AVN’s newly crowned Female Performer of the Year Lauren Phoenix on Wednesday walked off the set of her Mayhem directorial debut, Young Bung.
“I felt that as a director, I was not allowed or entitled the full responsibilities in terms of the creative force and the decision making, choice of cast list and generally type of movie that I wanted to make, including title and everything,” Phoenix exclusively told AVN Thursday. “And I just felt that I wanted to direct under different circumstances, and the circumstances that I was under were just not making me very happy. And I just felt that I wouldn’t be able to do the best job that I could do. I just felt that it wasn’t right for me.”
Specifically, Phoenix said, she was not pleased with Mayhem’s choice of performer Johnny Thrust as her production manager and that some of the performers she wanted in the production, including Katrina Kraven, were not cast.
Before leaving the Chatsworth set of Young Bung prior to any of the sex scenes beingshot, Phoenix said she telephoned Sin City’s Scott Justice and had an “amicable” conversation with him in which she “explained to him my grievances with the current situation and that I no longer wanted to be a part of the project.”
“I would never just leave” without making arrangements for someone else to step in and complete the project, she emphasized. “So I asked, in fact, if it could be turned over to” veteran director Jim Powers, who was shooting the title, or even possibly Ariana Jollee, a neophyte director herself, who was set to perform in it.
Sin City's Mark Snyder said that the Young Bung directorial reins were turned over to Jollee, and that the sex scenes were eventually all shot yesterday.
Snyder characterized the incident as more of a misunderstanding than anything else and said he hopes to sit down with Phoenix in the next day or two and discuss doing more projects together. He said he would jump at the chance to sign her to a contract. Phoenix said that she and Justice, who eventually came to the set and spoke further with her there, agreed to “reconvene” talks at a future date.
Snyder said he was only indirectly involved in yesterday’s shoot, but his understanding is that, “Lauren got there and it wasn’t exactly set up the way she expected. I think our people took some of the casting upon themselves. She was uncomfortable with Johnny Thrust as the production manager. There was a personality conflict. We hope that we can do another show at another time when she’s more comfortable. This is all what I’m hearing, and I believe what I’m hearing.”
“We like her,” he added. “She's great in our movies. We’d like to put her in every movie we make, all the time. And as far as I’ve been told, from everybody’s who’s spoken to her, she’s happy with us, too.”
But Phoenix said she was anything but happy with the press release Mayhem sent out yesterday stating that she was going to direct the Young Bung series in a non-contractual arrangement. Phoenix said she had asked Mayhem to merely announce that she was going to direct the debut volume of the line.
But after leaving the set, Phoenix said she was “disappointed” to learn that the press release had gone out announcing she was directing the line.
“Which would have meant that I would have been directing for Sin City exclusively,” she said, when, in fact, she’s in discussion with other production companies about a possible directing contract.
Snyder, meanwhile, said, “I personally have tried to offer her a deal — a contract. And there would be a contract, if she was interested. So, we’ll sit down in the next day or so and make sure that the next project is exactly the way she intends it to be. Listen, it doesn’t get any better than her.”