Culture

I Had a Quickie with Ron Jeremy at This Weekend’s NYC Porn Film Festival

Culture

I Had a Quickie with Ron Jeremy at This Weekend’s NYC Porn Film Festival

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Ron Jeremy is larger than life—both in his pants and his persona. A classically trained actor with two masters degrees in theater and special education, Jeremy and his then girlfriend sent nude photos to Playgirl while he was starving off-broadway and working as a teacher to make some extra bucks.

Soon after, Jeremy left his teaching gig and became the most popular porn actor of all time, starring in more than 2,000 adult films, a number of Hollywood movies, including cult classics like Detroit Rock City and The Boondock Saints, 56 music videos for everyone from Kid Rock to Ice T, and a brief stint with reality TV on VH1’s The Surreal Life and The Surreal Life: Fame Games.

I caught up with the superstar this weekend at the NYC Porn Film Festival for a quickie (interview), before he led a panel about the “Golden Age of Porn.” We discussed changes in the industry, crossing over from porn into the mainstream and my grandma.

You’re about to speak in a panel called, “The Golden Age of Porn.” Why were the ’70s the Golden Age?

Back then, you had to be a real filmmaker to make movies. Now, a guy shoots his kids at Disneyland going on rides and that’s as much technique as you need. Back then you had to be really good at it. We even had some famous directors—I’m not going to mention any names because Wes Craven might get upset—but a lot of the famous directors today starting off doing porn. They call it ‘The Golden Age’ because it was real film making—there was no DVD, no VHS no CD-ROM interactive, none of that. It was all film.

So obviously porn has changed in that sense, but how has the industry itself changed?

First, the girls have gotten a lot prettier. Now that they see how much you can make, your average dancers—that’s where most of them come from—they’re dancing in Broken Down, Oklahoma making a thousand dollars a week and along comes a porn star like Anne Boleyn making a couple thousand a day, and they’re like ‘I can suck a mean dick, I wanna go to California!’ So a lot of girls get into the business by way of that and they make the big bucks. And then they see Jenna Jameson sell her company to Playboy for 13 million dollars and now these girls go, ‘Wait a minute! This isn’t just a matter of sticking a schmekel in your face, there’s real money to be made.’ So, you know, it’s hard to balk at—when someone laughs at you or calls you a slut or makes you feel bad that you’re in this business, you go, ‘I don’t know, call Jenna Jameson a slut as she puts $13 million in the bank and watch her bodyguard fuck you in the face.’

Do you think treatment of actors by the public has changed?

There’s a lot more respect. It’s more considered a business now. Before the Golden Age, it was like the hippie-dippie anti-Vietnam, Woodstock generation attitude, flower children—we were part of that, and it was more fun being in the movie than worrying about the money. We always paid our taxes, despite what people think. But then it was more like a radical, fun, sexual revolution thing to do. Now it’s a big business, so it’s changed A LOT. Now you’ve got these huge corporations—the guy who runs most of this is Manwin, or now I guess it’s called MindGeek, but I hear that what’s his name [Fabian Thylmann] left them for a billion dollar settlement. As a porn company? That’s unheard of! Marriott and a lot of major hotels shot porn too, but a lot of their stockholders would deny it.

What about safety?

Well, we just lost Proposition B, so now you have to wear rubbers. That simply chased people out of California, so now they shoot in Vegas and they shoot in Florida. All California did was lose a lot of tax revenue, because they’re so damn stupid. They don’t give a fuck about the safety, they want us out of business and they know this is a step towards that. We’re already suffering because of the pirates. Years ago I had friends who spent $10,000 a year on porn and now they spend nothing, and the quality is just as good.

I’ve read you’re a classically trained actor. Is Ron Jeremy a character?

No, it’s me. You can ask any actor and the answer really is that it’s both. Some roles you play that are very similar to your own character. Sometimes you play a role that’s not like your own character. But as an actor you find that which is similar—you find what makes this person tick and you become them.

Do you think you still would’ve gotten into porn today?

They would not want me if I got into the business now. I used to be skinny and spiffy. And imagine how much bigger your dick looks when your stomach’s thin! But I’m still getting work because it’s me. I’m gonna be in the new Pirates movie. I’m still doing porn, I’m still doing mainstream, still doing TV, so things are going good.

It’s kind of amazing. Nobody has been able to transcend genres like you have. To come from porn and be such a mainstream celebrity is really unheard of.

I kinda like it like that.

Jenna Jameson is really famous, but she hasn’t been in Hollywood movies, music videos or anything like you have.

Well, thank you. Some other porn actors make some good crossovers, but it’s hard to stick with it—you become famous for like a week.You gotta keep plugging away and working hard.

People who would never know a porn star’s name, like my grandma, probably know who you are.

Well, there’s a reason for that. I hate to tell you this because I don’t want to give you a rude awakening, but there’s a reason why your grandmother knows who I am. Remember when you were out of town that one time? Does she still have that birthmark?