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On the Set: Jacky St. James Masters BDSM Evolution in ‘Emma Marx IV’

On the Set: Jacky St. James Masters BDSM Evolution in ‘Emma Marx IV’
Arch Stanton

On a very sunny Friday in spring, amidst the picturesque — and wealthy! — hills o’ Calabasas, the stage was set for writer/director Jacky St. James’ fourth installment of the XBIZ Award-winning BDSM series, “The Submission of Emma Marx,” aptly titled “Evolved.”

With a full schedule of non-sex material to film, the six-person crew was friendly and upbeat, making it seem, to me, more like a pleasant vacation than a typically laborious on-set writing excursion — especially since the location was in the more rural, hilly section of the San Fernando Valley.

Emma has kind of abandoned her life as a submissive because she’s not getting joy from it anymore. So this is her transition to becoming a dominant.

In fact, the crew acted (as clichéd as it sounds) like a family … a functional (rather than dysfunctional) unit, including the delicious-as-hell “Emma Marx IV” cast o’ young ladies: namely, lead starlet Penny Pax, Riley Reid (playing Emma’s somewhat shallow sister Nadia) and Violet Starr (the new chick on the block, cast as Mariah, Emma’s fresh love interest and BDSM protégé).

And, yep, the long-awaited, hard-hitting, steamy pumping ‘tween Riley Reid and (her on-screen hubby) Van Wylde was scheduled for the very end of the day. But, it was most certainly worth the wait! In fact, the entire shoot was a blast.

I arrived at the Calabasas location early in the morning, finding the home on a winding (but paved!) side-road. My car was buzzed through a metal gate, after which I traveled up a steep driveway and parked (amongst, about seven other cars/trucks) at the top of the property, which is a four-story — but, strangely, cottage-looking — mansion. As I casually ventured inside the home, the affable New Sensations PR guy Nelson greeted me and whispered that they’re shooting (guess what?) dialogue upstairs between all three girls — Pax, Reid and Starr. We, thus, quietly crept like ninjas to observe the goings-on.

Aside from St. James, New Sensations directors Eddie Powell and Paul Woodcrest bolstered the ranks as cameramen for the shoot, backed by a sound guy, a production assistant and a stills photographer. Other than this merry band o’ six — and a makeup lady (downstairs watching reruns of “Flipper”), as well as the cast of three young ladies (we were still waiting, by the way, for male performer Van Wylde to arrive, but it was still early) the shooting posse was a tight-knit crew.

Up first was a scene with Reid, who was shocked to find a semi-clothed Starr angrily storming out of her sister’s bedroom. Penny Pax (the sister) chased after her apparent lover, calling out “Mariah!” Stunned, Reid’s character asked her sibling, “Are you gay?” Judging by her expression and tone of voice, she had clearly suspected her sister’s sexual predilections for a good while, but was never entirely sure. After a few more takes, with St. James advising Reid to deliver her line with varied enunciations — amidst good-natured banter back and forth — it was time for the next scene … this time in the kitchen.

During the prep phase, I spent a few minutes with the eminently approachable, downright charming St. James, who’s been with New Sensations since 2011 and has written/directed a plethora of feature and vignette titles for them … with “The Submission of Emma Marx” being part of the company’s “Erotic Stories” collection.

Looking back on three Emma Marx movies in the rear-view mirror — “The Submission of Emma Marx” (2013), “Emma Marx II: Boundaries” (2015) and “Emma Marx III: Exposed” (2016) — I inquired as to how St. James felt compelled to produce a fourth installment.

“My boss Scott Taylor, the owner of New Sensations, emailed me,” recalled St. James. The attractive blonde, in her late thirties, was garbed in a comfy sweatshirt, sweatpants and tennis shoes combo. “He asked me, ‘Do you think there’s another Emma movie in your brain?’ And I said, ‘Oh, I can always make an Emma movie.’ ‘Great! Then do it.’ So I wrote back to him, ‘Great! I want it!” She laughed with sincerity.

As to how this installment differs from the previous three films, St. James related, “Emma has kind of abandoned her life as a submissive because she’s not getting joy from it anymore. So this is her transition to becoming a dominant. But there’s also a new submissive coming into her life, someone who helps get her through a lot of the struggles that she’s had, being alone and without her love — and that’s Violet.”

The popularity of these movies, of course, is the result of their double-sided appeal: That is, hardcore viewers enjoy them because there’s rough sex, at least one anal inter-lewd per movie and not a condom in sight; while couples dig the lighter bondage aspects of the movies, such as blindfolding, handcuffing, spanking, (slight) choking, role-playing and bondage. But, again, it’s BDSM-lite. No one walks away with an ass beaten to the consistency of raw hamburger meat or majorly purpled.

Yet, what’s truly amazing with the “Emma Marx” series, is that it’s been five years since the first movie, and St. James is still utilizing the same three performers, each playing the same core character in the movie, i.e., Penny Pax, Riley Reid and Van Wylde.

“I got so lucky with them,” noted St. James, “because they’ve been in the business for five years, whereas most people leave, or come and go. In fact, I was really able to do this project because of them.”

Wylde at last arrives, although the next scene on the agenda doesn’t involve him, since it’s some outdoor dialogue between Pax and Reid beside the mansion’s modestly sized pool. The girls get a kick out of three gray-haired wild rabbits innocently hopping about the large, undeveloped area on the far side of the pool.

At this point, it’s 5 p.m., and homeward-bound cars are winding down the roadway in the distance.

“We’re contending with rush hour now,” St. James pointed out, as the sound man wrestled with his equipment and the ambient noise, trying to get clean audio from both Reid and Pax.

At that moment, a plane flew overhead. “Damn you, passengers!” Eddie Powell joked, shaking his fist at the sky. In his own mock-rage fashion, Woodcrest added, “Drinkin’ champagne! Smokin’ cigars!”

After a brief interval, the patient St. James declared, “Looks good,” to cameraman Powell, who, in turn, looked at the soundman and asked, “Are we good?” to which the fella solidly nodded in affirmation.

Weather-wise, it was beginning to get a smidge cold. Pax, very sweetly, warmed up Reid by rubbing her hands up and down the gorgeous spinner’s arms.

As we all headed inside, I took the opportunity — in-between setups — to briefly chat with Pax in the home’s now empty kitchen. “The only person not in this movie,” I mentioned to Pax, “who was in the first three Emma installments, is Richie Calhoun.”

“Right,” agreed the curvy and bespectacled 28-year-old redhead, looking very conservative in an almost librarian-like blouse, skirt and heels. “He’s retired from porn. But he’s narrating the story for ‘Emma IV,’ so it’s kind of nice that he’s still part of the family and the project.”

I expressed curiosity about whether or not Pax ever explored the whole BDSM scene prior to her misadventures as Emma Marx.

“It’s serendipitous how I came into the first movie, like Emma, with no knowledge of BDSM,” she happily recounted. “She was starting to learn it from Mr. Frederick (Calhoun’s character). And I was learning more and more, literally in real-time with the movie, because I’d just begun to shoot with bondage companies — in L.A., San Francisco and Oakland — and, again, I just started to learn more about it, and get more interested in it, exactly like Emma’s character. So, it couldn’t have worked out better.

“And now, she takes on a different role, not so much as a submissive but as a dominant,” she added, “much like I’m doing in my actual career. So, it’s all coming full circle.”

St. James next shot the three girls sitting down in the dining room, drinking “white wine” and eating cheesecake (glad I didn’t touch the grub when I saw it in the refrigerator earlier!). After Herr Director finished the shot, she thanked Starr, warmly telling her that she’s done for the day.

So — hey, hey — it was the perfect time to chat up this luscious, 20-year-old, exotic-looking Miami/Latina babe (in fact, all three girls today were, curiously enough, from the Sunshine State).

“Emma Marx IV: Evolved” is Starr’s first-ever feature, but what I really wanted to know was something about her own experiences, if any, with the kinkworld. “I used to have a dom when I was 18 years old,” she preciously confessed, dressed in a tank top (no bra) and white undies (yeowza!). “It was a big lifestyle, and I really love BDSM. But a dominant’s too strict for me. I prefer the whole daddy/dom fetish lifestyle. It has the BDSM aspect to it, but it’s more gentle and caring, even though you’re still submissive.”

Curiously enough, not only did Starr turn out to be a sub in real life but, in reality, Pax is a dom — and they both play sub and dom, respectively, in this movie. So, was life imitating porn? Vice versa? Or were life and XXX darkly reflecting one another? I leave it to you, dear readers, to amusingly decipher this conundrum …

After our chat, Starr changed clothes and finally booked it outta there, giving everyone (including yours truly) a hug before a Lyft car took her home (or wherever), somewhere in the Valley.

Next, after yet another dialogue set-up between Pax and Reid finished, the main redhead herself was permitted to leave (hugs and kisses for all), at which point the very long-awaited sex sequence between Wylde and Reid was on the verge of erupting.

“Riley!” St. James called out. “You and Van … show each other your tests!”

Wylde showed his blood test to Reid (as she did, in turn, to him), at which point I asked the 27-year-old male performer, a chemical engineering graduate from a college in North Carolina, what it’s like working with St. James.

“These days, I mainly just shoot gonzo,” he frankly stated, “but I’ll shoot features for Jacky, 100 percent. I love shooting for her. She’s very solid with what she wants.”

About features, he said, “They can tend to drag on for a long time. And a lot of the time there’s nothing getting done. But, for me, I feel like Jacky’s always on it, always working and making things happen, and she’s also happy. So that’s a big thing. She obviously likes what she’s doing.” I asked Wylde if he, similarly, enjoys his work. “Yeah!” he exclaimed. “I mean, I stopped doing engineering for it.”

I quickly shifted over to Reid now, who was wearing an arousing silk mini-skirt and high heels, and I asked her about the upcoming sex scene, which I heard would be much more aggressive than usual.

“Yep,” she gleefully told me. “We’re going to be hate-fucking. It’s supposed to be very passionate but also rough at the same time. This is the most extreme my character in the series has ever been.”

“So, are you gonna trash the place?” I asked.

She laughed, admitting, “I’m really hoping to. I noticed that there was like a guitar in the other room, and I am gonna smash it.” She cracked up before adding, “No, I’m totally kidding.”

I dared hope she was not, in fact, kidding — what a sight that would’ve been to behold!

After St. James shot a particularly toxic interchange, in which the divorcing characters of Reid and Wylde (sounds like a law firm, doesn’t it?) very realistically shout one another down in what looks like a TV room; the stills photographer afterwards obtained Reid’s glam photos, followed by hardcore shots, all under the careful (but far from micromanaging) watch of both St. James and Powell.

At last, it was time for hardcore action. Once Reid and Wylde got naked, petting one another, St. James said, “You guys have fun. Just keep it aggressive. But no, ‘Suck my cock, cunt!’”

Woodcrest jokingly retorted, “Suck my cunt, cunt!”

St. James then instructed her about-to-boink performers, underscoring, “Keep it intense. No romance, though. Just intense.”

Reid started with a gagging, choking, saliva-drenched blow-job, at which she’s always been a true artiste.

As St. James watched on the sidelines, the two cameramen — Powell and Woodcrest — did their thing. Powell had his camera on a harness, allowing him to do steady-cam stuff around all of the action, while Woodcrest was more focused on traditional angles for the sex coverage.

Reid and Wylde did cowgirl next, and I couldn’t help but notice Reid’s exquisite body. Unlike the luscious Starr and extra juicy Pax, Reid has a pure spinner’s body. But her ass is equally delectable. I liked the fact, too, that Wylde didn’t, literally, grab her ass, instead leaving the entirety of that magnificent derriere visible for the camera. The sofa creaked so loudly, I wouldn’t have been surprised to learn that the noise echoed all the way in Encino.

Reid’s butt cakes crazily jiggled like Jell-O throughout. “Don’t you fucking stop!” she yelled at Wylde. “You’re gonna make me come!”

She squirted a bit.

There was a quick cut, during which Reid cleaned herself with a handful of paper towels.

“It’s looking good,” said St. James, who, with more paper towels, helped clean some of Reid’s squirt from the floor. “You guys are doing great.”

The cameras started rolling again, this time capturing reverse-cowgirl, followed by more deep blow-jobbin’, some voracious pussy-eating, hammering missionary and groin-slapping spoon.

Powell told the loving couple, “Another minute of this and then — voila!” In other words, their cameras were ready for the pop shot.

But, it took more than a minute to happen, I’m happy to report. Regarding the pop, Woodcrest asked Powell, “It’s gonna be on the bush, right?” He confirmed, “Right.”

“Fuckin’ come all over me!” Reid howled to Van.

He did, erupting all over her semi-hairy pussy as instructed.

St. James then gave him some final directions, suggesting, “Van, tell her, ‘You can’t live without me, Nadia. You’ll see.’ Don’t do it like a dick, though.” Wylde recited the line just so.

“And … cut!” St. James announced. “That was fantastic guys!”

It was now midnight. Before departing home to fully crash, out of curiosity, I could not help but wonder if there would be more “Emma Marx” movies on the horizon.

“It’s funny,” St. James began, cheerful and energized even after such a lengthy and grueling day, “because when we did the third movie, I thought it was the finale. Then, the boss said, ‘Let’s do a fourth.’ Now, I don’t know if this is the end. If it is, it’s a good ending. If it’s not, there are definitely places where it can go. I think there’s always room for Emma’s story to continue!”

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