One one of the most successful portrayals of life behind the lens for adult entertainment stars was 1997’s Boogie Nights. Although it can leave some numb behinds by the end at a full 152 minutes, the ride itself is exhilarating enough.
Boogie Nights is now considered a cult classic from director Paul Thomas Anderson. The movie features Mark Wahlberg, Heather Graham, Julianne Moore, Don Cheadle and John C.Reilly as the stars who really let it all go in front of the camera.
In the movie we follow the story of X-rated star, Dirk Diggler, during the peak of the adult entertainment industry in the late 1970’s until it’s crash in 1980; when more people were able to copy video tapes instead of just buying outright. Like any success story, there always will be a crowd of imitators who want to cash in on the same glory. Many movies have tried to script how life really is for adult entertainment stars but none have managed to get it just right.
There are some actors who are willing to try everything at least once and rise to challenge of portraying an X-rated star; how hard can it really be? No matter how big or small the role, they will take to it like the true star they are and show the world how it’s done their own way.
When legitimate actors do try their hand at not-so-mainstream acting then they usually hit an extreme. They’ll either be a huge critical hit – or an embarrassing, desperate flop. Here we look at the those who, at the very least, gave it a good go…
15. Kelly Brook in Piranha 3D
In 2010 audiences would flock to the local cinema to see the latest 3D movie, it was a new experience that everyone wanted to enjoy. Then French horror filmmaker, Alexandra Aja, had an excellent idea where he would remake Piranha (1978) but using new 3D technology in, you guessed it, Piranha 3D (2010). There was plenty of gore, lot’s of bikini-clad women, life-threatening piranhas and above all – there was Kelly Brook.
Jerry O’Connell plays a director who shoots a ‘Girls Gone Wild’ style movie, and he had the curvaceous model splashing around in the salt water. However, the downside is the lake becomes infested with man-eating piranhas ready to attack at any minute, which soon puts an end to an enjoyable spring break. The British-born beauty probably took lessons on her role from real-life adult movie actress and co-star, Riley Steele. So how does Kelly keep her envious curves in shape? She advised Now magazine, “Have more s*x! It certainly keeps me fit and healthy!”
14. Elisha Cuthbert in The Girl Next Door
Girl Next Door (2004) was a movie teenagers adored as the script was packed with plenty of juvenile humor. Starring Elisha Cuthbert as an adult movie star who grows an interest in the socially awkward teenager living next door, played by Emile Hirsh, it is every young boy’s dream come true.
Cuthbert’s character, Danielle, tries to hide her X-rated past but the DVDs of her previous “on-screen performances” just won’t get the hint and disappear. It’s her ability to switch between sickly-sweet neighbor and outrageous alter-ego that made this into such an unforgettable performance for the star. Best known for her role as Kiefer Sutherland’s daughter in hit suspense series 24, she told press at the premiere that what attracted her to the role was being able to actually get out of the same clothes. She revealed, “The idea that I could come to work and have 18 wardrobe changes. It is different from 24 where you wear the same thing all the time. This movie was really something different for me.”
13. Elizabeth Banks in Zack and Miri Make A Porno
Kevin Smith’s dark comedy is about Miri, played by Elizabeth Banks, who agrees to have sex on camera so she keep herself financially stable. Seth Rogen must have been thanking his lucky stars when it came to scenes featuring bedroom shenanigans with Banks. The couples dynamic on screen saved this clumsy script from crashing completely and it did make back double it’s $24million budget at the box office.
The movie had some complications when it came to classification as it was undecided what rating it should receive based on the ‘mildly graphic sexual content’. Some cinemas refused to put up the poster with the title and instead changed it to: ‘Seth Rogen and Elizabeth Banks made a movie so outrageous that we can’t even tell you the title’. In his defence, comedy legend Rogen said: “It’s really crazy to me that Hostel is fine, with people gouging their eyes out and s**t like that… But you can’t show two people having sex — that’s too much”. Fair point.
12. Selma Blair in Down To You
Where did Freddie Prinze Jr go? Where did Selma Blair and Julia Stiles go too? Well, if there was one movie that could be considered for killing off their careers than look no further than Down To You (2000). In this highly hormonal comedy, we witness Blair’s character try to seduce her way into the arms of Prinze Jr. She attempts to use all her skills she has picked up as an adult movie star to win his love. This soon becomes a love triangle as he falls for Julia Stiles’ character. Ashton Kutcher also starred but his career miraculously survived.
The movie flopped and only made back $24.4 million worldwide, which was very short of its $35 million budget. The critics handed out negative reviews and it featured in the 100 Worst Reviewed Films of the 2000s by Rotten Tomatoes, with a rating of 3%. Overall it was a shame to see the three actors decide to collectively kill off their acting skills all at once.
11. Val Kilmer in Wonderland
Based on a true story, Wonderland (2003) is about the fall of infamous adult entertainment star John C. ‘Johnny Wadd’ Holmes, who during a twenty year long career had starred in more than 2,000 adult entertainment movies with 14,000 different women. Then things took a sinister turn when he became a suspect in multiple murders that took place on Wonderland Avenue in L.A during the 1980s. Holmes went from being the most recognizable and sought after hardcore movie star to now a broke and drug dependent lost soul.
According to The Guardian, a grand total of 19 leading actors, including Matt Damon and Willem Dafoe, turned down the role of Holmes. Val Kilmer finally agreed to the role but he failed to win over any critics. With this much real-life drama packed into one script it’s mind-blowing that the reviews labeled it ‘dull’ and ‘fading’. Sadly it appears even the top Hollywood actors can’t save bad writing.
10. Mira Sorvino in Mighty Aphrodite
Woody Allen stars in and directs Mighty Aphrodite (1995) which follows Allen’s character and his wife (Helena Bonham Carter) who adopt a baby together. All is peaceful in their home until a rising obsession with meeting the mother of their child introduces them to Linda (Mira Sorvino) who is a part-time adult movie star and prostitute. In typical Woody Allen style his world becomes awkward and over-complicated once more.
Sorvino took home an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress for the role, which saw her become a household name. She spoke about her character to The Guardian saying: “You could make the case that Linda is a trafficking victim because her pimp controls her life. She is very sad in her situation; she doesn’t want to continue in it. But it’s not a movie that was meant to be tackling social issues, it’s meant as a Pygmalion story.” Woody Allen almost had success the same year as he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, but he lost out to Christopher McQuarrie for The Usual Suspects (1995).
9. Tara Reid in The Big Lebowski
Sexy, blonde and petit Bunny La Joya, as her adult entertainment name goes, is played by Tara Reid in the cult classic The Big Lebowski (1998). She is married to wheelchair bound Mr Lebowski, a multi-millionaire, who breaks down when he finds out the news that she has been kidnapped. Altogether it’s a good-fun, dark comedy which also stars Jeff Bridges, John Goodman and Steve Buscemi.
The Big Lebowski, directed by Joel and Ethan Coen, has created a loyal fan base worldwide. It is one of their best works and that’s saying something for the brothers who are also responsible for Fargo (1996) and No Country For Old Men (2007).
8. Robert Downey Jnr. in Rented Lips
This is one movie Robert Downey Jr would want wiping off his IMDB page completely. In 1988 he took the lead as a documentary maker who found himself in over his head agreeing to finish off an “art film” in exchange for a chance to direct a documentary on Indian farming techniques. Stay with us… comedy ensues as he discovers that “Halloween in the Bunker,” is actually an x-rated film about the sexual practices of the Nazis.
Jennifer Tilly and Martin Mull also star in this movie that flopped so bad that producers at Lions Gate Entertainment have not made any more copies on DVD since 2009. The movie was so early on in Downey Jr’s career that all can be forgiven for this disaster.
7. Kim Cattrall in Meet Monica Velour
Kim Cattrall gives it her all as a washed up adult entertainment actress in Meet Monica Velour (2010). She tries to make ends meet by dancing in a grotty gentleman’s club, but the damage to her ego can sadly not be undone. When she meets up with her biggest fan Tobe he begins to repair the broken heart of his fantasy woman by just offering up a few compliments here and there.
The movie overall is a heartwarming tale of fantasy meets reality, boy meets girl or adult movie actress meets obsessive teenager; whichever way you want to look at it. Cattrall transformed herself by gaining 20lbs to play the damaged star but even with this weight behind the film it still didn’t do well commercially.
6. Carmen Electra in I Want Candy
Carmen Electra performs in I Want Candy (2007) as the star of the show, Candy Fiveways, and it doesn’t take a genius to work out how she got her stage name. The plot follows two British film students who end up with the one of the hottest adult actresses of the moment on the set of their budget flick. The best bit? She’s more than eager to teach them a thing or two about X-rated movies.
It was low budget; at just $1.5million to make and managed to grab back just over $2million at the box office. The old adage ‘write about what you know’ works well here but in the form of ‘act what you know’ as Electra throws her whole self into the role.
5. Carla Gugino in Elektra Luxx
An adult movie actress, Elektra Luxx (2010) played by Carla Gugino, faces a mid-life crisis upon the discovery she is pregnant with a late rock star and the soul searching begins. Joseph Gordon-Levitt also appears as an adult entertainment blogger and Julianne Moore makes a fleeting appearance as Virgin Mary but her performance was not credited – perhaps at her own request after seeing the final cut.
The movie failed to become the amusing sequel to Women in Trouble (2009) and the whole thing feels like five stories in one as the plot-lines become quite messy. Although taking on the lead in this movie as an erotic actress, Gugino is yet to find her next big hit. However, she will feature in the upcoming detective series Wayward Pines due for release later this year and this mishap can hopefully just be brushed under the carpet.
4. Denise Richards in Finding Bliss
Finding Bliss (2009) is a comedy that witnesses the adult film industry through the eyes of new recruit, Jody Balaban who is played by Leelee Sobieski. At first Jody is horrified at the idea of lowering her award-winning film-making standards to the dirty depths of the hardcore world and has an ever-growing fear of disappointing her strict Jewish parents. Eventually she realises that she can still serve her own passions by being able to make meaningful films at night.
If you ever come across Finding Bliss in the discount bin at your local shop, then it’s worth it just to witness Denise Richards attempt to recapture some of her Wild Things (1998) sex appeal as a not-so-bright adult star. This straight to DVD flop movie couldn’t even be saved by Jamie Kennedy appearing full-frontal, bless him for trying though.
3. Melanie Griffith in Body Double
Body Double (1984) sells itself as voyeurism, but really it’s just pure filth. This erotic thriller was largely dismissed by critics upon release with Brian De Palma earning himself a Razzie Award nomination for Worst Director; only star Melanie Griffith received rave reviews from the critics. Unbelievably she earned a Golden Globe Nomination as Best Supporting Actress.
The movie did become a cult classic and is referenced repeatedly throughout the novel American Psycho, as the favorite film of serial killer Patrick Bateman, who is drawn to the film’s lurid violence and sexuality. He mentions that he has seen the film 37 times and repeats his preferred moments from the film, especially ‘the power drill scene’ which he has apparently pleased himself to several times. Well, if nothing else – at least it’s inspired a fictional serial killer.
2. Charlie Sheen in Rated X
Charlie Sheen starred alongside his brother Emilio Estevez in flick Rated X (2000). The film focuses on the story of the Mitchell brothers, Jim and Artie Mitchell, who were pioneers in adult entertainment during the 70’s and 80’s. Throughout the movie we watch the eccentric Sheen attempt to make Behind The Green Door (1972), the most popular x-rated movie the Mitchell brothers ever made.
With a 25% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, this was one flick which didn’t have reviewers encouraging people to buy a cinema ticket. One critic from ReelFilm comments, “Emilio Estevez directs (and stars as one of the brothers), and he’s clearly been influenced by Paul Thomas Anderson’s sense of style (not to mention Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, etc). But he hasn’t got a fraction of the skill as those filmmakers.” Ouch.
1. Amanda Seyfried in Lovelace
Amanda Seyfried must have thought long and hard about taking on the role of the world’s most recognised adult entertainment actresses – Lovelace (2013). The biopic follows the tormented life of Linda Lovelace as she rises to the dizzy heights of fame. Her X-rated movie Deep Throat became the biggest selling adult movie at the time: grossing over $50million.
The sad and tragic role was quite a depressing angle for the Mean Girls (2004) and Les Misérables (2012) actress. Behind the scenes there was little glamour as Lovelace, real name Linda Boreman, was in a relationship with an emotionally and physically abusive man. Audiences witness her forced into prostitution showing what life was really like behind the lens.