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April 09, 2018

Confessions of a Movie Buff: Ricky Greenwood on 'Becoming Elsa'

This article originally ran in the April issue of AVN magazine. Click here to see the digital edition. Above, the crew on set with performers Jade Kush and Abella Danger. Director Ricky Greenwood made a splash with Confessions of a Sinful Nun (Sweetheart/Mile High) with the production earning seven AVN Award nominations, including Best Drama, Best Director – Feature, Best Cinematography and Best Art Direction. We caught up with Greenwood after he had wrapped principal photography on his follow-up feature, Becoming Elsa, with Elsa Jean, India Summer, Charlotte Stokely, Ana Foxxx, Jade Kush, Abella Danger and Cherie DeVille. “It was a great shoot. The cast was amazing and we had a great location. It wound up better than I was expecting.” Of Confessions of a Sinful Nun, Greenwood said, “I’ve always been a fan of nun exploitation movies. I tried to make one on the mainstream side, but they don’t have that kind of movie any more. They don’t even make sexploitation movies any more. I asked [Mile High Media] if I could do a nun-spolitation movie and they said yes. That’s the movie I wanted to make for many years. The new one is a coming-of-age movie, another genre that I really love. I had a chance to make that also, and I’m pretty happy with that.” When asked about the exploitation filmmakers who influenced him, Greenwood said, “Obviously Russ Meyer is one of them. Jess Franco is another one I really like. All those guys from the ’70s who made the movies like Caged Heat and the Ilsa movies. Stuff I grew up watching. “Meyer was great. He made movies at a time when porn didn’t exist, or it wasn’t everywhere. He made movies that people wanted to see. They were fun to watch, they were well made. I like what he was doing. I’ve watched many of his movies and I try to make a modern version. Obviously Becoming Elsa isn’t that type of film, but for Sinful Nun we tried to re-create that look. Those movies, even if they were just exploitation films, they still had something to say. That’s what we tried to do with the nun movie. Not a huge moral, but I tried to express my feeling that the church doesn’t really allow gay people being together, for example. We tried to put that in the movie. Obviously the main point is the sex and the romance between the characters, but we also tried to put in the subtext: Sometimes you feel different, and it’s okay to feel different and have different feelings.” Above, Elsa Jean Greenwood was a director of sports features and reality features for Canadian television before moving into adult. “You follow them for three weeks, with interviews and footage of what happened, and then put it together in post. I did some live-cutting stuff too, in the studio. I have done both, but I prefer to do it in post, because you can fix your mistakes. When you do it live, if you do a mistake, everyone sees it. It’s another challenge.” Greenwood’s new feature Becoming Elsa is about a young girl from a Southern town who “puts all her energy into studying, but she develops a feeling for India Summer, who rents rooms in her house for university students. She falls in love with India Summer but she doesn’t know how to express her feelings. She becomes friends with Charlotte Stokely, a complete opposite of who she is, and Charlotte is the person Elsa wants to be. I don’t want to go too far, it’s got a nice twist to it. I think people will be happy to discover it. The cast is amazing. If I could have Charlotte Stokely in every movie I would. She’s always amazing. I’m discovering girls like Elsa Jean: I knew she was a great performer, but as an actress she’s great. India Summer was a revelation also.”  Above, Elsa Jean and India Summer After exploring nunsploitation and coming-of-age, Greenwood has another exploitation homage planned, but he’s not giving details. “It’s an ambitious movie, but I don’t want to talk about it. I had this crazy idea of a place I wanted to go, and I said I wanted to go there, and they said ‘Why not?’ so I’m going there. I think it will be a complete surprise when I announce it. People will be very happy with it. It’s a nice story. It will be different. I can say it will be another girl/girl movie.” Greenwood plans to start making b/g movies in 2018. “The stories I have wanted to tell were girl/girl. When I have a story to tell, no matter the genre, I’m going to go for it. My first three stories were girl/girl, but the next one will be boy/girl. I have no problem telling a story, be it with a transsexual or anybody else. I just want to make good movies. For me, I don’t see a difference between mainstream and porn. For me, porn is another genre of mainstream stories. Action films is something, drama is something, comedy is something and porn is something. Just another genre of movies. It’s nothing different. Just telling a story. It goes where it goes.” Becoming Elsa is planned for an April 18 release but is available now as a VOD exclusive on HotMovies.com. Below, Charlotte Stokely and Ana Foxxx

 
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