• Keegan Allen and James Franco on the set of 'King Cobra'. (Instagram)Source: Instagram
The real-life murder of an adult film producer inspired a new movie looking at the gay porn industry.
By
Stephanie Marie Anderson

18 Apr 2016 - 1:25 PM  UPDATED 18 Apr 2016 - 4:54 PM

King Cobra, writer/director Justin Kelly's film about the rise of the gay porn industry and the 2007 murder of adult film producer Bryan Kocis, premiered at the Tribeca film festival at the weekend.

The film stars Christian Slater as Stephen, a character based on Kocis who founds of Cobra Video, a porn company specialising in young gay males. James Franco and Keegan Allen also star and play male escorts who work for a rival company and murder Stephen.

Speaking with The Wrap, Kelly said that the producers and actors of the film "wanted to make [the sex scenes] as unapologetic as possible," while not being gratuitous.

“I didn’t have a desire to shock — it’s a part of the story," Kelly said of the explicit sex scenes. "Myself and the actors discussed from day one that you can’t shy away.”

And by Kelly's account, the actors did not shy away from making the scenes as graphic and detailed as possible. “A few times, the actors took things further than the script,” he revealed.

 

Recalling a scene that was originally written to be "mild, just kissing on the couch," as Slater's character makes advances at his young co-star, played by Garrett Clayton, Kelly says that the actors decided it had to go further.

"Christian takes him up against the closet," he says. "That is would have happened.”

Agreeing with Kelly, producer Scott Levenson agreed that the film's sexual content pushes boundaries.

“That’s the thing everyone has been saying, ‘This is something that hasn’t been done before,'” he said.

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"We've told the straight, heteronormative stories ad nauseam by now, in our movies, our shows, our commercials – everywhere."

Kelly also raised the issue of homophobia and representation of gay relationships in Hollywood, calling King Cobra an accurate representation of gay relationships.

“It’s a complete fact that graphic gay male sex will get you an NC-17 rating,” he said. “Straight men can [appear] completely naked and be choking a woman, and that’s PG-13. There are crazy rape scenes that get by, it’s mind-blowing.”

Still, Kelly feels that the tide is turning and that people are now more open to seeing graphic sex scenes on the big screen.

“I can’t say for sure, but my take is the people are really starting to want to explore the context of a story and not be afraid,” he concluded.