James Deen – The Canyons


He’s not the first porn actor to cross over to the mainstream, and like those before him including Traci Lords and Sasha Grey, the project he signed on for go an inordinate amount of press because of it (more than the film deserved, according to some critics).

”The Canyons” (out now on DVD) was filmed for small change by Taxi Driver writer Paul Schrader from a script by Bret Easton Ellis, and it was the strangest of Hollywood beasts. Failing to set the box office alight after only a few screenings (the film took $56,000 in the US, about a fifth of the budget) much more attention was heaped on the stars and the personality clashes said to have plagued the set.

Curiosity might have driven the film to profitability in DVD and VOD, but either way it was a smart movie on Deen’s part to co-star with former actress turned professional party girl and courtroom bait Lindsay Lohan. It turned some of heat and spotlight away from himself, letting him just play the role of sociopathic film producer Christian.

He talked to Moviehole about whether banging chicks for a living (as his Twitter profile says) was easier than pimping LiLo out to strangers.


A lot of initial reports and interviews seemed to contradict each other. You were quoted as saying you’d rather stay in porn because Hollywood people are horrible to each other.

That’s very true.


But you also said you’d work with the cast and crew of The Canyons again.

This movie was very special. I was more referencing my experiences in the last two years with other people. I had such a good time and was totally ready do some more stuff, then I had meetings with producers and directors and all these people that wasn’t that great of an experience.

I shouldn’t talk so much shit. There are fantastic people in Hollywood, it’s just that I got spoiled on this movie because everyone cared so much and it was such a small project with so much heart. It gave me a perception that everyone in the mainstream entertainment industry was really awesome and cool and cared about what they did.


So if you were going to work in mainstream again, would you prefer something small like The Canyons?

I don’t know. I’ve never been on anything else so I don’t have any basis of comparison.


A lot of people would watch the film and think this guy who lives the high life in LA with a hot girlfriend and a different threesome every day is just James Deen. Did you worry people would just think you were playing yourself?

No, actually. The character’s pretty far away from who I am. I didn’t even think about it, I just tried to do a good job.


How’s the temperament on a porn set versus a mainstream project?

Porn’s actually a lot harder. We do all the acting and all the things that we did in The Canyons, but then we also have the sex scenes. So you have to train yourself mentally and emotionally and then you have to train yourself physically to make something that looks good on a very, very small budget. There’s a lot more work and it’s a lot of extra time on set.


Can you explain how a little kid grows up wanting to be a pornstar [Deen’s said he decided on his career after finding a nude magazine as a little boy]?

I wish I could. I can’t remember my conscious thoughts of when I was so young. It’s just something I’ve wanted to do my entire life.


Isn’t it a bit crazy for a child so young to grow up with that ambition?

That’s what I hear but it is what it is.


After everything you’ve done, is there a career plan?

If there was I would have a lot more knowledge when people ask me what I’m working on. I wish I had some sort of firm long term goals other than just being able to make awesome projects such as James Deen Loves Food and working on my movies and the jamesdeen.com stuff.


So you’re open to other mainstream movie roles?

I am now. When I first started I was like ‘no, not at all’. Now that I’ve finished the movie and it was such a great experience and so fun I would love to do it again.


Are people sending you scripts?

Nothing worth talking about.