As a director/producer, what is your vision?
There’s no formula for a successful porn flick. How’s your sexuality wired? What gets you hard? A killer smile or a big fat cock? Amateur tapes or well produced features? Twinks or muscle men? Filth or romance? As a filmmaker, I can only be true to my own desires, my own likes and dislikes, hoping they’ll click with the viewers’. What turns me on as a man and as a filmmaker then? Beauty. Magnificent men, vibrantly lensed in beautiful locales. Mine is a quest for a Paradise Lost. It will transport you –so I hope—to a dazzling fantasy world of romance and sensuality.
Talk a little about your production, Love And Lust.
LOVE AND LUST was a relatively smooth production: no last minute cancellations, no drama, no crises over the 2 weeks’ shooting schedule. Most of the guys clicked with each other, especially Roberto Giorgio with Giorgio Salieri, Lucas Andrades with Matthias Vannelli. Nothing beats real, tangible sexual chemistry, you know.
Tell us about the scene with Julian Vincenzo, Jean Franko and Otto Voko.
I had never worked with Julian nor with Otto. The language barrier proved difficult to overcome –Julian speaks little English, Otto some very basic German. But I lucked out: both Jean Franko and Otto were attracted to hunky Julian. Which made for a breezy shoot.
Tell us a little about where you’re from, and also some history on your company, like when, where and how you decided to start the business.
Born and raised in Milano, Italy. In 1991 I moved to Hollywood, started out as a Unit Production Manager for a popular TV series, founded my own production company in 1995 and produced three feature films, with some critical success: one closed the Palm Springs Int’l Film Festival and is still a best-seller in video stores around the world, another went on to win for Best Children Movie at the Berlin Film festival. Porn shoots were nothing more than a hobby at the time, something I’d do for fun over the weekends. Got my start as Gino Colbert’s Production Manager, learned the ropes with Jeff Stryker and director John Travis, wrote for “Unzipped” and the now defunct “Manshots”, became friends with George Duroy. Then, in 1997, Men of Odyssey made me an offer I could not refuse: helming a movie in my own country.
In the beginning, was making porn easier or harder than you expected?
Well, I had 12 years in the mainstream, both as a film producer and a film critic, I had 3-4 years as Colbert’s Production Manager, I thought it would be a breeze. Was I wrong! The end result, JOURNEY TO ITALY was nothing short of a disaster, despite its lofty budget and its many Awards nominations. But it taught me a lot… I think of it as my ‘hardcore’ boot camp. I’ve grown since then, I’ve learnt by trials and errors. Kristen Bjorn was gracious enough to take me under his wing, pushed me to better my camerawork and my sexual choreography.
What were the biggest obstacles in your path to porn success?
I’d say two. One is purely financial: I never set out to build a factory, cranking out 6 or 12 or 24 titles a year. Rather, I’ve always thought of Lucas Kazan Prods. as a quality-driven boutique –and I stick to it. However, how do you successfully market two movies a year? How do you keep your brand in the forefront? And, most importantly, how do you amortize the high production costs? The other problem lies in the viewers’ perception. Some think of me as an “artsy” director: I am not. Careful lighting, framing and choreography do not tickle my ‘artistic’ ambitions. Plot and characterization aren’t just frills. Rather, they all make my Paradise Lost come true and with it that sense of wonder, that “celestial quality”, as reviewer Onan the Vulgarian calls it, “that is both hot and sensuous”. Yes, I believe porn can be erotic and visually spectacular and professionally lensed. Is it a crime? Do I purport to cater to everyone’s taste? Of course not. But it is unfair I’m often being judged against narrow standards of raunch. Perhaps, I expected a better understanding of my search for quality and of its staggering costs (my average shooting schedule is 2 to 3 weeks on location. Whereas most studios out there settle for 2-3 days). I expected a more generous forgiveness of my shortcomings…
Your productions are always so lush and gorgeous. How do come up with the concept for a video, and how do you find your gorgeous guys?
Adult productions –my own, at least-- work backward. In the mainstream, you have a screenplay, you ‘break it down’, you budget and cast accordingly. If it’s porn, I try and maximize our limited resources: first I identify an exotic location, then I look for a simple plot that can best inhabit it. Casting… well, this is a 365 days a year effort. What you don’t get to see is the worldwide network of photographers, model scouts and pr people who help us get there. The casting sessions and the tedious correspondence with so many hopefuls around the world…
Would you say they’re mostly straight, bi, or gay? 50/50.
Half the models identify themselves as straight, the other half as gay. But then again, these are just labels that fail to grasp the complexity and the many colors of human sexuality. Not to mention the societal and cultural pressures that mold it.
How "hands on" are you with every aspect of a film: casting, editing…design?
Filmmaking is a collaborative art form. I’ve been blessed with talented fellows, all have been part of the Lucas Kazan Productions’ team from the very beginning and have successfully contributed their skills and visions. Namely: Leonardo Rossi (cameraman), Sergio Buccheri (stillman), Andrea Ruscelli (music), Ettore Tosi (co-producer), Thunderbay Studios (packaging)
Does the director/actor relationship ever develop into something more—like friendship, or even romance?
In a way, a filmmaker is always having sex with his cast –through the camera, that is. “If you don’t wanna fuck them, you don’t wanna cast them”, I was taught at the American Film Institute, while pursuing my MFA in Film Producing. This said, I did fall in love. In 1998, Ettore Tosi applied for a job with me. We’ve been together ever since, sharing both our lives and our responsibilities.
Based on your experience, what attributes would you say video models have in common?
It is said that producers look for three attributes (face, body, dick), but may settle for two. True. But the order of preference distinguishes one producer from the other, one vision of eroticism (and voyeurism) from the other. William Higgins and I would put face first, dick last. Others wouldn’t.
What would you say are the top 3 motivations as to why guys want to be in a video shoot?
Money, narcissism and exhibitionism. Not necessarily in this order. But all three need be there: if a model is interested in his paycheck only, his performance, and everyone else’s, is doomed.
Is it ever hard getting them to fool around with each other?
Sure, if the performers are gay and they aren’t into each other. I’ve often said –and I know it sounds paradoxical—it is sometimes easier to direct straight-identified models. Less complications, less drama…
Is it harder to get a guy to take the passive role on camera than it is to get him to be dominant?
That depends. It is physically less demanding for a model to bottom. But one’s culture and idiosyncrasies have a greater impact than you imagine: for instance, a guy from Latin America (or most Mediterranean ‘macho’ oriented countries for that matter) is less likely to bottom than a guy from the Czech Republic.
What’s your definition of a good porn performer?
I don’t know if I have a definition, but I sure know what makes my job easier:
1) a tireless erection (Viagra and Caverject are no substitutes)
2) a positive, professional attitude
3) patience and perseverance (one needs to endure long hours)
4) a true enthusiasm for sex
5) some understanding of camera angles
I could name quite a few models who gave me four out of five, but only one who gave me all… and then some: Lucas Foz.
Here’s an important question: What’s the biggest dick you ever saw—our readers need to know!
On a set? Jeff Stryker’s. A man truly obsessed with his dick and others’. When we first met, he wanted to know how I ordinarily jerked off (like most Italian, I’m uncut). In real life? Try any of the bath houses in Rio de Janeiro or Sao Paulo!
What do you think about barebacking vids? Do you see repercussions from that affecting the industry?
Of course we see repercussions. Any barebacking video –no matter how poorly cast and produced— is now outselling expensive productions from the top studios. I won’t censor, nor condemn anyone.Yet, I feel I have a personal responsibility to the G&L community: as long as all LKP models engage in safer sex, LKP viewers will imitate safer sex practices. As simple as that.
What do you see as the next big trend in gay video?
Is gay porn as an art-form dead? This is the big dilemma for me. Will HD restore craftsmanship, production values and purpose to what we do? Or will the reality porn wave –and its aesthetic indifference-- flood us all?
Do your friends and/or family ever express amazement at the line of work you pursued with such success?
All the time. Prejudices are hard to overcome. Especially when they’re about sex. Sex in a Western, Christian/Judaic culture. Because if you look at the role of sex and erotic arts in pagan cultures… but that’s a whole other story
What’s next for Lucas Kazan?
The main goal this year is launching our membership site. I admit we’re late in the game, but we’ll make it up to the fans with a user-friendly interface and lots of web original content.
Do you always have your eyes peeled for new talent? How do performer wannabes get in touch with you?
80% of directing is… casting. Hence my admiration for Duroy and Bjorn. Yes, their visions and quality standards are unparalleled. But so is their commitment to discovering and grooming, new, exciting talent. As opposed to conveniently recycling the same ‘pros’.
How do people order your videos, or just find out what your company is up to?
• Honcho Magazine, July 2006