Maybe you won’t learn about why disgraced former New York governor Eliot Spitzer’s dalliances with prostitutes were federal crimes rather than state ones by watching writer/director Stuart Canterbury’s “Gov Lov: The Eliot Splitz-her Story.” Maybe you won’t get an idea of the titters of schadenfraude running through the corridors of the Albany State House at Spitzer’s hypocrisy by watching the porn version.
But you will have front row seats to something that tells you a lot about the time we’re living in nonetheless: a quickie porn turnaround of a breaking news story. And, in the case of “Gov Lov,” a quality production that doesn’t just cash in on Mike Horner’s resemblance to Spitzer but actually sticks (with little need to tarry) to the real story.
“This was a real life situation which unfolded like a porn story for once,” said Canterbury. “The script we shot was practically right off the page.”
Gamelink: How soon after the Spitzer story began unraveling did you put together the script? Did you pitch it to Huster first? How did they respond?
SC: It seemed obvious to me as soon as the initial story was confirmed. I shoot for other studios too, but it seemed like a perfect fit for Hustler from the beginning, and I think that Larry Flynt was thinking the same thing, because the response was quick and positive. Look, I am a registered Democrat, and we always hammer the Republicans at any chance we get, but this was a case where a Democratic ex-prosecutor had behaved hypocritically and deserved to be ridiculed.
Gamelink: You’re a director with a track record; you know what the porn formula is and your movie didn’t get all conceptual and self-distracted, at the same time you stayed true to a porn version of events. Did you tinker with the story/characters or was the movie shot the one you originally wrote?
SC: The actors got into the spirit of things and we improvised some of the comedy.
Gamelink: Did you want Mike Horner to be Splitz-her from the beginning?
SC: I must credit Hustler head of production Drew Rosenfeld with the suggestion to use Mike Horner. Mike and I have worked together for years, in locations as varied as Budapest and Africa, so I was very happy with the idea of casting him. I deliberately wrote the “ballet” scene in the bedroom for him, knowing that he would come up with the physical bits where the Governor is getting ready for his tryst.
Gamelink: Explain the normal porn shoot/turnaround time for a movie of that size as compared to the speedy turnaround time of “Gov Lov.”
SC: Of course, everyone was sensitive to the fact that this was a topical story, and had to get into release quickly to make the most of it. LFP (Larry Flynt Productions, parent of Hustler) moved rapidly to help us get into production as soon as possible.
(note: a typical low budget feature – we’re not talking “Pirates” or “The Fashionistas” – is shot, edited, and released in three months. “Gov Lov” hit the shelves less than one month after the “Client 9″ scandal broke.)
Gamelink: How would you categorize the types of porn movies you normally do?
SC: Some of the movies I have made are more romantic, some more edgy, but porn and comedy go very well together, and it is usually more fun to make something funny, such as a parody. I do not do gonzo projects, but only features with a story line and a softcore version. People will get bored with just watching sex, but everyone gets hooked into a story, or an interesting visual style. Depending on the studio I am shooting for, the content can be very raunchy, but I also like to make sure that we shoot some tease. I find the context of the sex scenes within the dramatic framework and the look of the production to be as titillating as the content itself.
Gamelink: Nice touch on flying in the Albany State House. I am sure that sort of flourish would be left out of lesser projects. Talk a little about your choice to get that image.
SC: I wish I could say it was my idea, but the credit must go to the editor.
Order “Gov Lov: The Eliot Splitz-her Story” here.
See more of Stuart Canterbury’s movies here.
See more Mike Horner movies here.
See more Cassandra Cruz movies here.