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#1
Old 01-29-2010, 03:49 AM
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Is there a Meryl Streep of porn?

In a genre known for bad acting, is there someone notable for real acting chops?
#2
Old 01-29-2010, 06:57 AM
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Georgina Spelvin had an extensive career in professional theater before transitioning to adult film work. Her adult stage name is actually an inside joke within the theater world.

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She began her professional career as a chorus girl in New York and was featured in the Broadway productions of Guys and Dolls, Sweet Charity, and The Pajama Game. <snip> The stage name she adopted is a variation on George Spelvin, a name traditionally used as a pseudonym by stage actors.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georgina_Spelvin

There were several other male and female actors that had legitimate theater backgrounds. Samantha Fox, Kay Parker, and Veronica Hart, are known for solid acting.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samantha_Fox
Among the men, Jamie Gillis has strong acting credentials. Bobby Aster was married to Samantha Fox. They often appeared together and were considered a power couple in the adult world.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bobby_Astyr
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jamie_Gillis
There was a serious attempt to make better quality adult films. The goal was to improve the overall writing and focus more on characterization. Unfortunately, these films were too tame for most of the raincoat crowd and still too shocking for mainstream audiences. Mainstream actors, writers, and directors are reluctant to work in adult films because it can poison their mainstream careers.

Last edited by aceplace57; 01-29-2010 at 07:00 AM.
#3
Old 01-29-2010, 11:07 AM
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John Derek choose Annette Haven to star in his one hardcore feature, Love You. Haven was not a trained actress but she was cast as the lead almost from her first role. She was easily the equal in beauty to any legitimate actress of the day, and she was seriously considered for the lead in Body Double before De Palma decided that he couldn't cast a porn star in the role.

Kristine DeBell starred in the x-rated Alice in Wonderland and then went off to have a decent career in legitimate roles until the film was re-released and she was ostracized.

John Leslie and Richard Pacheco among the men had some real range to the roles they could play.

That's the problem. Acting was seldom needed or wanted in porn, so it's hard to gauge quality. Even if one good actor or actress was cast, the rest of the parts went to, well, parts rather than people. When the business started it mostly drew from the fringes of the acting scene in New York City so there were people who were trying to make a living as actors. Actors didn't pull in more money than non-actors, though, and expensive tries to make movies with plots went nowhere. Once video was introduced, being able to fast forward to the sex scenes became more important than anything else. Acting was abandoned.

Last edited by Exapno Mapcase; 01-29-2010 at 11:08 AM.
#4
Old 01-29-2010, 01:42 PM
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Well, would Meryl Streep count as the Meryl Streep of porn?

http://youtube.com/watch?v=XsGJVGgR7oQ

And, yes, she did know we were filming. She set up the camera, in fact.

Last edited by digs; 01-29-2010 at 01:43 PM. Reason: Link changed on advice of counsel
#5
Old 01-29-2010, 03:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Exapno Mapcase View Post
John Derek choose Annette Haven to star in his one hardcore feature, Love You. Haven was not a trained actress but she was cast as the lead almost from her first role. She was easily the equal in beauty to any legitimate actress of the day, and she was seriously considered for the lead in Body Double before De Palma decided that he couldn't cast a porn star in the role.
I think dePalma was pressured into deciding that he couldn't cast a porn actress in the role. From what In understand, Haven was the inspiration for the character.

As for the original question, it's pretty definitively Sibel Kekilli whose work in Gegen die Wand (Head-On) was nominated for a whole pile of awards including a Golden Bear. Only after being nominated for her work did reporters dig up her porn past under the name Delara - thus becoming #1 on the list of "Reasons why you should never get a tattoo".

Quote:
Kristine DeBell starred in the x-rated Alice in Wonderland and then went off to have a decent career in legitimate roles until the film was re-released and she was ostracized.
It wasn't that the film was re-released, so much as the re-release included hard-core footage that had not been included in the original "hard R" version.

Quote:
John Leslie and Richard Pacheco among the men had some real range to the roles they could play.
As does Ron Jeremy and (of current male actors) Evan Stone. There are directors trying to make porn films with decent acting and writing but they're generally scuttled by the lack of decent female leads. The recent "Pirates" had good sets, lighting, camera work and male leads who were trying to do good work. And a platoon of bleached blondes with bolt-on breasts who couldn't act wet in the middle of the ocean reading lines off the teleprompter.

The problem is, as aceplace57 pointed out, that the "Golden Age" of porn was in New York and pulled their actors from the pool of aspiring stage actors. They could take the work with the belief that it would play only in the adult theaters for a week or two then be forgotten. Home video totally changed that. Now a film is forever. The porn world is in the San Fernando Valley and the poll is drawn from women who want to make a lot of money as feature dancers in strip clubs. DVD box covers translate into thousands of dollars per week for years later. They don't have any reason to learn to act.
#6
Old 01-29-2010, 03:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aceplace57 View Post
There was a serious attempt to make better quality adult films. The goal was to improve the overall writing and focus more on characterization. Unfortunately, these films were too tame for most of the raincoat crowd and still too shocking for mainstream audiences. Mainstream actors, writers, and directors are reluctant to work in adult films because it can poison their mainstream careers.
What it comes down to, I guess, is that porn is a perfectly legitimate art form -- but its artistic purpose is unique, and unrelated to that of any other form or genre. IOW, whacking material just gets in the way of a good story, and vice-versa.
#7
Old 01-29-2010, 03:33 PM
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Originally Posted by The Controvert View Post
Is there a Meryl Streep of porn?
Is there a porn of Meryl Streep?
#8
Old 01-29-2010, 03:51 PM
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Originally Posted by gaffa View Post
It wasn't that the film was re-released, so much as the re-release included hard-core footage that had not been included in the original "hard R" version.
From the Wiki article the sequencing isn't clear.
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The film initially received an X-rating in 1976 and subsequently, an R-rating a year later with three minutes cut from the film. It was later re-released on VHS with a somewhat grandiose title roll preceding the movie noting that quite a bit of hardcore footage had originally been shot, but "could not be included" at the time. Several reviews opine that the added material actually makes the movie less enjoyable by dragging down its pacing. It has also been re-released on DVD, though whether this release is official, and which source material it was made from, is unclear.
There's obviously more than 3 minutes of hardcore in the XXX re-release. How that relates to the original X rating I can't determine. The full title of the original was Alice in Wonderland: An X-Rated Musical Fantasy. Comments on IMDb, however, indicate that the X rating meant no one under 18, the way that Midnight Cowboy was originally an X-rated film and that the XXX version with the full amount of hardcore is a different release.

Either way, it was the XXX re-release that brought down de Bell's career, no matter what strength core the original was.
#9
Old 01-29-2010, 04:29 PM
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Originally Posted by BrainGlutton View Post
What it comes down to, I guess, is that porn is a perfectly legitimate art form -- but its artistic purpose is unique, and unrelated to that of any other form or genre. IOW, whacking material just gets in the way of a good story, and vice-versa.
I'm 49 years old, which means that I was a teen in a time when I had to obtain my "whacking material" where I could find it, usually in love scenes in R rated movies. They weren't created as "whacking material" but used as such.

Not all porn is explicit - some is shot with multiple angles, one close in with "insertions", another with just enough obscured that it can get an R rating and shown in Utah. Same actors actually having sex, different angles.

Former porn actress and current "female friendly" porn director Candida Royale said "the only difference between erotica and porn is lighting", but camera angles and editing count as well. If it's a Hollywood movie, apparently you can pretend to have sex, but can't actually have sex. Sasha Gray's contract in Soderberg's The Girlfriend Experience specifically forbid her from actually having sex with her co-star.

My point is that just because something can be used as jerk-off material doesn't make it porn, and the idea that if something can be used in that way it cannot be taken seriously as a movie. For instance, the "Cheerleader" love scene in Cronenberg's A History of Violence was very erotic. If I was still 14 and the Internet had never been invented, Maria Bello in that outfit would be prime fantasy material. If that film - I mean that specific film, those specific actors and director - had featured Viggo Mortensen's penis actually entering Maria Bello, why would it suddenly become "porn"?

The answer to the question in the OP is "She's not allowed to exist".
#10
Old 01-29-2010, 05:11 PM
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Originally Posted by gaffa View Post
As does Ron Jeremy and (of current male actors) Evan Stone.
Speaking of Ron Jeremy, didn't he used to be a drama teacher? I've seen him in a few (ahem) "legitimate" roles, and while he's not DeNiro, he's a fairly decent comic actor.
#11
Old 01-29-2010, 05:47 PM
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Originally Posted by BKReporter View Post
Speaking of Ron Jeremy, didn't he used to be a drama teacher? I've seen him in a few (ahem) "legitimate" roles, and while he's not DeNiro, he's a fairly decent comic actor.
He started out as a special education teacher and acted on the stage, his biggest roll in (I believe) "Godspell" when his girlfriend at the time sent in his picture to Playgirl's Boy Next Door feature. Porn came to him.
#12
Old 01-29-2010, 05:59 PM
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AIDS also played a part in reducing the acting talent in classic adult film. It's not a coincidence that Kay Parker, Veronica Hart, Marilyn Chambers, Ginger Lynn, and several men (including Harry Reems from Deep Throat) retired shortly after the Aids scare. John Holmes death by Aids rocked the industry to it's core. He had performed with nearly all the major actresses before announcing his illness. A few actors, like Reems, came back in the 1990's.

Last edited by aceplace57; 01-29-2010 at 06:04 PM.
#13
Old 01-29-2010, 07:24 PM
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Originally Posted by gaffa View Post
The recent "Pirates" had good sets, lighting, camera work and male leads who were trying to do good work. And a platoon of bleached blondes with bolt-on breasts who couldn't act wet in the middle of the ocean reading lines off the teleprompter.
Ah, yes. I must say, the male actors did do a rather good job with their period costumes and faux British accents. The girls, OTOH, with their...um..."colorful" improv dialogue and sleazy tribal tattoos certainly did not help the historical accuracy of the film
#14
Old 01-29-2010, 11:52 PM
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Originally Posted by kidneyfailure View Post
Ah, yes. I must say, the male actors did do a rather good job with their period costumes and faux British accents. The girls, OTOH, with their...um..."colorful" improv dialogue and sleazy tribal tattoos certainly did not help the historical accuracy of the film
I knew the stupid was powerful in this film when the "shy virgin" undressed to reveal a huge tramp stamp.
#15
Old 01-30-2010, 12:03 AM
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Originally Posted by gaffa View Post
I knew the stupid was powerful in this film when the "shy virgin" undressed to reveal a huge tramp stamp.
Yes, what is it about porn actresses, tattoos and piercings? I wonder of all that stuff could actually interfere with getting non-porn roles?
#16
Old 01-30-2010, 12:29 AM
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Originally Posted by gaffa View Post
I knew the stupid was powerful in this film when the "shy virgin" undressed to reveal a huge tramp stamp.
Are you telling me that the "tramp stamp" wasn't commonplace during the 17th and 18th centuries????? Perish the thought, my good man! I believe Captain Kidd and Henry Morgan both fondly wrote in their journals about the phenomenon, which seems to have been more widespread than scurvy according to the visual depiction in the movie I saw (although I think it was called the "wench brand" by people in those days).
#17
Old 01-30-2010, 12:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Boyo Jim View Post
Yes, what is it about porn actresses, tattoos and piercings? I wonder of all that stuff could actually interfere with getting non-porn roles?
I mentioned Sibel Kekilli in post #5, who won a whole bunch of awards, and recognized as porn actress Dilara - probably due to the tattoo on her shoulder and the tramp stamp. If she hadn't had these distinctive marks, she could possibly stonewalled and claimed that this was just some porn actress who just happened to look like Sibel Kekilli.
#18
Old 01-30-2010, 12:57 AM
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Originally Posted by kidneyfailure View Post
Are you telling me that the "tramp stamp" wasn't commonplace during the 17th and 18th centuries????? Perish the thought, my good man! I believe Captain Kidd and Henry Morgan both fondly wrote in their journals about the phenomenon, which seems to have been more widespread than scurvy according to the visual depiction in the movie I saw (although I think it was called the "wench brand" by people in those days).
Possibly, although I was more willing to accept that they might be forced to shave their public hair to rid themselves of flea infestations - although many would have worn merkins.
#19
Old 01-30-2010, 03:42 AM
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It's a matter of degree. Most of the actors and actresses mentioned in this thread as the "standout" actors in porn were still IMO pretty wooden and hammy actors overall in their porn roles. None impressed with their acting chops. The only reason they seemed so great as "actors" in porn was that everyone around them was an order of magnitude worse.

Last edited by astro; 01-30-2010 at 03:43 AM.
#20
Old 01-30-2010, 11:45 AM
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Originally Posted by astro View Post
It's a matter of degree. Most of the actors and actresses mentioned in this thread as the "standout" actors in porn were still IMO pretty wooden and hammy actors overall in their porn roles. None impressed with their acting chops. The only reason they seemed so great as "actors" in porn was that everyone around them was an order of magnitude worse.
Film Critic Judith Crist said of Georgina Spelvin's work in the wordless opening scene of The Devil In Miss Jones "Oscars have been won for worse work".

I think it's fair to say that some of the Golden Age performers could deliver better performances with directors who would know the difference between mediocre work and good work and could say "That was good. Let's try one more". Check out Cronenberg's Rabid to see what the late Marilyn Chambers could do with a decent director.
#21
Old 01-31-2010, 01:43 AM
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Originally Posted by gaffa View Post
I think it's fair to say that some of the Golden Age performers could deliver better performances with directors who would know the difference between mediocre work and good work and could say "That was good. Let's try one more". Check out Cronenberg's Rabid to see what the late Marilyn Chambers could do with a decent director.
I just thought of a perfect example. Halle Berry won both a Oscar for Monster's Ball and a Razzie for Catwoman - which she accepted in person, holding the Oscar. Same actress, two vastly different films.
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