Pictured above: Kay Brandt (center) with Forked cast members Jenevieve Hexx and Cristi Ann (click here for more pictures)
Some adult directors are camera buffs who love tech above all else. Others keep a tight focus on the performers—how they act and what they do during sex scenes. And then there are those few who really concentrate on the storyline: not just who’s fucking whom, but why.
Kay Brandt assuredly falls into the third camp. And she’s got a filmography to prove it, having done projects for many of the big studios.
Most recently, this talented screenwriter/director has been working with Adam & Eve Pictures, and her fifth movie for the studio, Naked, is available on both VOD (via HotMovies.com) and DVD on October 10.
It’s a project that has been part of Brandt’s creative life for the past couple of years. Fascinated by the reality television show Naked & Afraid, Brandt first wrote a trilogy of books loosely based on the show. She explains her fascination for the topic in an interview with AVN, and also talks about her back story and her other big projects with Adam & Eve Pictures.
“To me, just seeing the trailers for [Naked & Afraid] made me feel like I had to watch it because it’s so weird. People willingly go on the show, they willingly get naked, no shoes, no nothing—one article each. So usually somebody brings a knife, somebody brings a fire-starter or something like that. And then they’re left to their own devices for 21 days.”
It’s not like Brandt seeks to have an experience like that in real life. “I don’t have any part of me that wants to do that,” she says. “I’m always really intrigued by learning about people in situations that I would never, ever, ever, ever do, and I often write about stuff like that because it allows me the opportunity to research.”
A regular viewer of the show, Brandt describes the typical setup: “Most of the places they drop them are really, really inhospitable. … They’re naked, their bodies are being eaten alive by bugs, they’re trying not to get bitten by snakes. They have to make fire, and sometimes they’re in places where it rains 19 out of the 21 days.”
And on top of that, there’s the added distraction (or diversion) of being paired up with another naked person—usually of the opposite sex. And sometimes, Brandt figures, they must do a little more than cuddling inside those tents.
“I watched this one episode where this team really got along well, and then the girl completely freaked out,” Brandt says. She explains her theory for the behavior: “They had sex. They got carried away with the snuggles, and now she doesn’t like him any more.”
She had been working on Naked for a couple of years prior to shooting the movie. “It was a story that was cultivated, just like Safe Landings,” Brandt says, referencing her first Adam & Eve project. Then she began to dig in to find “the nugget” of the narrative. “Is the story about the reality show, or is it the story about their life outside of the reality show. So that was my challenge when I started to write the book. Where’s my focus? Is it just going to be a parody of the show … or is there a bigger story? And of course, like with everything I’ve done, there’s a much bigger story. There’s the event, and then there’s the story around the event. In Safe Landings, the event was a plane crash. And then the story happened around the event. The same thing for Naked.”
Above, Derrick Pierce and Britney Amber in Naked (Adam & Eve Pictures)
In Brandt’s Naked, the two participants develop a deeper bond—despite both being already in relationships. “The female character, Cadence, is honest. She’s got to trust this guy with her life so she’s going to put it all on the table. But Jackson, the male character, does not, because he’s in a polyamorous relationship and it’s not something he wanted the world to learn about when he’s on a reality show. And that’s a very realistic thing.”
The story ends on a cliffhanger, Brandt says, because that’s how she wrote the book—which is the first in a trilogy.
Playing the contestants on the reality show are Derrick Pierce and Britney Amber. Pierce is the backbone of the movie, Brandt says, but what really surprised her was how good Amber is in her role. “She’s going to blow you away. Her acting is mainstream level,” the director says. “ She wasn’t afraid to be really vulnerable.
“I fell head over heels for Britney. I knew she was the one from the first time I saw her,” Brandt remembers.
The director also compliments Mia Li, who plays the role of the TV show producer—and who also appeared in Forked, Brandt’s second movie for Adam & Eve.
“I knew that Mia Li would be perfect playing this part because she reminded me so much of the character I wrote in the book,” Brandt asserts. “Her sex scene with Small Hands and Logan Long … when I saw the edited scene, I said, ‘Oh my good, that’s the best sex scene I’ve ever filmed.’”
Then again, Brandt points out, “it competes against an equally good three-way scene with Chanel and Ryan Driller and Derrick Pierce. That was another jaw-dropping scene. Chanel is an amazing performer. She gives 110 percent.”
Going above and beyond for art is something Brandt knows well. “I owned a theater company here [in Los Angeles] in the 1990s and it was there that I wrote, directed and produced roughly 27 stage plays. This was over a couple of years.”
After the age of the internet dawned, Brandt explains, it became harder to make a living in independent theater. Then an interesting opportunity arose when Girlfriends Films owner Dan O’Connell reached out to Brandt after seeing her résumé on a mainstream job board.
“He contacted me because on my resume I had erotic films on there because when I was in mainstream I worked for the late, great Zalman King. It took him a while to break it to me that Girlfriends Films was porn,” Brandt recalls.
Brandt says she made 35 movies for Girlfriends, mostly uncredited, as is typically the case for movies by that studio.
“I ended up really liking it,” she says. “It really reminded me of doing theater. It was these little one-act plays. That’s how I looked at Girlfriends Films. The vignettes were one-act plays and I could make these crazy little stories.”
Brandt followed up her time there with a stint at Metro, where she produced six movies.
And after that came her highest-profile work: directing two all-girl movies for Digital Playground: Cherry and Cherry 2. And Brandt notes that while there, she also wrote about 20 titles for Robby D.
Both movies were nominated for several AVN Awards, and Cherry 2 won for both Best All-Girl Release and Best All-Girl Group Sex Scene. Brandt recollects how she responded when asked about the nominations: “I said anybody who gets four girls to make love like that in such a beautiful, beautiful artistic way has already won. That’s how I feel. I watch these incredibly beautiful things happen, and all I did was give them parameters. This is what I want, this is what I need, these are your emotions, this is what is going on in the character’s head and this is their reason for being here—and that allows the scene to be created in the context of a story, instead of gonzo.”
Then, after a couple of movies for New Sensations, Brandt took a break from adult production, but she kept busy writing erotic novels—which led to her latest adult adventure when Adam & Eve Pictures hired her to direct a movie based on her book Safe Landings. A moody drama about a flight attendant who becomes emotionally attached to another passenger after they both survive a deadly crash, Safe Landings came out in 2015.
Next she helmed an even bigger project for Adam & Eve: adapting the Selena Kitt novel Babysitting the Baumgartners. Though Brandt says “it’s easier to make an adaptation of somebody else’s book rather than my own,” the production itself was huge. She tackled fourteen sex scenes and fifty pages of dialogue in four days. And this year Adam & Eve released the sequel, Adventures with the Baumgartners, which followed up on the stories of the four original characters—Mr. and Mrs. Baumgartner (Anikka Albrite and Mick Blue) and their two nannies (Sara Luvv and AJ Applegate)—but added a lot of emotional complexity with other story lines. Again, Brandt directed and penned the screenplay—and this time the book was released at the same time as the movie.
Kay Brandt and AJ Applegate on the set of Adventures With the Baumgartners (Adam & Eve)
Sara Luvv, AJ Applegate, Anikka Albrite, Katy Kiss and Edyn Blair on the set of Adventures With the Baumgartners (Adam & Eve)
In between Brandt tackled something completely different, also for Adam & Eve: the quirky Forked.
The premise of Forked is that a group of individuals has been invited to a dinner party, at which they will cook and present their own dishes. And the pleasures of cooking and eating lead to other sensual adventures.
“It’s fresh as hell,” she says.
So fresh that her colleagues weren’t quite sure what to expect. “Everybody had a different idea of what Forked was going to be like,” Brandt says. “It was too hard for me to even explain it, but I saw it all in my head, where I was going with it, that it was going to be very light, very funny, totally authentic, very little scripting.”
Brandt was taken with Mia Li in this movie as well, describing her threesome with Mercedes Carrera and Damon Dice as “like watching a piece of art come to life.”
Later this year Brandt has another movie coming out from Adam & Eve: Hotwives and Their Dirty Desires, starring Mercedes Carrera, Sarah Vandella and Nina Elle. Like Naked and Safe Landings, it’s based on one of her own books.
“It’s a big deal. Singlehandedly I’m creating a genre,” Brandt says, laughing. “But I don’t think anybody’s caught on yet.”