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SF Weekly Interviews James Deen

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from – We all have our favorites — favorite actors, favorite bands — but what about favorite porn stars? For most fans of adult films, your favorite porn star is a secret that you’ll rarely share aloud. But attitudes about pornography are changing and some porn stars are crossing over into mainstream. Case in point: James Deen, an incredibly popular male porn star, is now on the radar of mainstream films as well.

Deen is no longer “just a porn star” — he is a brand. As I looked around AVN, I saw t-shirts, tank tops, stickers, and dildos that are an exact replica of what Deen’s fans know and love him for. When you’re selling out of all of the items offered, you must be doing something right.

Deen recently co-starred in a film called The Canyons with Lindsay Lohan. The Canyons is a noir thriller written by Bret Easton Ellis, and Deen plays a functioning sociopath named Christian. “It was pretty cool; it was basically the same as working on a porn set, but without the sex,” says Deen.

Lohan is rumored to be difficult to work with, so I wondered what Deen’s experience was with her: “People were like, ‘Oh Lindsay, she’s so this or that.’ To me its just silly, none of it really bothers me. I feel like she has a certain amount of clout, but it doesn’t really affect me. What’s she going to do, get me kicked out of mainstream movies? Then I’ll have to go back to having sex with hot girls every day. It’s not that big of a deal.”

Deen has had more offers for mainstream roles, but nothing exciting or interesting to him: “I have the luxury of being able to have a lot of artistic integrity, because I have a career and a job that has been doing all right in the porno world.” As of now, The Canyons does not have a release date and was rejected from Sundance and other film festivals.

What he is interested in is his new website, which launches soon, along with all of the merchandise he sells. He is also producing a mainstream film called Cowboys and Engines.

His merchandise is much like his personality, sarcastic and raunchy. “I like the idea of self-expression and freedom of speech. You can grow into a person that makes everything good-natured and fun. You can see how that is embodied in everything that I do. It is all very fun and enjoyable, but very expressive of my opinions.”

But not all porn is fun and games. Measure B, the ordinance requiring condoms on all porn sets, was a source of contention last year when it hit the ballots in L.A. I asked Deen if he felt this would change porn and how it’s made:

“It won’t. We will never win that vote, but where we will win is in court. Because it’s unconstitutional and it’s impossible to convince people that what they are proposing is a violation of our rights.

All they see is: safer sex, good…. It’s good that people care that much about safe sex. It’s good that they take that much concern with the value of human life. You can’t be mad at people for being ignorant. I mean they have no idea.

For all they know, we’re just a bunch of people having unprotected sex. They don’t know that we’re tested every 14 days and what our industry standards are. Our testing works and it works well, because of that we’re pretty good. If people have an STD, they are not allowed to work, plain and simple.”

On mainstream acceptance, Deen notes: “I think it has become a lot more acceptable, kids nowadays are more prone to being like, ‘I wanna do porn!’ I think it’s awesome that it’s so socially acceptable now.”

This doesn’t necessarily mean that people’s attitudes toward porn performers are changing, however. “It’s pretty cool when I talk to people and they see me as more than a porn star. At the end of the day, I’m always going to be that guy who does porn. I may be a household name because people know who I am. But I will never be just a household name.”

When Deen was an 8 years old, he brazenly told his teachers that he wanted to be a porn star when he grew up. I suppose some people know early on who they are and what they want to be.

Deen won Best Male Performer this year at The 2013 AVN Awards, along with Crossover Star of the Year, and Best Threeway Sex Scene.


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