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February 09, 2016

On the Set: St. James Exposes 'Emma Marx' Cast One Last Time

This article originally ran in the February 2016 issue of AVN magazine. Click here to see the digital edition. It’s a laid-back day on the set of Jacky St. James’ The Submission of Emma Marx—Exposed, the latest episode of the story of Emma Marx. Actors Penny Pax, Riley Reid and Van Wylde are reprising their roles as the titular Emma, Emma’s outgoing sister Nadia, and Nadia’s husband, Ray. Richie Calhoun, who plays Emma’s husband/BDSM partner, William, is not here, having already wrapped his participation. Eddie Powell and Paul Woodcrest are behind the cameras, and the mood is it’s almost over, let’s get this last part right. Kind of like the last day of finals. Writer/director St. James is intense, conferring with her actors and techs to get the right look, the right line reading, the right angle. When rehearsing a dialogue scene, a voice from behind a camera asks, “Can we just get this in one wide? One big mega-wide?” and St. James agrees immediately, helping frame the shot as the actors continue rehearsing but still managing to chide the actors as they improvise off-script with a sharp “This dialogue is critical.” St. James keeps it loose when shooting, calling for a roll-sound and getting a clapboard sync before checking with everybody to see if they are ready and eyeballing the shot through the camera (“Watch that mic, you’re in the shot”) before starting with a “Ready... Set... Action!” At the end of a good take, rather than calling “Cut,” she breaks the silence with a laconic “I believe it.” Pax, who has earned the nickname “One-take Penny” from her dead-on line readings, spoils her perfect record with an on-camera giggling fit, leading St. James to bark “You’re fired!” in mid-take, opening the door for everybody to crack up, including St. James. “This is the third time I’ve played this part, and thankfully the character is not exactly the same character that we started with in the first movie,” Pax says. “She’s evolved and grown up over the past two. I think she’s more mature and in tune with herself, making herself happy as opposed to doing what everybody else wants her to do to make her happy. It’s gratifying to be able to come back again and keep changing things up, having a different character to play each movie. That I like. “I don’t want to give away too much, but Emma has had some things happen and she needs to deal with the grief and move on from that. So we see her move on in this movie and try to find happiness again.” Pax’s reluctance to “give away too much” is mirrored through the rest of the cast and crew. Everyone is very circumspect about prematurely revealing plot details, to the point of keeping scripts under wraps. Riley Reid describes the arc of her character in the three movies from mocking Emma and being horrified by Emma’s bondage play (“I was the disapproving sister. I had sex on a bed covered with rose petals, all romantic and soft”) to getting more sexy in the second movie (“She’s dipping her feet in the water, but she’s only going waist-deep”) to full-on role play by the third. (“I’m doing light bondage. He blindfolds me. That was a big step for my character, allowing my husband to take control of me.”) Reid says she had to scale back her performance to match the sexual progression of the Nadia character: “It was extremely hard, honestly. I was told ‘Don’t go so sloppy on the blowjob.’ Me, I’m always gagging on the cock, so it was a challenge to play this innocent character. It’s out of character for me, because I’m a horny-ass person. Nadia being able to develop more makes it easier for me. I haven’t gone full crazy yet, but you can see a physical difference in my character.” St. James gets Pax and Reid in a bedroom for a girl-talk interview for promotion and BTS. They start by misidentifying themselves, with Pax saying, “I’m Riley Reid” and Reid saying, “and I’m Penny Pax. Psych!” leading St. James to respond with a long-suffering “Really?” The conversation starts with St. James pointing out that Reid and Pax have played sisters in three movies (“And we still haven’t fucked! On camera...”) and reflecting that the first Emma Marx movie was one of the first productions they had done. St. James asks them if they think this will be the last in the series, adding a serious “And we won’t say the spoiler” before they can respond. “I was stoked, I was really excited when they said they wanted to do a third movie,” Pax says, after the interview is done. “We were shocked that they even wanted a second one. I guess people dig this story and dig the characters. I was in love with the way the second one came out, and I’m certain that the third one is even going to top the second one.” I believe it. The movie is out now from New Sensations. To view the trailer, click here. Above, Riley Reid (left) and Penny Pax; photo courtesy New Sensations.

 
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