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PORNSTAR: The Legend of Ron Jeremy - The Tom Joad interview PART ONE

Ok folks, Harry here... and I'm here to warn you RIGHT NOW... This is an interview with Ron Jeremy... it will go into his Porn Career as well as the recent documentary about Ron Jeremy.... THE RESULTING TALK BACK WILL GET "XXX" Rated... there is no way I'm going to get in the way of it... So folks... You just do what you have to... and if you can't handle talk about helicoptering, tea-bagging or wolf-bagging... just run for the hills with your pretty hands over your ears and eyes... YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!!!!

Tom Joad here, with a report from SXSW 2001. I’ve watched a number of documentaries over the past four years, many of which have delved into the subject of porn and the adult entertainment industry. So many documentaries on the subject have been done, they have fragmented into their own sub genre: the porn doc.

Two years ago at SXSW I was shown my first glimpse of porn as it was dissected and exposed to the world via documentary. I watched WADD: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF JOHN HOLMES & SEX: THE ANNABEL CHONG STORY, and I didn’t like what I saw. Both films went to great pains to present their subjects in turmoil or as tragedies, to show how unwise choices in the industry can lead to one’s destruction. This didn’t jive with my feelings on porn.

I love porn. Swedish Erotica #26 introduced me to the true world of what adults do when the kids aren’t around. It’s where everything began to make sense. Forever banished from my mind were the illustrations from Gray’s Anatomy Handbook. They were replaced with the real deal holyfield in my mental rolodex from that day forward. It’s my god given right to porn that makes me love this country so much (that and the fact we can wipe anyone else off the planet.) I’ve always regarded it warmly, that is, until the opening credits of SEX:TACS - scenes of Annabel amidst groans and grimaces which resembled agony over pleasure. I knew then that the film was not going to paint porn with very pretty brushstrokes. Sure enough, close to ninety minutes later, I was feeling as though I had been put through the ringer and ended up not watch porn for a very long time.

The same adverse tone was set with WADD, which leads one to suspect that regardless of whether John Holmes had ever done porn, he still would have wound up a thief. (I won’t even delve into his being involved in murder.) Again, THE GIRL NEXT DOOR featuring Stacey Valentine and showing her two opposing views of the industry created a negative enough connotation, resulting in another spell where porn wasn’t desirable. In my opinion, each of these films I have mentioned are very good. I learned a great deal from each and every one of them, but I just get really tired of all the negativity that came along with them. The porn doc has become synonymous with skeletons in the closet, with exposing the worst, with painting a tragic picture of porn. Until now. This year’s SXSW brought Scott Gill’s PORNSTAR: THE LEGEND OF RON JEREMY, and his take on the man, the myth, the legend, the life, the love, the hedgehog, THE Ron Jeremy.

And what a refreshing take it is. Finally, we’re shown a legend of the adult business, who has always had his wits about him, who has not succumbed to drink or drug and who continues to enjoy working toward a life of acting outside the adult entertainment industry.

We’re introduced to Mr. Ron Jeremy, a man with tremendous charisma and a genuinely nice guy, who has starred in over 1000 adult films and dozens of Hollywood films. Ron began acting in high school in Queens before attending Queens College where he studied theater and education. After receiving his double major in Theater and Education, Ron worked with children with disabilities and performed at comedy clubs, trying to make it as an actor before entering the adult industry.

Starring in 1979’s Women in Love, Ron officially entered the porn business. Branching out in 1986, Ron cross-pollinating Hollywood doing consultant work for Adrian Lyne’s on Nine 1/2 Weeks and for John Frankenheimer’s 52 Pick-Up. Eventually directing many high profile adult titles, including the Divine Brown (Sunset and Divine: The British Experience) and John Wayne Bobbitt (John Wayne Bobbitt Uncut, Frankenpenis) films. A consummate performer, Ron is always a good time to be around. He regularly attracts a crowd wherever he goes, and he’s always out to see and be seen.

PORNSTAR shows us Ron as he travels from gig to gig, rarely vacationing, hustling from set to set, and most tragically, repeatedly taking great pains to get to a set, only to be denied spots on television and radio shows, due to his reputation as an adult performer. Undaunted by adversity, Ron continues to work to fight for the opportunity to further his Hollywood career.

This is one porn-doc that won’t turn you off to pornography. Hell, you may even pop one into the VCR that same night - and in the current trend of films documenting the adult industry, that is no easy feat. That should make director Scott Gill smile, his prior editing work truly paid off here - as he exemplifies true skill at layering the film together, intercutting dialogue with relevant vintage clips and shots that lend true perspective to the material.

One amazing insight that continues to stick with me are the shots of Ron’s notebook. Ron carries a notebook with him everywhere he goes, containing the names and numbers of all those he knows and meets. But what is amazing are his organizational skills. Each page of the book is so filled with names and numbers with arrows pointing to other names and numbers showing Ron who introduced him to whom and where he met particular people, that it actually appears at a glance to be ancient hieroglyphics. The notebook represents an incredible amount of information all instantly accessible to Ron and nearly indistinguishable to anyone else. It was this glimpse that allowed me to see how Ron’s mind works - and how it operates on a plane unto itself. This man possess massive intellect - he just lacks the forum to express it. I believe though, that one day soon we’ll be seeing more and more of Ron in more and more non adult roles - as his master plan to invade Hollywood continues to work itself through to completion - and that is a day I eagerly await.

A few days later, Annette Kellerman and I were granted the opportunity to sit down with Ron Jeremy and pose a few questions for him. Proving to be more than accommodating, here is the transcribed audio from the interview, we will hopefully have the interview up for you to watch soon, but until then... enjoy.

TOM JOAD: What’s up with you?

RON JEREMY: I’ve got something new, I just got these. Check it out - the Ron Jeremy Rolling Paper. I don’t smoke pot. I smoked a little pot in college. They’ll be in every head shop in the country and half the world. My roommate Natalie started to cry - she says it’s the greatest thing that’s ever happened, and that, ‘Elvis Presley hasn’t been on rolling paper!’ That’s what’s so funny, cause I’m so straight!

JOAD: So are you a big fan of movies?

JEREMY: I’m a big fan of movies in general, sure. I don’t know a lot about (the making of movies) but I know some - I know a lot of facts... but I have a lot of favorites. I love Laurence Olivier - he is my favorite actor. Although I just met at the SAG awards a just a few days ago - that’s why I couldn’t be here for the first screening (of PORNSTAR) I was at the Screen Actors Guild awards and i met people who knew me and it makes my fucking day. I ran into Geoffrey Rush - I just think he’s so phenomenal, I saw Quills - everything he does he plays such a totally different character. And he worked with Lynn Redgrave who’s in my video, Freak of the Week, and she was nominated for an Academy Award for Shine and I believe he was nominated too, he’s phenomenal, just a great, great, great actor and I met him, and he knew who I was. I met kate Winslet, who did not know who I was. I saw Whoopi Goldberg, who knew. I met Cameron Crowe, and I know Fairuza Balk - who worked for him, the entire cast was nominated for a SAG award for ensemble cast - Traffic won. So Cameron Crowe, you know, knew who I was and we had a nice chat and he told me this story about Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn and how they have a picture of me that’s hanging up on their wall that I gave it to J.T. Walsh - before he died he gave it to them. So they do own my photograph, it is in their house, and they told Cameron Crowe the story. They said meeting me was a warm experience. They told me that story - true facts, no lies. And this is a guy who directed such great movies!

JOAD: What did you think of Almost Famous?

JEREMY: I loved it, I also got to meet Kate Hudson and her husband Chris Robinson from Black Crowes, I shook their hands. I go every year to the SAG awards. I like when the public will often yell and when I walk by the public will start screaming. So those idiots at SAG who don’t know that I’m pretty famous suddenly realize, ‘Hey, they do realize who that guy is, don’t they?’ I like to show off a little bit, because people don’t know, like what Scott said in the documentary, when people come up to me for autographs, a lot of Hollywood people don’t know that that happens with me. They won’t even believe it if you tell them. Then they’re with me at a rock ‘n roll show and the crowds bust into applause. They go, ‘Jeez, this guy really is known.’ It’s like pulling teeth in Hollywood sometimes. The documentary at least, points it out.

JOAD: Which must make it difficult to get jobs in Hollywood.

JEREMY: Yes, because sometimes they’re thinking, ‘Oh, who knows who he is?’ I did the Staple Center, the Rock was doing a gig there, the Smackdown in L.A. about a month ago and I went in there and the whole crowd started saluting me. The wrestlers on stage had to stop what they were doing and look over at me, and the whole crowd knew. Will Smith was there with his parents, B. Real was there, and they all saw the whole crowd start to yell and scream at me and bow. And they caught it - so they know. It just takes a while to convince the other people.

JOAD: What’s your opinion of the whole rock ‘n porn connection?

JEREMY: Rock and Porn go together because they are both such renegade industries. Both are industries that are on the edge to some extent. Funny thing, though, is that rock and roll actually caters a lot to kids. The rock and roll audience is like age thirteen through seventeen, so it’s two different industries in a way, so there are always going to be some problems. Rock and rollers love adult film stars and adult film stars love rock and rollers, so it’s a match made in heaven. That renegade, on the edge, alternative lifestyle that we’re all so similar at. I’ve been in fifteen videos for MTV, including Beavis and Butthead and recently I got to do the Andy Dick show. Of course, rock stars will do music for porn films and they’re using porn stars on their album covers, like Blink-182 did with Janine MULLER and stuff, so there is a liaison of work there. It works out just fine.

JOAD: I remember when Zane was working with the WWF to put together a huge cross promotion campaign, there was talk of action figures of Tom Byron, etc....

JEREMY: I think that action figures might be crossing the line a little too much. Mainstream still has an attitude that you can’t force porn on a public that doesn’t want it. Action figures go into toy stores, and that creates a huge conflict of interest. You’re going to have a problem with major corporations. While some major corporations are involved in porn, like Time Warner and the Spice Channel or HBO and the public access channels, or in the case of AT&T, who now owns satellite channels by the Hot Network and Vivid, AT&T is basically now a pornographer. They own XXX-rated channels and satellite stations. Again, one of the jokes I made earlier, a lot of the religious stockholders were upset, until they said, ‘How much was that check for? Oh - it’s okay.’ Money talks... But having porn star action figures in toy stores? Not gonna happen in our lifetime.

Until next time - Tom Joad


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