My first glimpse of Brianna Love comes as soon as I walk into the corner bar on this warm Sunday morning in downtown Pasadena. The star of John Leslie’s first feature movie in a decade is reciting her lines in a skin-tight, black body suit, and she has everyone’s attention. (photo gallery)
The 21-year-old starlet performed only in girl/girl scenes for her first year in adult and then worked exclusively for Red Light District for two years before becoming a free agent. Now she is enjoying the possibilities, including taking on this acting role in Brianna Love – Her Fine, Sexy Self.
“I like lines,” she says during a break. “I like to use my brain.”
Love tells me that she met Leslie through his close friend, fellow director Joey Silvera. She said that she definitely knew of Leslie prior to that.
“Everybody knows him. He’s a legend,” she says.
Love admits that Leslie’s excitement about the project has made her just a bit nervous, but “when he has the camera in his hands everything just goes right.”
She tells me the bar that we’re in is the thread that ties the movie together.
“All the pickups happen here,” she says. “I’ve been sneaking into the bar since I was a little girl. I’m part of the family.”
Leslie has even taken a role in the movie, playing Frankie Dap, a longtime patron of the bar who looks out for people in the neighborhood. When he hears that a local girl has been beaten up, Frankie seeks justice for the act. Today’s dialogue scenes construct that part of the story, before a three-way this evening that involves Love, bar regular Robin (Roxy DeVille) and Bulldog (John West), who is one of Dap’s associates.
Leslie, an AVN Hall of Fame director and actor, last shot a feature in 1997 – the original Drop Sex. It’s evident on this day that he commands the room, giving precise directions and even taking a moment to compliment over a dozen extras for their cooperation.
Leslie steps outside for a smoke.
“We don’t have a big crew,” he says humbly. “We got just enough cowboys to do it. … When it’s over, I think it’ll be moving, in a subtle way.”
After the movie wrapped, Leslie took a break from editing to discuss his inspiration for the project.
“When I saw Brianna Love, I thought boy she’s great, she’d really be good to do a whole movie about her. I thought she was quite exceptional looking and performing, sort of like I did with the Naomi project,” Leslie explained.
In March of 2006, Leslie released Naomi: There’s Only One, featuring the eventual winner of the 2007 AVN award for Best New Starlet in every scene.
“There is always room for a vignette movie with one girl if she’s spectacular enough, but I thought let’s do something else, a script.”
Leslie drew from his initial conversation with Love in writing the script about a girl who looks sweet, but is actually tough and knows how to handle herself. He also decided to take the role as Dap, who has known Love’s character since she was a kid.
“It’s explained by her narrative,” Leslie continued. “I knew her since she was a little girl and always liked her. She sort of treated me the same way, like her uncle. If anything happened I’d straighten it out. That’s how the script developed out of that.”
Leslie then worked in sex scenes revolving around Brianna’s experiences. Dap never passed judgment on her character or her sexual exploits, and “she respected me for that.”
“I always said life is about having a good time,” he said.
The underlying plot involves somebody beating up girls and supposedly pissing on them, but Leslie doesn’t show any of that in the movie.
Aside from Love, the director also came away impressed with the rest of the cast. Roxy DeVille was “perfect” as Robin, he said. Leslie also lauded supporting character Darryl Hannah and Derrick Pierce, who played Bernard.
“He just seemed to fall right into it,” Leslie continued. “Then there was Bulldog – John West. He doesn’t say much, he’s just with me all the time. I thought he was perfect, wonderful. And I had a character named Solo. When Christina Aguchi walked in, I said there [she] is.”
Meanwhile, Mr. Pete played a childhood friend of Brianna’s named Petey.
“They seem like almost the same age, and that combination seemed to work,” Leslie added. “... Then I had Jeff Marton play this character that would bartend. He had a good personality and when we have the scenes behind the bar, he’s just laughing and talking. His storytelling is kind of fun. It worked. I was very fortunate.”
Leslie told AVN that casting a movie and doing features is difficult nowadays. “You have to go into the pool of talent that’s not under contract. It’s hard to get the right people and see if they make a commitment. You cannot do this without some rehearsing. You have to get the people to focus on what they’re doing, not the lines they’re saying and that takes some extra work.”
Leslie said that the course of this movie reminded him of some of his previous works such as Chameleons: Not the Sequel, Dog Walker and the original Fresh Meat: A Ghost Story.
“It was about getting that commitment from people and telling a story and I got that similar feeling when it was over,” Leslie explained. “I was sad when it was over.
“I missed the people. You get very close to the people you’re working with, very, very close. You get very intimate with them in an emotional sense. You see how they try, how much they give you. It’s quite moving emotionally in your heart, when you have that kind of display. You remember that always, and you think about them afterward. I think it stays with them also. It becomes a wonderful experience for them.”
Overall, Leslie said, “I was very impressed with the performances. Not that this is Gone with the Wind, I’m not saying that. But I believed them. When I was doing the scenes with them or watching them in another scene, I believed in what they were saying.”
Leslie rewrote a few of the sequences in the script during production, scribbling the notes out in long-hand including the last line of the movie.
“And it just seemed to work…When you’re doing something it’s constantly evolving, it’s changing,” he said, noting that he added a scene where he and Love sit out on the terrace of his hotel room talking.
But it’s Love’s magnetic presence that carries the movie.
“It takes a very rare person to be in all those scenes,” Leslie said. “You have to look great. She never looks bad. She just seems to look great in every aspect of it. It’s hard to do a bad picture of her. Her face is really the thing, and her personality all comes through that. She’s a very likable character.”
The on-screen relationship between Leslie’s Dap and Love’s character also inspired him to write a song that will play during the parts of the movie. Told from Love’s perspective, the song is called “Tell Me What I Have to Do,” and has a jazzy, R&B flavor, Leslie said.
she’s in love with me, that’s in the back of her mind. It’s not reality. It’s
not even in her mind. This is underneath things,” he said. “That happens with
Leslie continued, “It’s an underlying
thing that I felt in the movie. I thought it encompasses the feeling the two
characters have, but it’s not really a thought. It’s a thought for the
John Leslie Productions' Brianna Love – Her Fine, Sexy Self will be released by Evil Angel on Sept. 26 on a three disc-set, including one disc of the original music for the movie.
To see a photo gallery from the set by Kevin Moore, click here.