HOLLYWOOD HILLS, Calif. - There are very few homes in these hills closer to the Hollywood sign than this one. And what a home it is. A small castle, originally built as a Hollywood set in the 1930s, with winding hallways, secret doorways and out back there's even a clear view of the actual bat cave from the '60s "Batman" TV series.
It's the set of the Vampire Chronicles Volume 2: The Rebirth of Nickolas Esteban, the first production by Jennifer James' and Dru Berrrymore's new ArchAngel Productions (a prequel, presumably volume 1, will be shot later). They are going all out, shooting in high definition with a cast that includes AVN Female Performer of the Year Lauren Phoenix, Nick Manning, Julie Meadows, Steven St. Croix, Julie Night and several other top-notch names.
James DiGiorgio mans the heavy and bulky Sony S900 camera, a device bigger than he's used to handling. Shooting in a small room with just a lighting guy can be a hassle, even when you're catching Manning and Shay Sights in the act.
In the main room, James watches the monitor while Berrymore makes her way around the castle making sure everything is in running order — a tall task on a set that has dozens of people doing everything from cooking to makeup to shooting stills and much more.
"We're trying to make it look like a real movie," James says, "but it just happens to have some sex in it."
James wrote the script herself, which is the story of Nickolas Esteban, who in 1899 New Orleans is seduced by a beautiful vampire while on the way to visit his fianc. He becomes a vampire, too, and ends up killing his lover. As fate would have it, she is reincarnated a century later as a porn director, and they meet again.
Later they move on to a bigger room to shoot Julie Meadows' lesbo debut, which she will share with Sights.
"Honest to god," James says as the sun goes down, "we're shooting Gone With the Wind.They spent less time shooting Apocalypse Now."