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August 10, 2017

Jay Allan Discusses Making of 'Agent 69'

LOS ANGELES—Jay Allan laid the foundation for Adam & Eve’s next big feature when he found his leading lady. “I cast Eva Lovia before I even wrote it,” Allan tells AVN. “We met up and went over my ideas months before the film came together.” Lovia headlines an all-star cast for Agent 69 along with Elsa Jean and Mick Blue in what turned out to be the most ambitious undertaking of Allan’s 25-year career behind the camera. Set to be released in September, the seasoned director shot the movie over eight days in a variety of high-end locations around Los Angeles. "Working on this film with Jay Allan was an incredible experience,” Lovia says. “He doesn't settle for anything less than the perfect shot. It's very refreshing to work with someone who is so passionate and has such a unique flavor. This was the most acting intense scene I have done in a very long time and it is definitely one of my best. I hope everyone enjoys the final product as much as we do!” Elsa Jean agrees, saying this experience ranks at the top of her adult entertainment career. “I had so much fun working on this film,” Jean says. “It’s my favorite film I've ever done. I don't even know where to start. The days were so much fun. And so worth the time everyone put into it. Not only is Jay such a loving, wonderful director but he's my new favorite director. He makes true art and this film is truly beautiful!"  In this exclusive Q&A, Allan discusses his casting decisions, his post-production process and what it took to pull off the stylized look of the film. AVN: How would you describe the plot of Agent 69? JA: In this feature sexy spy master Eva Lovia hooks up with secret agent Mick Blue to track down a mysterious hacker Ozone played by Elsa Jean. This hacker has stolen a microchip from them containing sensitive data. Mick Blue chases Ozone's lover Honey Gold through the subways and streets of Chinatown and seduces her to steal info. In the meantime Eva Lovia gets sidetracked with her other lover Alex Harper who just might fit into this story in ways not yet revealed. What inspired this story/screenplay? I have always loved the spy movie genre, especially the James Bond movies. They are incredibly sexy but I always wanted to see more of the women. I wanted to see James actually have sex with these stunning models. That's how it started. Then I met Eva Lovia and thought, fuck she is a hot secret agent! Once I had her locked in I started scouting locations in LA and then wrote the story around them. What was your vision for the look and feel of the film? For this film I wanted it to be very cinematic. We went all out on the production design. I knew it had to be shot at night and that we needed to capture a certain prestige and fineness. Expensive locations and exotic looking places. We shot everything in widescreen to give the frames room to tell the story. We shot a lot of handheld to give it a more frenetic feel of suspense in parts. I chose prestigious types of locations that would give a feeling of glamorous style. The sex scenes are all in exotic places and are all quite different. None of the usual locations you would expect to see in an adult film. Lighting was very important, too. I used less lights and let shadows creep in more to make it all more mysterious. We also shot available light when we could using special low-light cameras. How would you describe your experience shooting this movie? The first part of the journey was pitching the idea to Adam & Eve. They are incredible because they always give me a lot of creative leeway and really trusted my instincts. Once we had a budget in place they let me run with it. This movie was all about preparation. We spent two months figuring out all the potential problems and scheduling everything well in advance. That planning saved us. Fortunately, we had no big surprises during production that would derail us. A few small problems did arise as they always do, but we had backup plans in place and implemented them. I personally really enjoyed the process. It is different for the actors because there is a lot more work in a feature than say, gonzo. You have to be really dedicated to the project or you will burn out as a performer. The days are longer and there is much more lead-up in addition to the sex. I am fortunate that Eva and the rest of the cast trusted me and allowed me to shoot the extra footage we needed to make this story both work and look good. How many days was principal photography and where did you shoot? How many cameras? We shot a total of eight days on this. Half of those were dialogue and establishing shots. Most scenes were shot with three cameras. We have two cameras moving and getting coverage and then one wide camera getting a lockdown shot we can always cut to for safety. I operate the A camera and my brother Jeff runs B camera. Ironically he gets a lot of the more artistic shots. What were some of the biggest challenges during production? The biggest challenge we had shooting this was getting the sex scenes shot because they mostly take place at night. Due to the popularity of these stars they all had work the next morning each day. We had to shoot midday in sets that we could black out and make look like nighttime. That added a lot of work and logistics. We also had a yacht scene we had to change last minute because the weather made it unsafe to go out. That scene became the ’50s house shoot day and required a quick rewrite. Post production took about six weeks. It was a massive process to edit down three cameras from eight days of shoots—all in 4K no less. The amount of data was staggering! There is also something like 18 pieces of music in the film. Audio was a lot of work. What factors made you select these performers for your lead roles—Eva, Mick, Elsa, Honey, etc.? I knew the characters in this film were as important to the look and feel as the locations and the cinematography were. … [Eva] was physically perfect for the lead agent and I have always felt she is both stunning and she is also an alpha type. I just knew she could handle it. Elsa was my next cast choice. I had never shot her prior to this film or even met her. From reviewing her other work I could tell instantly how adorable she was and that she's very cute and sweet. I knew that if we could cast her against type and make it work everyone would love it. Her agent Mark [Schechter from ATMLA] assured me she had the acting ability and he was right. We made her a dark, evil hacker and she had so much fun with it. Mick was easy to choose because he is a great performer and he really looks like a secret agent. With the wardrobe we selected for him and Elsa they really came to life. Honey Gold and Alex Harper had just signed with [Mark] Spiegler when we cast them and with Honey's exotic looks and Alex's classic looks they rounded out the cast perfectly. (Ed. note-Gold is now with OC Modeling). What was shooting the sex scenes like in this film?  For the sex scenes I wanted them to be dark and moody and mysterious. The one exception to this is the girl/girl between Eva Lovia and Alex Harper. We shot that in a super cool ’50s time capsule house where one of the walls was all glass and we got amazing sunlight. It's soft and beautiful. There was a ton of chemistry on set and I think that really comes through. All the action is really hot and we got some great footage of these sexy people. What was something that surprised you about the production? It was really incredible that all these talented actors came together and really put in the extra effort on this film. I was surprised how casual and relaxed our sets were with so much at stake.  I think everyone knew what we were shooting was unique and appreciated the artistic elements.  On a personal note I am surprised how relaxed and calm I was on set as well. What was the most rewarding part of shooting this film? When you are a writer/director you build the whole movie in your head first. You picture all the shots, the locations, the models. In the end this film came very close to what I had envisioned from the beginning and very similar to what I pitched to Adam & Eve. Seeing it all come together in real life as a complete film is very rewarding. In addition to that, seeing the reactions from all the cast as they saw the trailer for the first time was pretty incredible, too.

 
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