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May 02, 2017

Chi Chi LaRue Is 'Earthbound' With Falcon

This article originally ran in the May 2017 issue of AVN magazine. Click here to see the online edition. By his own admission, the timing was never right. Chi Chi LaRue had been asked repeatedly to return to Falcon to craft a sequel to Heaven to Hell. The 2005 hit racked up awards and acclaim—and was the last film he ever directed for the studio following a long string of hits for its various labels. “I think it was one of the—if not the—best-selling movies in Falcon history. Through all of the different incarnations of Falcon—with the different people that were at the helm running it, like Chris Ward, Todd Montgomery, Terry Mahaffey—they all wanted me to make the sequel. I was concentrating on my own company, and it just never felt right.” It’s been a long road to come full circle. While working at Catalina (which distributed Falcon’s products), LaRue met Falcon founder Chuck Holmes. “Him and I hit it off, and when I left Catalina he brought me in and I made my first movie for Mustang, called The Inner Circle. I started making Mustang movies for him, and then he let me do a Jocks movie, and eventually I was making the Falcon, Jocks and Mustang movies,” LaRue says with a laugh. “I got to go to France to make a movie, Australia, Hawaii … I did Deep South with John Rutherford, which was an amazing movie. I’ve made a lot of really great movies for Falcon, and got to work with some of the biggest stars back then.” When LaRue helped start Channel 1, he still filmed for Falcon, Vivid and HIS, “and then I just decided that it was time to focus on my own studio.” But after branching out from his Channel 1 duties recently and working on projects for the likes of CockyBoys and Men.com (and with Channel 1 focusing a lot of its attention on toys), the porn icon approached Falcon Studios Group and NakedSword Network president Tim Valenti. He soon filmed the hit Scared Stiff (“Probably one of the best movies I’ve done”), a long-brewing slasher parody script that LaRue had in his drawer for 13 years. “After that, I expressed my desire to make Heaven to Hell 2, and Tim—being smart, knowing the value of it and the potential promotion that could go behind such a big project—was behind it 1,000 percent, which is so awesome.” When LaRue realized the project was actually going to happen, the wheels started turning in his head. The main wheel? Getting back Dean Monroe, his muse from the original. “He didn’t really want to do porn again, and when I told him I was doing this—that was one of his best parts—he was like, ‘I will come back and do this.’ So that was pretty awesome.” Earthbound: Heaven to Hell 2 is set to release May 5 (its site, EarthboundXXX.com, launched in early April). During the casting process, LaRue got a surprise call from a performer who hadn’t done a film in nine years: Blake Riley, one of Channel 1’s most successful exclusives (who won Best Newcomer at the 2008 GAYVN Awards and the Grabbys). “He makes his comeback in this movie, and he does an amazing scene with JJ Knight,” says the director. “He’s my porn child. I think this is one of the most exciting things to happen in a long time in this business, to get Blake Riley back in front of the camera. And he’s just as fucking good, just as fucking beautiful—and the butt has only gotten better.” Also returning is another fan favorite, Falcon stud Andrew Stark, who has been quiet for a few years. LaRue also snagged a fourth comeback for a non-sex role: Falcon royalty Brad Patton, who appeared in the original and flew up from Miami for a cameo (in what LaRue calls his Charlie’s Angels moment, a nod to the Jaclyn Smith cameo in the 2000 movie). LaRue also got to direct Brent Corrigan for the first time. The two had appeared together in front of the camera before (LaRue had a dialogue role in Falcon’s The Velvet Mafia in 2006), but had an otherwise rocky history. “We had a little bit of a kind of tumultuous … uh … past … you know, jabbing and ribbing and not maybe being the politest to each other that we could have been. But he has changed so much and I’ve changed so much, and I asked him to be in the movie. He could have of course turned me down, but he didn’t … and he’s so good in it.” The project features new Falcon exclusive Skyy Knox (“He is so beautiful, so gorgeous and such a great performer,” gushes LaRue) as Rogue, a renegade angel who escapes hell and heads to Earth—where things aren’t as rosy as he had hoped. Devil Dean Monroe sends his minions to bring Rogue back, but a stripper named Lucky may get in their way. Making his debut is Gabriel Alanzo as one of four dark angels in pursuit of the runaway. Rounding out the cast are Johnny V, Sean Zevran, Arad Winwin, Andre Donovan, Armond Rizzo and Trelino. “So many people have lent their talents to this movie. This is not another porno movie, this is a fucking porn event, you know? It’s beyond my wildest dreams,” says LaRue. “I finally got to see the full movie yesterday, and it’s going to blow everyone away. It’s so fucking good. It’s got six sex scenes in a day and age where we’re seeing movies that have three. And it’s got a cast of 14, and it’s just spectacular.” The film drew the attention of some impressive talents behind the scenes, like renowned designer Michael Schmidt. “He styled stuff for Lady Gaga, Madonna, Aerosmith, Cher,” says an excited LaRue of the film’s wardrobe designer. “He even brought a wardrobe piece that he made for Madonna for her ‘Ghosttown’ video that she ended up not wearing; Dean is wearing it in the movie.” CockyBoys performer Taylor Reign worked his makeup magic (“He is just amazing … he painted all the fake tattoos on all the guys”) and was a wardrobe assistant, while John Hall is on board with concept art and illustrations. “He draws these amazing pictures. He’s a big fan, and when he found out I was doing the movie, he called and said, ‘Can I please do the illustrations of the cast?’ In the first one, someone from Falcon did the illustrations, and so I incorporate one of the illustrations from the first one into this one, and John does all the illustrations for this one,” LaRue shares. “What’s funny is I was going through all my boxes with my stuff at home, and I happened to come upon some pieces from the original movie! Some collars and pieces made out of guitar picks and feathers, and we incorporated them into the movie. I added a lot of little nods and reminders of the first one,” says LaRue, noting the two storylines are loosely connected. “Probably one of the only differences between the two is that back then, I used a lot of bling and a lot of prosthetic makeup that I didn’t do in this one. This is more up to date. This is more like The Crow versus Blade, kind of in that dark underworld kind of feel. So the costuming is brilliant, and it’s just really, really well done. The attention to detail is impeccable.” LaRue was also elated to shoot at the Armory, the longtime home to Kink.com—which moved production out of the historic San Francisco Mission building earlier this year. “They were in the process of clearing out, and I was the last adult project to be shot there … I’ve been wanting to shoot at that fucking place forever! We got to shoot in what I think they call the catacombs … it’s got an actual river running through it, so that’s the devil’s lair, and it’s so fucking fabulous. Everything in the porn universe came together to make this movie. And mr. Pam’s still photography is book worthy; if they don’t make a book out of the photography, they’re missing out.” LaRue also got to work with Tony Dimarco for the first time ever (who serves as cinematographer with mr. Pam), which was “a total pleasure. We’re all so different that bringing all of our ideas—and helping each other getting those ideas to work—really made for an awesome project.” LaRue now has four more projects on the books for Falcon, including a Hot House shoot in May, another movie with Dimarco in September and a Raging Stallion film with Steve Cruz. “I’m back. I’m so happy … it’s pretty great. Getting sober has reignited my creative juices. That was always one of my strengths, being able to come up with creative ideas at the drop of a hat. I’ve got so many, and the ideas are just flowing out of me. Tim has welcomed me back, and I can’t thank him enough for that. And being there with my best friend Sister Roma and working with (VP of Production) Adam Robinson again, and Tony and Andrew Rosen and the different editors there, and mr. Pam—there’s a lot of creative people there. We all have egos, but put those to the side a little bit, we can make some fucking killer stuff.” Above, some of the cast members of Heaven to Hell 2. From left, Skyy Knox, Sean Zevran, Andre Donovan, Dean Monroe, Arad Winwin, Gabriel Alanzo. Photo courtesy Falcon Studios Group

 
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