Fear Factor: Bonnie Rotten Debuts as Director for DreamZone

Jared Rutter

"I love playing Southern creeps,” says Bonnie Rotten, the star and director of “Cape Fear XXX,” a DreamZone parody. “I’m a slow-talking Southerner,” she purrs, “who can kill people.”

In this hardcore parody of the cult-favorite, 1991 Martin Scorsese film, the roles are gender-reversed. Bonnie plays Max Kady, immortalized by Robert DeNiro, while the lawyer object of her obsession (the Nick Nolte part) is played by Chanel Preston. Chanel’s husband (the male version of Jessica Lange) is Alec Knight.

I’m a sponge. I ask questions, try to learn things. I’ve wanted to get myself in a position to create. —Bonnie Rotten

In all other respects it follows the original story.

This is Bonnie’s first outing as a director for DreamZone. Dressed all in pink — shorts, tee, with a white cap — she looks like anything but a killer. But she’s got a tight rein on what’s happening on set.

It’s the second day of a three-day shoot. Yesterday they were at a private home, today they’re in a studio. Tomorrow, a weekend, they’re scheduled to work on a boat, at sea, off the Channel Islands, a few miles south of Los Angeles. The only problem is a predicted storm. “The one fucking day it rains in L.A.,” Bonnie fumes, then laughs. “I love being challenged.”

Remmet Studios, which hosts mostly lower-budget mainstream shoots, is spacious and well-equipped, with a fully stocked prop room that Bonnie has been dipping into. “Who knew when I signed up to be a director I’d get to be an interior designer, too,” she grins. “It’s like shopping.”

The downside is that if her crew isn’t outta there promptly by 8 p.m., they’ll be hit with hefty overtime charges. So she keeps things moving, supported by two ace cameramen — David Lord and Alex Ladd, among the best in the biz — plus a gaffer and two female production assistants, all very efficient.

She says the camera guys are always telling her about the shots she wants, “That’s not gonna work, Bonnie, be more realistic.” But she presses on and does them anyway.

It is midday, around 3 p.m. and they’ve already shot one sex scene — a girl-girl with Bonnie and Jodi Taylor — with more to come. The second scene will involve her doing Tommy Pistol, who is just now arriving on set.

Yesterday they shot Chanel and Alec in a domestic partner scene, and Evan Stone, as a private detective who comes to a bad end, with Luna Star, as a chambermaid. The climax, on the boat, will be Bonnie’s fight with Chanel.

Bonnie’s excited about the special effects available to even low-budget filmmakers. She shows a photo on her phone of Evan Stone with his neck slit by Max-wielded piano wire, bleeding profusely. It looks convincing.

She’s been in the biz for three years, starting when she was 18. She’s appeared in “70–80” movies, and has always kept her eyes open. “I’m a sponge. I ask questions, try to learn things. I’ve wanted to get myself in a position to create.”

She’s in that position now, with a new six-production deal with Girlfriends Films for her own line, Mental Beauty. The first, “To the Core,” involves “hot sexy doms on innocent young girls” in a style she describes as “Andrew Blake meets Kink.com — pretty but twisted.”

She took her idea for the “Cape Fear” parody to the folks at distribution giant IVD, who green-lighted the project for their DreamZone label. A friend, writer-director D. Cypher, wrote the script. Her only disappointment was not being able to convince her agent, Mark Spiegler, to play a cameo role as a judge.

Chanel Preston arrives on the set, tall, willowy, ready to roll. She’s doing dialogue today but tomorrow she’ll be battling with Bonnie. “I’m not that good at fighting. I’m a girl.”

“She’s a cunt,” Tommy Pistol chimes in, between bites of leftover pizza. “A lawyer cunt.”

This is Chanel’s first feature project in some time. She laughs when she says that Jodi Taylor, just a few years younger, is playing her daughter. “In porn you can make anything happen.”

She plugs her new webisode series, “Naked with Chanel,” which deals with “shedding stigmas about sexuality,” and then goes into makeup.

Bonnie and Tommy get ready for a dialogue scene on a bar set, in which Max picks up Larry (Lori in the original). It’s quite a set, too — a whole restaurant with padded booths, pool table, jukebox, a bar, stools, bottles.

The actors run through their dialogue. Lord and Ladd, each with a camera, are posted on either side of them. They discuss and decide on the angles.

Bonnie asks the time. “Three o’clock? Perfect! We’re on schedule.”

“B-17. Action!” she commands, then walks into camera view. Tommy’s at the bar, acting drunk. “Hello, beautiful! My name’s Larry.”

Slurring his words, he is naturally, effortlessly funny. “All those tattoos! You’re like a walking art museum … Let’s get outta here!”

The camera changes to a wide angle shot and they run through the scene again. “I need to go prepare for sex,” Bonnie announces.

The crew moves to a hotel room set, ready to go. Tommy is sprawled on the bed, his dick hanging out of his pants, masturbating.

“Anybody see a pair of handcuffs?” One of the P.A.’s retrieves them from a nearby desk. Bonnie is to emerge from a shower — “I walk in, in a towel. And then I handcuff him.” This will turn out to be a fem-dom scene, something Tommy’s not really comfortable with, although later he says it turned out fine.

“We have three hours left after we finish this scene,” Bonnie says. The boat scene has been postponed to the following week. (Good decision: the rains are torrential.)

There is some discussion about camera position and lighting between Lord and Ladd. Bonnie seems happy to let them take care of all that. She’s ready to dive onto Tommy’s crotch.

“I may not know about cameras and lights,” she says, “but I know about dick and fucking.”

And then: “Sex scene 2. Action!”

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