DCypher becomes ronin

Gram Ponante
I talked with the earnest yet sanguine director DCypher on the set of the Metro movie Taboo 22.

"Where did you get that coffee?" I probed, probing.

"Right over there," he said. "You can have some if you want."

"Oh no no no," I said. I was merely warming up my interrogative instrument.

Red Ezra's Taboo 21 breathed new life into the line, which is one of Metro's tentpole series. DCypher is guardedly honored to have been asked to direct one.

In an industry in which movies are pumped out in numbers too high to distinguish one from the other, and conforming to formulae that increase the bottom line but do not really allow for much range of artistic expression, DCypher is wary of sounding too enthusiastic about things.

"People ask me why I have such a high opinion of myself," he said. "People get really mmean about it."

All of DCypher's recent movies (Prisoner, Wonderland) pay tribute to what he calls his "wasted liberal arts education".

"But people get mad at me when I do that," he said. "And at the same time this is a business where people who didn't graduate high school will brag that they have college graduates working for them.

"'I got a smart guy working for me,'" I admit that sometimes I watch a DCypher movie and I think that someone's being smart at me. But he aims high, and if he gives his audience credit for picking up a Thomas Pynchon reference or three it's more than many of his more cynical, probably less-conflicted peers do.

But is it a realistic expectation that people will welcome hat-tips to Nabokov in their porn, even if Barely Legal is, at its heart, a 58-episode tribute to "Lolita"?

"I can't not think the way I do," DCypher said.

Taboo 22 is set in an unsexy future time where people like Brooke Haven, Nicole Sheridan and Carli Banks are even unsexy.

"The taboo in Taboo 22 is that sex is taboo," DCypher said lyrically. In the scene I watched, Ava Rose (big pictures) played a character for whom learning the lines and wearing clothes were taboo. Rules are meant to be broken, baby.

Earlier I asked Justine Joli if she would be in the movie, being DCypher's main squeeze and all.

"He can't afford me," she said. Lately I have noticed that the glossier porn sets I've been to don't really have props. There's the house and the pool and some corporate art on the wall, but little extra effort is made. Taboo 22 had a snazzy "1984"-ish banner and all the girls had matching uniforms and armbands.

After this movie, DCypher will be a director for hire again, a servant of no master but his own muse. That muse, I'm hoping, will be Tony Hillerman. I would like to see DCypher employing his vision to craft pornography out of Navajo detective procedural novels.

"Taboo is a very big series for Metro," he said, "and this movie will amicably finish my contract on a high note with them."

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