Q&A: Kayla-Jane Danger on Zalman King's Final Film

Lila Gray

LAS VEGAS — Kayla-Jane Danger recently answered a few questions for XBIZ about her role in “Pleasure or Pain,” the posthumous opus from director, writer, actor and producer Zalman King.

The film premieres tomorrow, April 5, exclusively on Cinemax.

King, best known for his melodramatic, hyper-erotic aesthetic present in “Two Moon Junction,” “9 ½ Weeks,” “Wild Orchid” and “The Red Shoe Diaries,” can retrospectively be viewed as an 80s-era EL James, bringing marginalized notions of BDSM and power play to a mainstream audience. He passed away in 2012 at the age of 70.  

In “Pleasure or Pain,” King's final film, fetish darling Danger stars alongside Malena Morgan, Christos Vasilopoulos and Elle Alexandra in the erotic drama about a beautiful, young designer lured into a torrid and intense affair with a charismatic and wealthy real estate developer.

Danger also wrote an adult novel inspired by King’s screenplay that debuted last year on Amazon as an eBook under her nom-de-plume, Kayla Jane.

How did you get involved with the film? Were you a fan of Zalman King’s previous work?

I was actually chosen by photo for an audition. Zalman and one of the producers, Shane Stanley, had emailed me through every email I have asking if I would come in for an audition. Of course, I had heard of Zalman and seen his work, so I absolutely was honored and agreed to audition. Once we spoke and I read for him, I was offered the role of Isabel, which really was the perfect character for me! 

What was it like working with King? 

It was a dream! He was so passionate about expressing women's sexuality to the world that he really took the time to get to know what drove each of the women who starred in the movie. He wanted to know how we loved, understand our "hook up" culture, and make sense of our extroverted sexuality. He directed us as if we had all been doing this forever, but took the time to mold each of us into the best actors and performers we could be. It’s hard not to get emotional when I think back to the time on set. 

What is your character, Isabel, like in the movie?

Isabel is the provocateur. She is the right-hand (wo)man to Jack (Vasilopoulos) and is there to manipulate Victoria (Morgan) into becoming more sexually open. There is nothing that makes Isabel uncomfortable and she is always calm, collected and in control. 

Do you think your work in fetish affected your perception of the storyline? Did it inform your acting?

Contrary to the sound of the name, the movie isn't a BDSM flick or even a fetish movie, it is about sex and the pleasure or pain dependence on sex may bring. So in that regard, I wouldn't say my fetish experience made me view the storyline any differently. However, I read it as someone who was vulnerable to the pleasure and pain of sex — or addiction to sex  — which helped me see this story as much more than just an erotic movie. My work in fetish definitely helped me in fully realizing the potential of the role. Isabel is the closest thing to a dominatrix that this movie has and I definitely used my Domme poise, voice and attitude to create Isabel. 

Why has it taken so long for the film to be released? 

Unfortunately, I don't really know the answer to that. My understanding was that it was supposed to be released around the same time as my novel, but alas it was not. It has been available online in episodic format to members of a certain website, but it’s not quite the same as watching the full feature film! 

What is your own erotic novel about? What about the movie inspired you to write it?

The novel "Zalman King's: Pleasure or Pain," was written as a tribute to Zalman, and it is based on the screenplay of "Pleasure or Pain." It was a decision Zalman's friend, long-time business partner and executive producer of the movie, David Saunders, and I made together after Zalman passed. We didn't know when the movie would be out and both of us wanted to see his memory live on, even for people who many not watch erotica. So I sat down with my script, my copy of the movie in the DVD player and channeled Zalman the best I could — hearing his voice in my head as I wrote. The story is 100 percent Zalman and true to the movie, so if you are someone that likes both, buy the book today on Amazon.com or Smashwords and then check the movie out when it airs in April.

To check out the airing schedule for “Pleasure or Pain” on Cinemax, click here. The film will premiere tomorrow, and will play a total of ten times until April 24.

Danger’s eBook “Zalman King’s” Pleasure or Pain” is now available on Smashwords in multiple formats.