LOS ANGELES - A feature article in today's Los Angeles Times looks at the increased presence of porn stars in mainstream pop culture.
Times staff writer Reed Johnson cites the appearance of retired XXX performers Katie Morgan and Traci Lords in Kevin Smith's Zack & Miri Make a Porno, Sasha Grey's lead role in Steven Soderbergh's upcoming indie feature The Girlfriend Experience, and the ubiquitous porn star cameos in Jud Apatow's hit comedies as evidence of the trend.
"Adult actors and actresses are a part of pop culture now," AVN founder and president Paul Fishbein told the Times. "It's a little bit natural that some of the more talented people like Katie Morgan and Sasha Grey would have an opportunity to flash a bit more of their acting muscle."
Oscar-winning director Soderbergh praised Grey's acting in The Girlfriend Experience, which wrapped last week in New York City. "She's really good, totally fearless, very smart," he said. "It certainly didn't seem like there was anything I could suggest that she couldn't handle."
Smith remarked that the porno humor on display in Zack and Miri and Apatow's films recaptures an element that has disappeared from contemporary adult videos.
"Back in the early days of porn, all the porn had a sense of humor to it, very bawdy, very winky, almost vaudevillian," Smith said. "It feels to me like the sense of humor has seeped out of porn. Audiences want to go straight to the action."
The article name-checks Ron Jeremy, Marilyn Chambers, Nina Hartley, and Jenna Jameson as past examples of the crossover phenomenon. In recent years, Johnson argues, an increasingly relaxed attitude toward X-rated movies can be seen as an influence not only on movies and TV shows, but in video games, fashion, and the cult of celebrity.
Soderbergh pointed to the Paris Hilton sex tape as a defining moment in the social acceptance of porn. "That changed everything," he said. "Or it didn't change everything; it confirmed that everything had changed."
But Fishbein remarked that some things will never change when it comes to the line drawn between the adult industry and Hollywood.
"Adult's never going to be mainstream in the true sense of the word," Fishbein said. "I don't think you're going to see hard-core sex scenes in movies that Paramount and 20th Century Fox are releasing."
To read the full article, click here.
Pictured: Katie Morgan