LOS ANGELES — “Strong women are super sexy. I don’t think there’s much adult content that portrays women in that light.” Actor-director Derrick Pierce means to change all that with his first big-budget movie, “Tuff Love,” for Wicked Pictures, about MMA fighters who happen to be female.
The movie is on its last day of a three-day shoot on the fourth floor of an industrial building in downtown Los Angeles. On the agenda are three sex scenes and lots of dialogue, the first two days having been devoted mostly to fight scenes.
At this moment Jessica Drake is bending over a desk in what looks like the office of a fight promoter, being eaten from behind by Steven St. Croix. Director Pierce peers intently at the video monitor as his two ace cameramen, Wicked regulars Barrett Blade and David Lord, cover the action.
St. Croix moves Jessica to the top of the desk, takes off her panties, spreads her legs, and continues with lunch. She pulls up her top and plays with her tits as his tongue buries itself in her snatch.
The cameramen and the actors figure out the next position — the director seems to have left that decision to them. It’s a blowjob, first soft, with the camera behind Jessica’s head, then hard, shot from the side to reveal every nuance of the star’s oral expertise.
Pierce obviously trusts his camera team for the sex scenes. With everything else, though, he’s hands-on: writer, director, lead actor, fight choreographer. As he puts it, “I thought, if I take a bite of it, I should take the whole thing.”
Actor Derrick has more than 500 titles to his credit, director Derrick, just two. Before entering porn he made a mark as a fighter. “I was on the U.S. national team for taekwondo, under my real name, and I have boxed under a number of people for about seven years now. And grappling and submission wrestling for about three years.”
He still trains MMA fighters — including Wicked contract star Jessica Drake, who worked with him for two months in preparation for her “Tuff Love” role.
Pierce considers himself lucky to have gotten a three-day shoot from Wicked, which usually reserves that luxury for No. 1 director Brad Armstrong. But Armstrong, who Pierce considers a mentor, went to bat for him and helped get him the extra day. Brad also jumped on board as production designer and costumer.
The story revolves around a young fighter, played by Adrianna Luna, her rivalry with the older, more experienced Bad-Ass (Jessica) and her relationship with Evil (Pierce), an ex-fighter who is her manager and lover.
After joining an underground fight club, Adrianna faces off in the climactic scene against arch-rival Bad-Ass. “There can’t be two top dogs,” she says. The bout was shot the previous day on a soundstage in the building’s basement, with the cage in a 20-foot pit surrounded by seats filled with extras, and a ring girl played by Phoenix Marie.
“Jessica and Adrianna were really getting into it,” Pierce says, noting that some women may appear delicate but when you match ‘em up in a ring — watch out!
No one seems more delicate than the heroine Adrianna Luna. She is perched in a makeup chair getting touch-ups on her lovely features. Pierce calls her “a strong presence,” but she looks like a china doll. In fact, she has trained for years in mixed martial arts and is expert in several disciplines, including Muay Thai (Thai kickboxing) , Brazilian jiu-jitsu and wrestling. She recently immersed herself in CrossFit, a gymnastic and cardio program.
Her cage match with Jessica “went a lot better than I thought it would. It was like a real fight. The extras chose sides. At first I was timid and scared to hit her too hard, but I got over that fear.” Jessica brought “real aggressive energy” to the scene, and Adrianna responded in kind. “We’re all a little banged up today, a few bruises, nothing too bad.”
She has already done her sex scenes: a one-on-one with Derrick and an all-girl grouper with Celeste Star, Ariel X and MacKenzee Pierce. “And Jessica jumped in. She wasn’t supposed to be in the scene but she couldn’t help herself.”
Adrianna and Jessica were always Pierce’s choices for their roles. That’s why, he says, “the project has taken quite a long time to put together. Jessica, being the star that she is is always busy, and Adrianna is a rising star, to put it mildly. They just have so many commitments.”
He knows that in terms of sales and fan support, he’s moving on the right track. “I’m happy with the outcome of what we shot thus far. I couldn’t have asked for a better crew or talent both in front of and behind the camera.”
"Tuff Love" will be released by Wicked Pictures this Spring. Photo of Adrianna Luna and Derrick Pierce.