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September 14, 2018

'Fallen' in Love Again: On Set With Wicked's Armstrong and Drake

LOS ANGELES—Ten years ago. It can feel like yesterday, or like a bygone era. On the set of Fallen 2, it’s a little bit of both. Back in September of 2008, Wicked Pictures released Fallen, Brad Armstrong’s multiple AVN Award-winning drama about a fallen angel (Jessica Drake) banished to earth who seeks redemption in her love for a human man (played by Armstrong). On a hot summer day in a warehouse east of downtown, Drake and Armstrong once again are taking on the roles of Angel and Keith. The building is made of corrugated steel, with a few small holes that let in the bright afternoon sun. Industrial-size fans are whirring while the crew sets up the main space for today’s scene: an orgy in a sex club. Other nooks are set up with bedroom or living-room furniture, while the mezzanine space creates the appearance of steps leading up to a front door. The sex club is equipped with a cage, red and white lights, a St. Andrew's Cross, miscellaneous hooks, and a large, padded platform covered in black vinyl with silver studs along the bottom. Of the six people assembled for the scene, three were on the original movie: Drake, Eric Masterson and Derrick Pierce. The other principals are Casey Calvert, Luna Star and Ryan Driller, along with extras Kinsley Karter, Rusty Nails, Lucky Starr and Severe Sex studio co-owner Jimmy Broadway, his face obscured by a mask (“I haven’t done a full-blown puppy scene in a while,” he comments). A compelling reason to do a sequel for Fallen is that it was one of Wicked’s most successful movies ever. For Drake, it’s more than that: “It’s also my favorite movie that I’ve ever shot. A few movies have come close, especially recently, like my showcase, but Fallen, I won my third AVN Best Actress award for Fallen.” Above, Jessica Drake and Brad Armstrong in Fallen 2, bringing back the characters Angel and Keith from the original Fallen (2008). Fallen 2 looks in on Angel and Keith, 10 years down the line, with Angel still filled with regret over the death of Denise, the young woman she was charged with protecting. The role of Denise was played by the now-retired Jenna Haze, who, Drake reveals, will make an appearance in Fallen 2 (albeit in a non-sex capacity). Armstrong dissects the process of coming up with a storyline that advances the story of Angel and Keith. “You can’t have a sequel where they fall in love again. You can’t have a sequel where they learn about each other again and experience those many firsts that they do in the first movie. So that was the tricky part,” Armstrong said. When he originally started working on the sequel about five years ago, he planned to make Drake the good angel and Asa Akira the bad angel. “By the time we’re actually doing it, Asa’s not here, so then we had to come up with a whole different take on the story” He admits, “The script was a little slow in coming—it was a bit of a chisel.” “So this is another chapter in my life with Keith,” Drake says, explaining how the couple become the protectors of a girl named Max, played by Leigh Raven, “who everyone in the movie seems to be after for some reason, and we have to figure out why.” The forces of good and evil are clashing to control Max, a downtrodden, pregnant sex worker who, it turns out, is a modern-day Virgin Mary. Among those forces is the Devil herself—also played by Drake. “I begged him to rewrite the part, and so I got to play the devil,” Drake exults. “I’m playing opposite myself. It was five pages of dialogue and it was straight between me and me. … It was toughest acting I’ve ever done in a movie. But we had Chanel Preston come in and read the other lines so I could act off of her. … She never appears in the movie, but she was brilliant and I definitely owe her.” Tommy Pistol and Leigh Raven in Fallen 2 (Wicked Pictures) Aside from scripting issues, another key decision for Armstrong was casting Leigh Raven, which happened shortly after Raven was at the center of a controversy when she complained on social media and to law enforcement about her experiences on a shoot for BlackPayback.com. Armstrong first planned to cast her in another movie, but said, “I got a little pushback—not anyone at Wicked, but some of the other talent in the movie, who were a little hesitant.” He talked with Raven, who understood the situation, and Armstrong was inspired to find a different role for her. “After talking to her about the other project, I was intrigued. … I wrote [Fallen 2] with her in mind. Once I decided [to cast her] I tweaked it more to her persona and wrote things in that make sense. So far she’s been nothing but a pleasure to work with. Not everybody’s going to get along with everybody, and I know it’s a pretty hot topic … but she’s been incredible and very sweet.” Among the forces of evil trying to take over Max is the Devil’s minion, Pharzuph, played by Tommy Pistol (the name, like many in the movie, comes straight from the Bible, Armstrong points out). Drake, who says she had never worked with Pistol before, describes the shoot: “He was so good in that scene that I forgot I was in character and believed him 100 percent and got lost in it. So when it was time for me to deliver my lines, I was just staring at him in awe. He was that good.” On the day of the orgy scene, a lot of work still lay ahead for the team. “We’ve got one light day doing our cemetery and park scenes,” Armstrong says, referring to some setups prior to a big scene featuring Drake with Misty Stone and Isiah Maxwell, who play Archangels Gabriel and Azrael. “Then we’ve got our two big days—they’re going to be long and painful. Talk to me after the second—I’ll be a happy bitch.” Isiah Maxwell, Jessica Drake and Misty Stone in Fallen 2 (Wicked Pictures) Midway through production, he’s fairly optimistic. “I think overall the script is pretty strong,” Armstrong assesses, adding, “The first one was very much me and Jessica, and here we have very strong supporting [roles] with both Leigh and Tommy Pistol.” (And both, he asserts, should “get some noms for their parts in this movie.”) And other things have changed: The size of movie budgets have dwindled since the 2008 recession took a hit on the adult industry—but the skill level of adult filmmakers has shot way up. “I went back and watched the original, of course,” he says. “For its time it was pretty epic, but when you look at it now those last 10 years our filmmaking procedure has come so far. I was sitting there giggling.” But shrinking budgets are no laughing matter. The Fallen 2 budget isn’t tight, Armstrong says, “but when you compare it to [Fallen], there were definitely constraints. We don’t have the cool rooftop shots with the big jib coming up. The bonus is, we get to use some of those shots in flashback.” One thing that won’t be constrained in Fallen 2 is the de rigueur Armstrong-style orgy. Before the scene got under way, Drake and Armstrong both explained why they love group sex scenes. “It’s sex with a lot of different people and you have a lot of options,” Drake said. “It’s something I wouldn’t necessarily feel as safe doing outside of porn as I do within porn, knowing I’m using condoms, everyone’s tested, and I’m prepped. I feel very safe and this is a great environment to do whatever I want to do. In an orgy if you’re trying something and it doesn’t work, you have a lot of other people to choose from. So there’s variety. And also I’m a voyeur. … If you see me sit back and take a break, it’s not that I’m exhausted—I may just want to watch. “And I’m super happy to see it looks like we have a massive soft surface to have sex on,” she added, gesturing at the large padded platform. “It’s amazing, because it doesn’t always work out that way.” Her first orgy? An all-girl gangbang for Jill Kelly Productions. “There were 30 of us, and it was all women. I was so at a loss at what to do, but also felt like a kid in a candy store. So I remember it very, very well. After that, my favorite orgy had been the orgy in the original Fallen. Absolutely 100 percent.” Anyone who’s seen a Brad Armstrong movie knows the director’s enthusiasm for mounting a big group sex scene. But he doesn’t just do it for the fans. “I loooves me an orgy scene. Usually I like to be in it—that’s my favorite,” he says with a smile. And group scenes are also helpful for testing out new performers: “If they’re not good, you just move on to the next one.” Aside from that, he explains, “In my real life, orgies and swingers are my thing—I get off on group sex.” He continues, “We’ve already established in [Fallen] that Angel and Keith frequent sex clubs. … You don’t see the person again or have any relationship with them. That’s part of the allure in real life—sex for sex’s sake. Everybody is there for a reason, and it’s to have fun.” Armstrong’s biggest orgy on film? That would be the one in 2040, a 2009 Wicked Pictures movie: “17 people. And a lot of them were important characters,” he recalls. “It actually took place at a futuristic AVN [Awards] party. The master of ceremonies was James Bartholet and we had a live all-female band playing. … And pretty much, sex broke out. Which I think should happen. Can you imagine? You could easily get into the Guinness Book of World Records for Biggest Orgy.” Luna Star, Jessica Drake and Casey Calvert dressed for an orgy in Fallen 2 (Wicked Pictures) Back to the business at hand: today’s orgy. Later in the day, after it’s dark, the team will shoot the intro: Jessica Drake and Casey Calvert arriving at the club, riding in a limousine driven by veteran adult thespian Herschel Savage. “I got a promotion so I can’t remember my character’s name,” Calvert says. Though she wasn’t in Fallen, she notes that Savage appeared in the original as a taxi driver. Now, she jokes, “He’s a limo driver so he got a promotion.” But first they’ll shoot the sex. After a short bit that shows Drake and Calvert walking through the club and eyeing its denizens, the two summon their playmates and the fun begins. Recording it all on video are Alex Ladd and Barrett Blade, with Armstrong regulars Frank Armitage and Ric Rodney handling sound and lights, respectively. Jessica is wearing a black bra and corset, fishnets, and lace-up boots that reach above the knees, topped by a short coat cinched by a wide belt—the latter two items pulled from the original Fallen wardrobe. Casey and Luna also sport thigh-high boots, and Masterson stands out in a kilt. Jessica lounges happily on the “orgy bed”; Masterson accidentally sullies it with a shoe print, which elicits an emergency baby wipe and a scolding. Then Armstrong begins directing each performer on how to enter, and how quickly to proceed. “Don’t get undressed too fast,” he cautions. The performers get serious, sounds of asses getting slapped punctuate the quiet, as Armstrong issues commands to switch back and forth between hardcore and softcore footage. “OK, you can open up a bit now,” he says. The girls turn around almost in unison to begin the group blowjob portion of the program. Armstrong strides over to the other side of the set to check the view and asks Eric to step back. “And Jessica, open up to Alex [Ladd] a little more.” Armstrong admonishes, “No fuckee fuckee yet,” as Derrick angles his rod toward Calvert. He dives for her bush instead, and the resulting noises from Calvert validate Armstrong’s call.  “Let’s close it up for softcore,” the director says. Watching the bobbing heads and thrusting abdomens, he says, “Everybody keep doing what you’re doing for softcore stills.” There to capture the stills—from soft to hard to the final pop shots—is Nigel Dictator, a relative newcomer on Wicked sets. Another newbie is production assistant Tony Strong, who will keep the lube and condoms coming. Finally, it’s go time—penetration is achieved all around, and the noise level rises. Moans, purrs, squeals, gasps—even a bona fide shriek from Jessica. The men stay focused, but a few grunts of pleasure escape them. The fans are shut down when the cameras roll, so the heat is rising. During one stop to shift for softcore footage, Masterson asks for a cloth to wipe off his body. “Glistening is nice,” one crew members says. “You look sexy like a motherfucker.” “Switch it up and become more of a pile,” Armstrong directs. The resulting shape is a triangle: Driller on top, Pierce fucking Calvert in modified mish, Masterson banging Star in doggie and Ryan getting a blowjob from Drake while both girls explore her nether regions. Soon the players shift again. “Jessica, help Casey with the cock!” barks Armstrong. An actual scream softens into moaning. At every cut the fans go on and the paper towels come out. Drake takes a corset break at one point, showing off an enviably flat midsection. Then it’s time for the big moment: double penetration. Drake warms Ryan up orally before he sheathes himself with a condom and a touch of Wicked Sensual Care lube and gets in the anchor position. Then Masterson moves in to take care of the second hole while Drake takes Pierce in her mouth … and she’s airtight. Dictator gets the stills. Then it’s back to video with all hands on deck: Star sitting on Driller’s face and Pierce getting a three-way blowjob. Cascades of “yes” and “fuck, that’s good” signal Drake is all in. After some more action, including three pairs in a row in standing doggie, Armstrong says, “Let’s see some semen.” And that means the fallen Angel is in line for a facial. Afterward, the crew can relax before the limousine shoot. Within minutes after the shoot, Drake looks as fresh as she did at the start of the day—a consummate professional. “I am super grateful to all the people who have come back to revisit their roles and I’m really grateful for all the new people as well,” she says. She’s particularly happy to be working with Masterson, who won an AVN Award for a double-penetration scene in the original Fallen. “Eric is quite frankly one of my favorite people to work with. We were just talking in the back. I have worked with him since the beginning of my career. Different phases, sometimes not for a while, and then we work together, and it’s amazing.” She adds, “It’s interesting to see how everybody has sort of developed their craft in the 10 years that has elapsed since we shot the first one. Where we are as people. It’s cool to think about it.” Wicked Pictures will release Fallen 2 at the end of September. A shorter version of this article ran in the September 2018 issue of AVN magazine. Find it online here.

 
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