Due to the size of this interview, I had to split it into two parts - sorry for the inconvenience. - JOAD
JOAD: How would you compare the adult industry of yesterday to that of today?
JEREMY: Porn has changed in the fact that years ago it was the renegade, hippy-dippy, pot smoking flower children amidst the sexual revolution of the seventies. And the porn industry, it was all a bunch of young kids having fun. And I was one of them. Just doing a fun, renegade business, making a few bucks and having some fun. Now it’s become such amazingly big business, you know with the internet and the kinds of salaries now that the video companies now marketing more porno films that now last forever. Before, it played in the theater and it was gone. Now it lasts forever in a way and companies make money on that and now these young moguls that are now involved in video companies have taken over and a lot of the old filmmakers are basically dying poor. Gerard Damiano Deep Throat and The Devil in Miss Jones - he hasn’t got a tenth of the money the head of Vivid would have, or the head of VCA or Wicked or LeisureTime or Metro. Metro, actually, is now owned by the stockholders. Metro is now publicly traded, so porn is becoming very much business-like, which is good in a way. Now the women, with their contracts and their personal video store appearances and night club appearances at topless clubs, nude clubs, the girls are making anywhere from $100,000 to $250,000 a year. The men aren’t. Nowhere near it. So that’s one nice thing about the current advent. The girls are getting prettier, not that porn is getting more accepted, more girls are willing to do it. You know, the dancers who make $1000 a week at a club in America, they see the porn star can make $18,000 in that same week. ‘Now wait a minute, she goes to L.A. has a little sex and now she’s making eighteen grand while I’m making a grand? And I’m a better dancer, I’m better looking, I’m gonna go to California!’ Next thing you know, you have all these girls coming to California, but they are also being very selective, or they’ll only work with their boyfriend. Or just do girl-girl, like Janine, or they’ll only just do a few guys. So the girls get so selective, that we get girls coming in from Europe. When Russia and Hungary lost their communism and became capitalist. This whole influx of girls came over from Budapest, Czechoslovaakia, Russia and Slovenia, all doing porn films here and the job market is so intense. There are so many girls wanting to porn today, that there are way more girls than there are jobs. A lot of the girls are now working at the bunny ranch! Which is totally bizarre... years ago they wouldn’t even admit to doing private things like that, and now they’re advertising! Some of the biggest names: Sunset Thomas, Teri Weigel, Milla, Ruby... it’s amazing! So now we’re getting better looking women, less story line, more wall-to-wall sex films, hotter sex and less production value. No big features, no big trips to Hawaii, or big films in big studios, caves, castles... now it’s pretty much just wall-to-wall sex. There’s still some of those classier, big budget films, but those films are the minority. The majority are what you’d call wall-to-wall, gonzo, amateur, pro-amateur. Those are the main staple in the market right now.
JOAD: How do you think the new president in office will affect the adult industry?
JEREMY: It’s a fact of life and you cannot deny the fact that republicans have made it a point to care what goes on in people’s bedrooms. Democrats do not. It’s even in their platforms, which I’ve read. Every religious network, every religious leader, every religious person basically endorses Republican. The 700 Club and all the various organizations endorse Republicans. So when they get into office, they have to satisfy their constituents that put them into power, they have to throw the bone back. What’s the first thing they do? They prosecute porn. So under the Reagan-Bush administration years ago, they were prosecuting porn like crazy on a federal level. They find a jury down south that will find a film obscene and they prosecute the company in Los Angeles, knowing they cannot get a jury in L.A., New York or Chicago to find a film obscene. But in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Mississippi, you’ll find that - so the republicans are prosecuting. When Clinton and Janet Reno came into power, the prosecutions stopped dead. None, no more, finished. Even my friends went to jail under the republicans, Mark Carrier, Mark Hampshire, Mike Warner, the heads of the big companies. With the democrats are in power, the prosecutions stopped and we’ve had a heyday. Some companies even pushed the envelope a little bit, making films that are a little nastier than what we were allowed to do earlier. Max Hardcore, Extreme, Dark Brothers... so now that we’ve got Bush back in office, it’s back to the dark ages again. Now they’re worried about being prosecuted, they’re cleaning up, they’re now stopping a lot of films from being made. No more gangbangs are being shot, they even stopped black and white! Because juries down south would find a scene with a black and a white obscene. It’s a racial thing, not a sex thing. It was disgusting what they were doing, if the NAACP or some of the black organizations knew how disgusting that was for the FBI to do that. To find a film more obscene because there’s a black guy in it, no matter what the sex is. That’s not an obscene thing, that’s a racial thing. They were appealing to that part of that southern juror, to figure he’s bigoted, and they would show him that to get an obscene conviction. I would assume they would show a transsexual scene or a bondage scene, or something totally sexually bizarre, but they weren’t even using those tapes. They were using tapes with scenes of black guys and white girls. That’s why right now the porn business has discontinued a lot of it’s black and white lines of films, which I find very disgusting. One step forward, ten steps back - politically we suck. We’re just caving into the pressure of the republicans, but we have to because our lawyers are telling us to. I can’t really stand here and say, we really shouldn’t do this, because I’m just an actor/director myself. I don’t go to jail. They try to use me to testify against the guys who go to jail, which I don’t. But I think it’s really horrible that it’s happening, you know?
JOAD: The vicious circle...
JEREMY: We’re going to see some busts. They say it’s inevitable. They already busted Seymore Butts, he supposedly took a hit.
JOAD: What?! What happened to Seymore?
JEREMY: Under the new administration because they thought some of his squirting tapes were too strong, you know? So the FBI busted him based on the fact that it could look like they were taking a pee or something like that. Ludicrous. Whatever it is, I mean, his stuff isn’t even that offensive.
JOAD: How did you initially hook up with Seymore Butts?
JEREMY: I’ve known Seymore for years, I’m under contract right now with Metro Home Video. But Seymore and I have always been friends. I’ve worked with him, for him and he’s always been great. I like his tapes, because he likes for the girls to smile.
JOAD: Seymore is one of my favorites. He seems genuine.
JEREMY: Yeah, Max Hardcore doesn’t care if the girl is in pain, in fact he likes that when they’re going (makes shocked, painful OUCH! face) and Seymore really likes the girls to smile. If a girl is not smiling, he cuts immediately. Because if you don’t like an anal sex scene, don’t do the anal sex scene. He doesn’t want girls to do it just or the money, he wants them to like it. That’s why in his scenes, the girls are always smiling and the sex is always hot. He is one of the best choreographers of a sex scene. I wouldn’t say the best director, because I like John Leslie’s dialogue scenes, I like Andrew Blake’s camera angles, I like Michael Ninn’s editing abilities and his digital morphing. So a lot of guys are good in porn, but when it comes to hardcore anal sex, I think Seymore Butts is the best. He’s a nice guy, too - people find him very pleasant.
JOAD: Who are some of your favorite collaborators?
JEREMY: There are so many. Again, I’ve had luck with some directors who seem to use me a lot who are friends of mine. I love Trey Parker and I enjoyed being in Orgazmo. Troy Duffy, who is going to use me again, did Boondocks Saints. My favorite of course is Adam Rifkin, who is not only a great writer, he wrote Mousehunt - which made a tremendous amount of money and put him in league with the highest paid Hollywood screenwriters, he is just a great guy. Adam’s a good friend and he’s all over my documentary, too. He directed Detroit Rock City, and he put me in The Chase and he put me in Denial, with Patrick Dempsey and Jason Alexander. He put me in a TV series for kids, in which I had to go in under thick make-up. I’m also in his new film, which is premiering tomorrow night at Paramount Studios called Night at the Golden Eagle with James Caan. Another film after that, called Without Charlie - so he’s just a very, very loyal friend. John Frankenheimer has used me five times and I respect him a lot. I was also a great fan of his - what a great director! Who didn’t like The Manchurian Candidate?
JOAD: How did you hook up with John Frankenheimer?
JEREMY: I met him on an adult set, when he was scouting locations. Locations only - not that he enjoyed seeing the sex scenes, just locations, and we became friends. I helped him cast some of his movie, 52 Pick-Up, where there are eleven porn stars in the film. All of them got their Screen Actors Guild cards, by the way, and (wryly) I never got a thank you! But if you remember the party scene in 52 Pick-Up, with Roy Scheider and Ann Margaret - a great little film, [the porn stars] had dialogue scenes! Jamie Gillis, Amber Lynn, Tom Byron, Herschell Savage, you know - and John and I have been friends ever since. He’s used me in a lot of his films, although I got cut from the last two which was sad...
JOAD: Reindeer Games and ...
JEREMY: Reindeer Games and Ronin are the two I got cut out of. Reindeer Games is mostly voice-overs, Ronin I actually got to go to France, but I got cut because the studio had a problem with me. I shot it in Canne, France and you ought to see the pictures I got, I’m going to have them up on my website soon. www.ronjeremy.com
JOAD: How early did Paul Thomas Anderson involve you in Boogie Nights? Had he completed the script or were you consulted even earlier?
JEREMY: I was involved in Boogie Nights almost a year before it was even shot. Paul Thomas Anderson was writing it, and as he was going along, he went to five or six of my sets, went to the Adult Video News Awards Show in Vegas, with Mike DeLuca and some of the cast. He went to Canne, to the Hot D’eoure, our ticket for the Cannes D’eoure, and I actually paid to get him into that one. I also did some location scouting, taking him to three different locations - the location they used for the prison scene with the Colonel and all those scenes that took place in the back room, the storeroom where they shot the porno are all locations that I discovered for him. I also helped put some people in the cast, I placed Veronica Hart as the part of the judge, Nina Hartley they wanted and I helped them get ahold of her, I got them little Cinderella, the cocaine girl, I brought to Jim South’s Agency. Tony Tedeshi, the guy who gets shot during the scene with Nina Hartley, who was cut from the film like I was. Yeah - I was also in the movie, I was in the prison scene but I got cut out. I also helped cast the two girls in the jacuzzi, and some of the amateur kids I placed. So I had a lot of little bits like that, which is why I got the consultant credit. You know, Paul is a tough guy to work for, but he knows what he wants. He’s an excellent filmmaker - a genius, and you can’t take that away from him. He keeps a closed set, even for me sometimes! But he has his sets closed and he likes things done a certain way - you can’t even see a script until the day of shooting, basically. But he’s a very disciplined filmmaker and he’s just a kid - he’s so young! I have socks older than he is. Hopefully we’ll work together again someday - he likes a lot of improv, which I like too, you know.
JOAD: How did Trey Parker approach you for Jizzmaster Zero?
JEREMY: That’s funny because originally Trey Parker and Matt Stone shot a short to get funding. I had a part in the short - I was originally the director. It was October Films, or maybe it was Trey and Matt that thought a porn star playing a porn director might hit too close to home. So they hired an unknown for the director and brought me over as the henchman, Jizzmaster Zero and as Clark. If you notice in the movie that he has a lot of names that are based on Roy. There’s Clark, there’s a character called Orbison, you know, one of his little jokes. The funny thing about Orgazmo, is that I never really understood what they were doing until it was all finished. Like, when the girl goes to take off her bra, a guy’s ass gets in the way - we never see tits. I said, ‘Trey, with all these gorgeous girls, and you don’t have any tits!’ He goes, ‘Ron, you just don’t get it.’ Later on, when I get my faced kicked in during the karate scene and then I come back to life later on, I asked Trey, ‘Didn’t I just have my head smashed in?’ I hadn’t seen South Park, so I didn’t know anything about Kenny coming back all the time. Then the scene with the model, you know, I saw the dailies for the model, they were going to use the footage of the house blowing up, and then you see the miniature on fire but the camera stays on it a little too long. If the camera would have left it, it would have looked like a real house! By keeping the camera there, it actually shows that it’s a model. I said, ‘Trey - it looks like it’s a model!’ ‘Ron, you just don’t get it’ he told me. So then at the screening and Trey is sitting next to me during the whole film, and he goes, ‘Well?’ I told him, ‘all right - I got it.’ Trey announces, Ron FINALLY got it! It’s just that they’re so quirky. You know, it’s supposed to not make sense during certain things, like at the end when he gave me the line, ‘I learned something new about myself, that my head can be reattached, you know, just bizarre. That’s just how they make their films, and they shot Orgazmo non-union. Which is why the union had a problem with them for awhile. They were on the do not work for list for the Screen Actors Guild because Trey Parker doesn’t want to negotiate. Another funny story is that they were offered an ‘R’ rating, which would have put it into theaters all over the country, they did good at Sundance and Toronto and Orgazmo was going to be a big film, then it got NC-17 for one little scene. The head of Landmark Theaters told me this. One five second scene gave it the NC-17, they told Trey that if he’d get rid of the scene, he’d get an ‘R’ rating and he doesn’t negotiate, you know what the scene was? It was the lady sitting on the bed, saying, ‘I’m a little older, so I’ve gotta do a lot of anal, double anal, double vaginal, DP, DVDA, DPDVDA, if I don’t do a DPDVDA I can’t get work!’ That one little thing cost him his rating. And I said to Trey, ‘Wouldn’t it pay to cut that little five second scene and have the R-rating?’ He put his arm around me and goes, ‘You know, Ron? I don’t cave into pressure. You know, aside from Comedy Central, there were other networks that wanted us, but we want to keep it dirty so we stay at Comedy Central. You know, the first thing that October Films wanted us to get rid of before we even shot the film, was you.’ I’m going, ‘You know? You’ve gotta stick to your guns, don’t you dare buckle under, be tough!’ I love that story. So that five seconds cost him an NC-17, but those guys are just wild, crazy guys, but they are great guys.
JOAD: Did you get to keep your Jizzmaster Zero action figure?
JEREMY: I have some of the clothing from Jizzmaster Zero and a lot of fun memorabilia. I got stuff from Boogie Nights, don’t forget the original cast was to include Leonardo DiCaprio. The whole cast came on my set. They were watching me direct movies, in fact, Paul and his girlfriend at the time, Wendy, even caught me directing the Divine Brown film of the Hugh Grant scandal. That’s how far back we’re going, you know? He came to a lot of my sets, maybe even more than five or six... and the thing is, I still have the mock-up box covers, one guy stole it and tried to sell it to the Enquirer way before the film was even released. I know the guy too, his name is Ritchie - and he took the box from my apartment, Paul told me that this couldn’t get out there so I went to Ritchie and told him that if he sells it, they’re going to sue him. So he stopped it and I took the box back from him. So now I hold the only ones that are in existence. The mock-up boxes with Julianne Moore and Heather Graham making believe they’re porn stars on boxes, looking like porno shoots and Mark Wahlberg in these ridiculous titles and all these costumes - aren’t those fun little trinkets to have? Being involved in some of these films, I’ve got pictures with Kim Basinger that I put up on my website and also pictures of me with Adrian Lynne - the director from the wrap party for 9 1/2 Weeks. Adrian told the press that I was extremely helpful in the making of 9 1/2 Weeks.
JOAD: How involved were you?
JEREMY: Again, I got some of the cast together, some of the locations... even some of the ways of shooting that scene with the live couple having sex when Kim Basinger walks in. I got a special consultant for that too. In fact, Adrian put my name way up on the scroll, whereas Boogie Nights: WAY at the end! They even stuck my credit after the music rolled, which I felt was kind of mean. Paul said to me, ‘Ron, there’s your credit!’ I said, ’Yeah, I could have had a walk around the block, watched another movie and come back and still had time to see it. The audience would be dead by the time my name hits the screen.
JOAD: What is your opinion of the porn documentaries that have been coming out that seem to take a negative slant on the industry?
JEREMY: The thing about mine, which is so unusual, is that I seem normal. It’s like this guy who’s just a regular guy having all this fun and having a college education. A lot of the documentaries, people had some problems and maybe I do too - and we all do in some ways, but what with John Holmes being involved in murder and theft, serious drugs. Annabel Chong and her big confrontation with her mom who didn’t know what she was doing and breaking the hearts of her family in Taiwan & Stacey Valentine, having both positive and negative attitudes about the business. Again, I have all kinds of opinions that I don’t want to say, but these are all good kids. Stacey and Annabel - I’m in Annabel’s film, I’m also in John Holmes’ documentary. Mine is more of a fun, uplifting in the sense that you look at theirs and you almost feel guilty watching a porno film afterwards. You watch Annabell Chong, Stacey Valentine or John Holmes and you’re not going to want to watch a porno film for a year or two. You watch mine, you might want to watch a porno film tomorrow. Mine shows the fun, upside to porn, which is what it really is! It’s just a business, my standard line when I go on the talk shows has always been the same thing, the Geraldo’s, the Jerry Springers - everything I do is the same thing they do, except that I do it in front of a camera. I don’t really do anything out of the ordinary, all that kinky, I don’t do the Max Hardcore stuff, I don’t any S&M/B&D films, nothing wrong with them, I just don’t do them. What I do on camera is the same thing that everyone else does WITHOUT a camera. It’s consenting adults having consenting sex for a consenting audience. It’s so simple, you know? It’s just another part of the wide world of entertainment. Like I always say, if you want to get scared, watch a Brian DePalma movie, if you want to laugh - watch a Monty Python movie. If you want to get romantic, watch Terms of Endearment or Wuthering Heights or Love Story. You want to get a little sexually incited? Watch a little porn. It’s just part of that wide world of entertainment - nothing more, nothing less. They make big deals about it, but they shouldn’t. So I think that my documentary will give you a nice attitude about it. Kinda like, I thought you got with Boogie Nights. People who saw Boogie Nights feel that the freedom of speech does exist and should exist. Porn films have their right and they have their place as part of that wide world of entertainment. I think my documentary will show you the same thing.
JOAD: Let’s say you have final cut of PORNSTAR: THE LEGEND OF RON JEREMY - what would you have changed? What did Scott miss that he should have put in there...
JEREMY: (Laughing) Ah, Scott hates this... if I had final cut on my documentary, first of all - I like what he did a lot. I’m very happy with it and he really did a great job. That’s why I’m endorsing it. I’m amazed Annabel and Stacy Valentine did appearances with their films, a lot of it wasn’t made to look too good. I’m proud to be seen with this documentary because it’s very nice. These guys kept their word to me that they would keep it very positive and fun. They didn’t come across a lot of negative stuff, as Scott has said in his interviews, not a lot of people have anything bad to say about me! Thank god. Just a fun loving guy, basically, I guess. What I would have liked to have had more of were some of my romantic relationships, he had a lot of a girl named Dennis, who I’ve loved for twelve years. She said such nice things and had such a beautiful voice with such a beautiful face - she is so photogenic. I think it would have been great to have had more of her in the documentary. I would have liked to have had more of my mom, there was some of my mom and I heard the audience get so choked when we discuss her death and Parkinson’s disease, but the facts about her being in the CIA during World War II and that I have some war heroes in my family, which is why I wear the flag (ring) on my finger. So I would have liked to have had a little more of that. He put a lot in the credits at the end. More celebrities of course, more of Slash, Bill Kinison (Sam’s brother), we had Trey Parker in it... so some people were cut and again Scott does what he has to do as a director. If it didn’t really fit into the scheme of things, if it slowed the rhythm of it, I see his point as a filmmaker. So I might want to go in there, but if he says, ‘Ronnie, it just didn’t fit.’ It’s like with Trey Parker, ‘Ronnie, you just don’t get it.’ Basically, he’s the filmmaker and I’m not. So I take his word, if it didn’t fit, it didn’t fit.
JOAD: How long did it take for Scott to convince you that he was going to do a good job?
JEREMY: Well, I didn’t really want to do a documentary in general, but then I saw that these guys are good guys. I saw what they had done in the past, the things they’ve produced. They’re really nice guys! The thing is, and I’ll tell you the truth: If I had final cut on this film, which I never got, you’re not going to believe this, but I’d leave it just the way it is. I would tell Scott that if this is the way you really like it, then this is the way I want it to stay. Isn’t that romantic? That’s because we bond. I figure he’s the filmmaker, I’m the subject, although I would like to have certain things in the film, if Scott really felt that they didn’t fit, if I had final cut, I would take Scott and leave the final cut with him. I would pass the reigns to him anyway. TOM JOAD: What are you working on right now? RON JEREMY: I’ve got a lot of projects going right now. I just did a film called Fast Sofa with Eric Roberts and Jennifer Tilly, I just did the Man Show and I’m preparing to go back again real soon. I’ve got a good agent who is getting me good interviews right now. I’m on the Andy Dick show and they’re going to rerun that again. I’ve got some things on MTV coming up, a big video coming out on VH-1, Voodoo Circus. This coming Saturday I’ll be on MTV on Porn to Rock and next week I’ll be on Moral Court. I also did Ben Stein’s money. I was a contestant on the show and I sucked. It was me, Houston and Nicole Sheridan. I’m doing a comedy show in Detroit this weekend. I’m introducing Snoop Dog onstage pretty soon, I’ve got a few more gigs with Kid Rock coming up, I introduce a lot of big rock stars and I enjoy doing that. I’ve got a Troma Film coming out called Toxic Avenger 4: Citizen Toxie... and I’m not even scratching the surface. Lemme look at my calendar I’ll give you more details. It’s nice being busy, it’s what I like to do. I can be a workaholic and I enjoy it. In fact, the work is more fun than when you’re not working, cause when you’re not working you’ve got to make calls and find out why you’re not working!
JOAD: So what question did I not ask Ron Jeremy that I should have?
JEREMY: You did fine. The old standard questions that people always ask: Do you worry about diseases? What’s it like having sex with Christi Canyon? You asked very intelligent, though provoking questions. You asked good essays. I’ll give you final cut on this, too! Which you have!
JOAD: Yeah, I don’t know what you’re going to do about it... but thank you so much - this was really great.
JEREMY: You’re welcome.
>Annette and I have to concur with Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn by saying that meeting Ron Jeremy proved to be a very warm experience and that we look forward to seeing him again someday.
Until next time - Tom Joad