Straight Porn Superstar James Deen Talks Gay Sex, Onscreen and Off

Porn performer James Deen will not discuss his Canyons costar Lindsay Lohan. But he will discuss his experiences with gay sex, both onscreen—in Paul Schrader's aforementioned bizarrely mesmerizing and already-storied thriller—and in his real life. What does that say about a performer whose heterosexuality is a commodity that's sold countless straight porn movies, including Farrah Abraham's "sex tape?"

It could very well be that he's simply as honest and straightforward as he claimed to be when I talked to him by phone a few weeks ago. Or maybe it's all a way for him to continue reveling in the "unlikely porn star" image that's paradoxically turned him into the porn star of the moment.

Or maybe we've just reached a point in society where our straight porn stars risk losing nothing (and maybe even stand to gain more fans) by revealing gay dabbling.

An edited transcript of my chat with Deen is below.

There’s a stereotype of porn stars being obsessed with crossing over to the mainstream. Has that been an interest of yours?

I never really was interested in doing mainstream work. Kind of the only reason why I did The Canyons was because it was a Bret Easton Ellis movie and the mentality behind the project, just working on something for the sake of making a movie and just doing something good for the sake of us, not really worried about the financial benefit of it. Those things really attracted me. Most people in porn don't want to cross over to mainstream. Some do, but usually if you're going to do mainstream work, it's a pretty bad idea to start off by doing porn. It's not really the bridge that industry. Because I had so much fun [doing The Canyons], I wouldn't be opposed to doing more stuff, but I don't expect to be this big Hollywood star, I don't really think I'm going to turn into the next Brad Pitt or anything.

Regardless of your actual skill, you being brought on had to be something along the lines of stunt-casting. Do you feel like you’re being used?

Before Lohan signed up, actually I did. Before Lohan was involved it was like, “Oh James Deen, porn star, is the lead,” and there was a lot of controversy about that. Part of me was thinking “Oh, maybe they don't think I'm the right person for the job. They just think that the controversy of putting me in there is going to stir up media attention and get the movie recognized.” But once Lohan signed up it didn't matter whether I was in it or not, it was still going to get plenty of attention since she's obviously the bigger star.

Let's talk about Lindsay. TMZ leaked audio of her yelling at you, but I know that you generally characterized your experience with her to be a positive one. What do you think about it now looking back?

I hate to be a dick, but I'm not going to talk about Lindsay.

Oh, really?

I did an interview, [maybe it was] the New York Times piece that came out. I said that same things and one [piece] said, “James Deen defends his costar,” and the other said, “James Deen slams his costar.” And if you look at the two interviews it's the same quotes, I say the same thing, it's just the matter of the spin, and it's the philosophy that one bad apple ruins the bunch for everyone. It turned into a reality show and it turned into this game, these antics and behavior I didn't want to participate in. It sucks. I don't mean to be accusing you that going to take something I say and spin it and try to make it insulting her, it's just if I do it for you I have to do it for everybody. I just don't like reality TV and I don't want to live that in my real life.

Is maintaining your nice-guy image also in play here?

No… I disagree.

Really?

I'm sure it's probably a good idea. I don't mean to be defiant to say no to everything. It can't hurt to maintain a nice-guy image, but I think my nice guy image is because I'm pretty genuine. I've been on record saying some pretty stupid things, some really insulting things to some people I probably just shouldn't insult. But I try to be myself and treat people the way I want to be treated. When it comes to me, I'm always open, I'm honest, I'm always down to say whatever, but when it involves other people, I like my boundaries respected so I try to respect other people's boundaries. I try to err on the side of caution. I think that mentality is what creates that nice guy thing, but I would totally be down to say some asshole comments. Let’s see. Um. Puppies aren't as adorable as kittens!

It seems like your line of work leaves you particularly vulnerable. Do you ever feel under threat of getting lost in public opinion? You rely on people appreciating you in all sorts of ways.

I've never really thought of that.

Well, don't let me put it in your head.

About six months ago, or I don't know how long ago, I got a little weird. I have a T-shirt thing that I do—I sell these shirts from my website. I was freaking out that I'm going to take all this time and energy and effort and no one is going to be interested because in 15 minutes I'm going to be out the limelight and there is going to be a new flavor of the month and nobody is going to care about me. I was talking to my friend and he was like, “You've gotten where you are by just being yourself. Who cares if anyone knows who you are, just be yourself and as long as you’re personally happy it's all good.” I thought about it and it made a lot of sense. I try to always operate under that. I got my fans by just being me.

Do you ever feel dismissed or judged off-hand because of your job? Interpersonally, I mean, like at party?

When I go to mainstream functions, yeah, I get a lot of that.

Does it make you feel bad?

Not really. What the hell do I care what these people think? If it's not on The Simpsons it doesn't exist and most of the people I meet aren't on The Simpsons. If I met Alec Baldwin and he made me feel like shit I might be a little hurt, because he was on The Simpsons. What do I care if some producer who worked for Steven Spielberg says something insulting? Who cares? You're not on The Simpsons, go fuck yourself.

How was it working with Paul Schrader?

Schrader was awesome. He is undeniably a genius. Schrader is Schrader and it's just very possible that at times it's just like this weak feeble old man that everybody comes to the aid of, or that he masterminded the situation to you get everybody to do these things.

Were you uncomfortable having to kiss another guy in this movie?

Not really. I've kissed other dudes in my life, so it's not really a big deal. I have this conversation a lot because there is still a lot of homophobia in the world and in adult films, when you're sharing a scene with another dude and a lady, sometimes certain things come up: gay this, gay that. The way I define gay or homosexuals is a sexual attraction to a member of the same sex. I fully believe that people can engage in any sort of activity. Like I hate basketball, but I've played basketball before and it doesn't make me a professional basketball player. That [gay-sex] scene was a very important part of the movie, because it kind of represents the power switch. I think Bret was really worried I wouldn't want to do it. It's part of the script. It's not like it's real life. I'm not shooting a porno where I have to get physically erect and have sex with a dude. I think it was kind of a weight off of everyone's shoulders that I wasn't going to create an issue with it.

Feel free to tell me to mind my own fucking business, but have you had sexual contact with a guy off screen?

Yeah, in my life when I was a kid. I feel like there is that college period in the majority of people's lives where they are getting to know themselves and they are experimenting with their sexuality and trying different things and having different thoughts and stuff like that. When I was younger, I think I was like 15 or something, I would have a moment where I was like, I don't know, maybe I like guys, maybe I like girls, what is life? I experimented and I never really… I'm not attracted to dudes. I kinda sometimes feel bad about that, I feel like I'm supposed to be because I hang out in San Francisco so much and people make me feel really bad for being a straight, white dude and I feel like I'm doing something wrong for being a straight white dude.

No, you're fine. You know, I'm gay, and I have to confess to not being entirely familiar with your porn work, so I don’t know if you’ll have an opinion about this or not: I think that double penetration, especially like two dicks in one hole is a real gay thing to do. You know, I mean you're using a hole basically to rub your dick against another guy's.

I think if you're using hole to rub your dicks against another guy's, then yeah, it's a pretty homosexual activity but [not] if you and another dude together are having sex with a girl. The difference between a homosexual D.P. and a straight D.P. is when I go up to a girl and I'm like, “Oh my god, I want to see you just be a dirty little slut and do all these filthy things, I would love you to fuck two cocks at the same time, that would be so fucking hot, I want to be in that fucking hole,” that's kind of a straight D.P. A gay D.P. is me going up to you and being like, “Hey bro, know what we should do? We should go find a girl and wrap her around our penises and rub our penises together. Let's go find a girl to D.P.” I feel like it’s the motivation.

I feel you.

Really, what it comes down to is that for every girl that likes it in the butt, there is a dude that likes it in the butt. And for every girl that doesn't like it in the butt, there is probably a gay man out there who doesn't like it in the butt.

Oh, I've met plenty of them.

Some people like it in the butt and some people don't. Just because some people like to put things in their butt, it doesn't make them gay; it doesn't make them not gay if they don't; it's just a sexual preference. There is a difference between wanting to feel something in my butt, and if that thing is phallic shaped it’s because that is what makes it feel good. If I want my female partner to do it, I feel like that's straight: You just like it in the butt. But if you go up and if you're like, “I want to have your male penis in my butt because I am attracted to you, the male that has ownership over that penis and I want you to put it in my butt…” [Deen cuts out in apparent call waiting interruption] Oh shit, I've got to…

So what you're saying is you like it in the butt?

Not personally. On that note, I actually have my next interview calling me right now so I have to take it.