CHATSWORTH, Calif. - Director Will Ryder's name has become synonymous with spoof ever since he and producer Scott David knocked it out of the park with the Britney Rears franchise in 2004 and followed it up with the über-successful, award-winning Not the Bradys XXX. So it's only natural that Hustler Video called on Ryder again to deliver a spoof of the Bradys' foremost TV rivals: the Partridge Family.
Of course, this isn't "The Partridge Family." In fact, it ain't "The Partridge Family." It's This Ain't the Partridge Family XXX, and in this version the whole family is affected by a secret love potion ordered out of the back of a magazine by younger brother Danny that drives every member of the family into wild sexual situations.
As if the multi-colored minibus parked inside of LFP Studios in Chatsworth isn't enough to drive the young girls wild. Yes, Ryder's attention to detail extends beyond just a witty script, a sharp casting eye and polyester pants. He got the bus, too, and had it painted with the familiar red, yellow, white and blue block pattern that made the Partridge bus an icon of the '70s - even down to the sign posted on the back that reads, "Nervous Mother Driving."
Across the hall, Nick Manning is wearing a multi-colored, horizontal striped t-shirt and playing the subdued, almost sullen role of Keith Partridge. He is standing next to his "mom" Shirley (Payton Leigh), sister Laurie (Tori Black), younger sister Tracy (Faye Reagan) and band manager Reuben (James Bartholet.) Reuben is warning the family that if they don't stop their promiscuous ways and start writing song, they're going to blow their upcoming television appearance on the US Music Awards.
"Cut!" Ryder says and calls for the cast and crew to take lunch. "Faye, do you want to eat first or do your pretty girls?" Reagan will be shooting a sex scene with Dane Cross after lunch and Ryder gives her the choice to take pictures first, but he gets no reply. Reagan and Cross are off in an unlit part of the set with their arms wrapped around each other and faces pressed together.
"They're making out like dogs," one of the crew men notes, the implausibility of dogs pressing their lips together notwithstanding. But whatever they're making out like, they are certainly oblivious to anything else.
Moments later in the lunchroom, Ryder takes a break to discuss the project, and places it in both historical and legal context.
"Parody is a protected form of free speech, however it comes with guidelines are often gray areas," Ryder says. "From a production perspective, porn has a history of lampooning shows and movies. But we stay away from making a mockery of the titles we spoof. We have the utmost respect for our fans and the films we spoof. The fact that we turn it into a fuck movie - well, we are here to entertain.
"I studied the hell out of ["The Partridge Family"], as I do with everything I tackle. I'm also a fan of it, so I want to give it the respect it deserves. We have stayed very true to the show and our story could have fit in one of their episodes - if it was on cable TV."
One of the more impressive features of the production is Ryder's ability to get Nick Manning - who possesses one of the most dominating personalities in the business - to tone it down and squeeze himself into the sullen role of Keith.
Ryder's instructions to Manning were: "You have to leave Nick Manning at the door. No 'dropping loads'." "Dropping loads" is the notorious catch phrase Manning employs while blasting his money shot on his female co-stars.
"It wasn't really hard to get into character," says Manning. "First of all, when I was a kid, 'The Partridge Family' was on TV, so I've been watching that show all of my life. I paid attention to Keith because he was cool - and Laurie because she was fuckable.
"I started watching the show again when this role came about. I watched old episodes and I studied Keith's character. I lost almost 20 pounds for the role. I stopped lifting weights for one month and went from 200 to 182. And I cut my hair; I took four inches off.
"Compared to me, Keith is a lot less confident. I had to lose my mojo for the character. [Ryder] begged me, 'Please Nick. No dropping loads.'"
But Manning's mojo doesn't seem to have vanished, especially since the one thing everyone on set keeps talking about is the previous day's sex scene between Manning and Shawna Lenee (who plays Keith's girlfriend).
"We had a few groupies there - including Madison Scott and Jaclyn Case - who were just supposed to be there as eye candy," explains Ryder. "But the scene was so hot, before I knew it they were riding Manning and it became a four-way fuck fest."
"They weren't supposed to be in it, but I guess they wanted to fuck me," adds Manning. "I toned it down for the scene, but there was still some Nick Manning in there. Just no 'dropping loads.'"
Tori Black walks in, and with her straight brunette hair and all-American good looks she looks damn close to a modern Susan Dey.
"They picked me because I look like Susan Dey," Black notes. "Her character is very easy to play. She's sweet but sarcastic. She notices the comedy, but she's nice about it."
Black has a scene with Eric Swiss later in the day, but for the moment, she's eager to see Reagan and Cross bump and grind.
"I'm a voyeur," she adds before heading back onto set. "I'm going to go watch some sex. I'm going to watch Faye Reagan and her boyfriend Dane Cross."
Back on set, Reagan and Cross are in the midst of shooting stills and Cross is spreading Reagan open for the camera.
Ryder is about to start rolling video again, but notes, "We believe you can laugh and jerk off at the same time."
This Ain't The Partridge Family XXX is scheduled for a January 2009 release.