A Minute With Director John Stagliano

John Stagliano

John Stagliano (Photo courtesy of Evil Angel. Used with permission.)

by Flash

John Stagliano is a true legend within the adult film industry; he started in the adult industry in 1974 as a performer in adult loops and appeared as an actor in his first adult feature film in an uncredited role in 1976’s Coming Attractions. In 1979 Stagliano was hired as one of the first dancers in the famous Chippendales male burlesque show.

Stagliano’s first directing venture was 1983’s Bouncing Buns, a shot on video production he made for $8,000. Stagliano quickly became known for his love of the female tush and his ability to worship it in his movies. In 1989, tired of just making money off of selling his videos to a distribution company, Stagliano formed Evil Angel, a new kind of adult movie distribution company. The directors that Evil Angel distributed for own their own movies, a concept that continues to this day. Among the many directors who have had their movies distributed under the Evil Angel banner are Alex de Renzy, Bruce Seven, Gregory Dark, Rocco Siffredi, John Leslie, Joey Silvera, and Jules Jordan, just to name a few.

The first movie that Stagliano released under the Evil Angel banner was 1989’s Dance Fire. The ninth movie to come out under the Evil Angel banner, The Adventures of Buttman, not only created the now famous Buttman persona but also created the gonzo adult movie shooting style that is still heavily used to this day. Stagliano co-developed the sub-brand Elegant Angel, with Patrick Collins, that would eventually separate itself from Evil Angel. Stagliano’s love for the female posterior caused his Buttman line to be a huge success.

For Evil Angel and Stagliano, the hits just kept coming. In 2002 he created the epic adult feature film The Fashionistas, that won 12 AVN Awards and in 2004 was turned into a musical stage show that played at the Krāve Nightclub at the Aladdin in Las Vegas. The stage show ran until 2008. Stagliano’s most recent epic feature movie, Hard in Love Volume 1 and Hard in Love Volume 2 tells the psychotic love story of two lovers portrayed by Samantha Bentley and Misha Cross.

Flash: You rarely make feature-based adult movies. When you do make one, is it due to having an idea that is feature worthy or from wanting to make a feature movie?

John Stagliano (JS): I would say more than half my time has been spent making features, certainly since I started the vampire series in ’12, but I have done other stuff. The reason why I go back and forth is because my overall goal for being in porn is to make interesting movies that are mostly features and feature-kind-of-experiments and that’s my main focus and the other stuff is more just for fun kinda, the Buttman stuff.

Flash: What caused you to go with the idea of making an all-girl feature film?

JS: I have seen a lot of good girl/girl stuff at Evil Angel for the last 10, or 15, or 20 years. I’ve liked the energy between women and when you have a male in the equation it’s a different kind of sexuality, it’s a different kind of energy, and so I want to say that it’s easier, kind of, but also it’s just different and more nuanced maybe, I don’t know. But there’s a big genre of girl on girl stuff from Girlfriends to the other, more sophisticated perhaps, girl lines like Girlsway. That’s interesting to me but I felt that I could do something different.

Flash: How did the idea for Hard in Love first develop?

JS: Well, I had been with Samantha Bentley and Misha Cross October 14 in Berlin at Venus Fair. They were there doing some interviews and promotions for Evil Angel and also just there on their own for their own interests. We went to Insomnia together one night and we viewed the scene that I shot with Samantha Bentley and Rocco there and we got to talk for a long time about movie making and ideas. The two of them were very motivated and interested in this idea. I had been thinking about doing something called Hard in Love for a while. They seemed to be two good actresses who understand what I wanted in terms of a relationship, which is basically a psychotic relationship between females, it’s crazy and interesting to look at and passionate. And that’s what my overall goal was. And then talking to them I realized that they would be able to come up with most of the really good story stuff so that’s how we worked. We worked together on the script but they did the primary stuff.

Flash: Do you think that there are more challenges involved with creating a plot-based adult film that consists only of girl on girl scenes?

JS: Technically it’s easier; the challenges are marketing it perhaps, I don’t know. If you want to be good the space is competitive, you’ve got to be really smart about it. The challenges are to compete in a strong market for the ideal girl/girl sex plus I’m appealing also to people that might like me as a director and there’s, you know, strong anal sex and a lot of strong oral. Really the sophistication of adult performers today with how they do hard sex is a very interesting thing for me to work with.

Flash: The script for Hard in Love was written by two of the stars whereas The Fashionistas was written by you. Do you find it harder to direct one of your own scripts or one that was written by the stars of the production and why?

JS: Well, it might depend on what the script was. Certainly, in this case, where I’m doing a less expensive movie by far than The Fashionistas, where I have the writers participating. It’s really a group effort to integrate in shots and interesting picture and story for sex with their whole overall story concept and dynamic. It was very nice to have them there to discuss. If you look at the behind the scenes for Hard in Love you’ll see some interesting things that reveal the directing process where if there’s a break in the scene when we’re discussing what’s happening, I recorded that and you can kind of see the process. Also, there are the writing sessions that I recorded between Mischa and Samantha and me and when they were presenting me their vision of how this should all work together. It was really an interesting experience.

Flash: After the breakout success of The Fashionistas, which even became a Las Vegas stage show, did you worry when creating Hard in Love that viewers would judge it based on how it compared with The Fashionistas?

JS: The Fashionistas was done years and years ago and this was Hard in Love, which is a much lower budget movie even than my vampire movies which I had done about six DVDs worth of movies. So The Fashionistas really wasn’t crossing my mind in any way shape or form.

Flash: Your feature movies contain harder edged sex than most feature movies. Do you find that you push the actresses for a more intense and harder-edged performance or they push you for a more intense and harder-edged performance when shooting?

JS: The evolution of how performers do sex has been very interesting to me and I put in stronger sex in my movies it’s always with people particularly cast who I know have done some really strong stuff and I don’t think I pushed people beyond what I’ve seen them already do. I don’t necessarily push people it’s a subtle thing like we know what we’re here to do and I’m coming up with ideas perhaps and they’re coming up with ideas. And who does the crazier stuff? Well, I have say over the years I’ve found that females seem to come up with crazier stuff than us males can come up with generally speaking.

Flash: What was your favorite aspect of making Hard in Love?

JS: It was working with two very intelligent smart people, Samantha Bentley and Misha Cross, but also one of the best people that I’ve ever hired as just the third person in the movie was Angel Long who came in and really brought it all together because of her personality and what she is, which like is a bodybuilder lean performer today, when she was in the business like 12 to 13 years ago but now she’s just directing and doing some more dominant stuff in England. She fit this character and as the driver, with all the jealousy and stuff we did in the movie, and she fit that perfectly. She was a great pleasure to work with. So the cast really and then Jessie Volt was fun to have around too and Proxy Paige. Sorry, I love Proxy she was great.

Flash: Are there any other feature projects on the horizon for you?

JS: Yes, someday I’ll probably do another Fashionistas. It could be next year, it could be later. I have other non-porn projects going on in my life also. So, things happen when I am ready to execute them and there’s a possibility of another Fashionistas, but I’m not going to say when.

John Stagliano’s Buttman website can be found at www.buttman.com and his company Evil Angel can be found at www.evilangel.com. Hard in Love Volume 1 is on DVD and VOD and available now from Evil Angel or your favorite retailer and Hard in Love Volume 2 is on DVD and VOD and available now at Evil Angel or your favorite retailer.

Flash is an adult film reviewer and can be reached via e-mail at adtflash@gmail.com. Flash’s adult film reviews can be read at www.adultdvdtalk.com/reviewer/flash. Flash’s other interviews can be read at interviews.adultdvdtalk.com/category/interviews-by-flash.

Hard in Love Volume 1 box cover

Hard in Love Volume 2 box cover

1 Comment
  1. A real star.

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