Historically, you have to remember that at that time in history, the late ’80s and early ’90s, AIDS was ravaging the country and a lot of people were nervous to have sex and afraid of dying. So they turned to porn. This was before the internet and porn was accessible on video tapes, so you didn’t have to go to a seedy movie theater. You could rent it and take it home.
He was someone who loved what he did and it came across on film. People felt a connection to him because he also came across as your bratty little brother. And I think we all find the story of his death so tragic because he was so young and couldn’t overcome his addiction.
Will your film explore Joey’s alleged relationship with David Geffen?
I reached out to him three years ago and asked if he would speak to me. He responded to me, “We were not friends…I met him once at a party. Sorry. Good luck with your project.”
We’ve all heard the stories. If Mr. Geffen does not want to talk to me about the one time he met him at a party, that’s his prerogative. “David Geffen” does not appear on any page of the screenplay. However, Nick was acquaintances with many other high-profile producers in Hollywood and they are represented by a composite character.
Who’s been cast as Joey?
I know who I want and I’m just waiting for the right pieces to be in place before we make the “ask.” He was on a television show last season. I’m also excited about casting “Brian Maley” and “Mickey Skee.” I’ve really enjoyed getting to know all the surviving members of this story, so I’m very protective of them and how they are going to be portrayed.
Who are the other actors in the film and who are they playing?
We currently have attached Missi Pyle as Sharon Kane, Ryan O’Connor as Chi Chi LaRue and Willam Belli as Karen Dior. I have a few television actors who are interested in some of the other roles, and it will just really come down to availability and their schedule. We’ve done three cast readings of the script and everyone who has seen it and knew “the pack” say that Ryan, Missi and Willam are “Larry,” “Sharon,” and “Karen.”
And we also attached an amazing actress today as “Anita Paul” who is a sensationalistic talk show host, but still waiting to clear her with her management. Her show is the device in which we tell the story. The “porn brat pack” went on several of these shock-talk shows back in the day, all naively thinking they were going to be talking about how great it is to be in the industry, only to get ambushed with “DRUGS! SEX! DEATH!”
What do you see as the message of Joey’s story?
In Birthday Cake, I had a sweet little comedy about a gay couple who were married and raising a child and exploring the family that the created with the friends and the people who loved them and X-Rated shares the similiar theme of creating your own family. Just obviously… a very different kind of family! The bond between Chi Chi and Sharon is still very strong today.
It took me a long time to earn the trust of the surviving members of the “brat pack,” but I know they trust me now to share their story. And if you follow Chi Chi LaRue, then you know she’s been sober for almost two years. That’s a good story. I’m so excited to show just a small part of Larry’s journey over his life. He’s transformed himself, literally, since the day of Nick’s death back in 1994. He’s overcome his addiction and does the work every day. He’s a survivor.