The Force Is With Axel Braun for ‘Star Wars’ Parody
Princess Leia, in the person of rising starlet Allie Haze, is having a smoke and a Starbucks outside of a busy downtown Los Angeles soundstage. She is resplendent in white, her iconic braids in perfect place. Behind heavy metal doors, director Axel Braun is shooting a scene in her starship for his long-planned, much-anticipated “Star Wars XXX: A Porn Parody.”
Braun hit pay-dirt in 2010 with his Batman take-off for Vivid and is looking to score even bigger with two Spider-Man parodies for the Vivid Superheroes line. But “Star Wars XXX,” a stand-alone co-production between Vivid and Braun, could be his biggest yet.
Right now he is peering intently at a video monitor as his players run through their dialogue.
The camera is positioned behind the actors for a reverse shot of the starship’s cockpit. Han Solo, played by parody regular Rocco Reed, is at the controls, next to a perfect replica of Chewbacca (Dick Chibbles under all the hair). Behind them are Luke Skywalker, played by Seth Gamble, and a grey-bearded Tom Byron as Ben Obi-Wan Kenobi.
“Chewy, get us outta here!” Han Solo orders.
The cockpit sits in front of a floor-to-ceiling blue screen. Much of the shooting will be in the bluescreen process, with backgrounds added digitally in post-production.
And with a show like this, there’s a lot of post-production. But, says Braun, “It’s a huge budget.” For him, fidelity to original details is paramount. He points toward Chewbacca: “We built that costume from scratch, strand by strand.”
Gamble as Luke looks appropriately innocent and just a bit dumb. “We dyed his hair,” Braun says of his reddish locks.
Braun planned the project for a year. At first he considered shooting in 3D but dropped the idea. “Fans want to see it the way it was originally done,” he says. “My audience is a different demographic. I’m not appealing to porn fans. I’m appealing to the fan base of the originals. I want to please the hardcore geek fans, so it’s in 2D.”
This is Day 4 of an eight-day schedule. Still to come is exterior work in the desert near Barstow, standing in for the planet Tatouine.
Lexington Steele is playing Darth Vader, “but we never see him, he’s behind the mask the whole time.” We will, however, see his mighty flesh-sword, when he gets a blowjob from Princess Leia. “He gives her the dark side of The Force,” Braun chuckles.
And they have recreated the beloved cantina episode, complete with two sex scenes, one involving Kimberly Kane and Aiden Ashley as the Tonnika Twins, another with African-American newcomer Rhianna Rhymes.
Loveable robots R2-D2 and C-3PO (to be voiced by ChiChi Larue) will be created by CGI wizardry.
Byron jumped at the chance to play Obi-Wan Kenobi. “Axel called me up and said, ‘Do you want to play Ben?’” That was on February 23. He remembers the date because it’s the day he stopped shaving. “I’ve been growing the beard ever since.”
(Braun on Byron’s performance: “He’s unbelievable.”)
“I got killed the other day,” he says casually. “By Darth Vader. His light saber cut me in two. We choreographed the whole fight. It took us five hours to shoot.” (The sabers, of course, will be digitally created.)
Before his death, though, he’ll have an anal scene in the desert with Asa Akira, playing a Tusken raider.
Chewbacca’s scene with two girls is still to be shot. Chibbles says his impressive costume is not awfully comfortable. “It’s like 110 degrees inside it. It’s OK for 15 minutes.”Between takes he cools off with a hair dryer.
Leading lady Haze is still celebrating her life as Vivid’s newest contract girl — “28 days so far.” When she auditioned for Leia, Braun was so impressed that he immediately recommended that Steven Hirsch sign her.
She and Axel joke about how she drew the toughest director for her first Vivid assignment. His reputation as taskmaster and perfectionist is well-earned, as we’re about to see.
He’s shooting a testy exchange in the cockpit between Han Solo and Leia. Luke is behind them. When he makes a fresh remark she wheels around and slaps his face. Braun makes her hit him for real, hard. “He can take it,” he says.
It requires six takes, but finally: “We got it.”
Han Solo wraps up the scene with a chunk of dialogue and the director is pleased. “That was great, Rocco.”
Braun plans to show a trailer for his epic at International Comic-Con in San Diego on July 22. That’s where he’s premiering “Spider-Man: A XXX Porn Parody,” in conjunction with the fan-boy website Geekscape.
He hopes to release the DVD on Sep. 12, when a new box set of the classic film is scheduled to bow.
His audience is already there and eagerly awaiting the XXX version. It seems that, already, The Force is with him.