated, suffering and set upon. Bartholet, as you might expect, is playing his character vain, lecherous and pompous. Only his white wig’s playing it a whole different way.

Like bad 2257 paperwork, it’s non-compliant, prompting adjustment after adjustment because the back of it keeps snapping up like a car trunk.

Bartholet’s saying how he’s getting high from the mustache glue. I ask Bartholet the obvious questions- like why didn’t he just grow a mustache, and why didn’t he just powder his own hair. Taken in with the sense of it all, Bartholet thinks he’ll be working with his own hair when he plays Mr. Drysdale in an upcoming Beverly Hillbillies parody. Porn’s already witnessed two versions, each one titled The Beverly Thrillbillies. Maybe it’ll see a really good one this time.

“I love working with these guys,” says Bartholet about Ryder and company. Bartholet’s on maybe his sixth or seventh project with Ryder.

“There’s lots of respect and room for creativity,” Bartholet is also saying. “They’re doing some great stuff.”

Meanwhile, Bartholet’s snooping character has the hots for Jean Paul Sartre’s favorite porn star, Sasha Grey. Grey, who’s wearing white go-go boots and a bright orange mini dress, is dolled up like a stewardess on Boogie Nights airlines though she’s playing a model. One who’s about to have sex on Darrin’s desk top with Aaron Wilcoxx.

So despite what you might be reading on another gossip site, Grey seems to be physically in fine fettle for her scene, and Bartholet congratulates her on the start up of her modeling agency.

During a break, Bartholet and Horner are discussing if it’s a wise idea to keep in character during sex. Horner’s saying in all his years, it’s never really worked and when he’d try, his female partners would flip out. Off camera, Horner manages five different occupations all of which make up a living, he’s telling me.

“But I don’t do much of this anymore,” he adds with a shrug.

Ryder’s enjoying the conviction Bartholet and Horner bring to their assignment.

“It’s just like the TV show, guys,” he quips with wiseass insouciance. “This will really help us get sued.”

“No joking around on this set!” Ryder yells as he cautions against his own humor.

“This is big time movie making.”


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