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The Deep Throat Documentary

Movie producer Brian Grazer [right] is doing a documentary. Not about how he’s constantly mistaken for either Jerry Seinfeld or Quasarman. But about Deep Throat of all things. In fact Grazer’s interest in a Deep Throat-related project has been going on for eons, Grazer’s people contacting me way back when I was with AVN.

Sunday, The L.A. Times wrote about Grazer’s singular obsession with the cultural significance of the porn film. Grazer tells the story of his Jewish grandmother, Sonia, who had to tell him how she and her husband, Sy, stood in line to see Deep Throat when it was playing in Hollywood. Grazer, thinking she had to be kidding asked why. “Well, everyone was talking about it,” his grandmother replied. Grazer said it was his grandmother who first turned him on to Deep Throat.

Grazer’s documentary in collaboration with documentarians Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato is called Inside Deep Throat and goes into detail about how a $22,000 film, “financed by two men regarded in law enforcement circles as organized crime figures,” according to the Times, peaked the nation’s sexual curiosity and became the highest grossing picture in Los Angeles during the 1972-73 season. The documentary will have a theatrical release before it airs on HBO next year. Evidently, either the Times or Grazer sees the connection between Deep Throat and the fact that Mary Carey ran for governor. “When porn is that common, the filmmakers suggest, thank Deep Throat for helping to set the tone.” Barbato states that Deep Throat was the beginning of pornography being co-opted by big business.

The Times: During the past year Barbato and Bailey have filmed interviews of scores of people- porn actors, directors, prosecutors, cultural commentators- who lived through Deep Throat.

According to the article, Annie Sprinkle was making popcorn in a Tucson movie theater where Deep Throat was playing and decided to get into the business as a result. The article goes on to say how Grazer decided to make a biopic about Linda Lovelace “who was reportedly coerced into porn by her husband” and was paid $1200 for her work. Lovelace died in April 2002 as a result of a traffic accident, and Grazer finally decided to nix a biopic project on Lovelace and do the documentary instead.

“The more I learned, the less interest I got in Linda Lovelace,” says Grazer. “The more interest I got in the profound effect the movie had on the culture…it was in our grammar.” Grazer went to New York to sell his idea to HBO which was originally met with skepticism but Grazer’s reputation and zeal for the project actually intimidated HBO documentary executive Sheila Nevins.

The Times: “As it [Deep Throat] started making money and generating word-of-mouth, local and federal authorities began confiscating prints of the film and prosecuting theater owners in scores of cities- Riverside, Buena Park, Miami, New York and, most prominently, Memphis, Tenn., where federal prosecutors charged 60 people, including some cast members, with conspiring to show the movie, even though it had yet to be exhibited there.”

The movie’s rise, according to the Times article, collided with Nixon administration’s appeal to traditional morality and a new Supreme Court ruling that said obscenity prosecution could be based on an individual community’s standards. Obscenity trials began relying on defense experts who’s cite Deep Throat as a socially significant story about female empowerment.

Grazer calls Deep Throat the ultimate reality show experience, how a “modest, just beige girl” like Linda Lovelace became this enormously famous entity. “If you look look at any successful reality show, they’re all based on the same drug: ‘This can happen to you,'” says Grazer.

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