Interview: Rebecca Lord on New Direction ... Behind the Camera

This article originally ran in the August 2015 issue of AVN magazine. Click here to read the online edition.

It’s not every day that a big star from the 1990s announces her plans to return to the industry. Even more out of the ordinary is to return as a director with a full-fledged distribution deal. But that was the news back in June, when Howard Levine of Exile Distribution announced that French performer Rebecca Lord—one of the biggest stars of the 1990s, and an AVN Hall of Famer—had just signed an eight-picture DVD distribution deal for her namesake production company.

Kicking off in August, the deal will see one title per month from Rebecca Lord Productions released through Exile, including the big-budget all-sex movie Do Not Disturb, shot on location throughout Europe and starring 2014/2015 AVN Female Foreign Performer of the Year Anissa Kate.

Do Not Disturb includes sex scenes in a helicopter, in a limo, outdoors on an ATV and more. Lord indicated that she intends to expand the movie into a series.

Lord commented on the deal, saying, “The DVDs of my movie will be distributed through Howard Levine. Howard and I share the same enthusiasm for what we believe is a return to better-quality movies.”

In this round of eight movies, Lord joined forces with Jon Yuma, producer-director for Nasty Pixxx. The titles showcase top European performers and contract stars, plus performers who have appeared on Met Art and X-Art. Among the award-winning talent from France, Spain, Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Russia, Romania, Hungary and Italy are Nikita Bellucci, Silvie Deluxe, Ivy, Valentina Nappi and Satin Bloom.

Rebecca helms her productions in stellar locations across Europe, while Yuma runs the business and marketing side of the company from the U.S. Although Yuma produced and directed 165 titles, he acknowledged, “Our division of effort best reflects our respective skills at this point. These couples-oriented movies are definitely Rebecca’s vision; I am proud to represent them.”

Yuma added, “Everything about her productions screams high-end quality on-screen—beautiful and natural girls, striking locations, lighting, camera work, video effects and special care in the editing.”

Though she left the business in 2002, Lord has continued to keep in touch with fans via Twitter and Facebook, and she made a semi-mainstream return to the screen in the 2005 indie film I Am a Sex Addict. But AVN wondered what else she’d been up to since she moved back to Europe. Lord was more than happy to oblige, answering questions in depth and also revealing that she has written a book, which is coming out this fall from Bear Manor—also the publisher of non-fiction titles about Marilyn Chambers, Jasmine St Claire, Seka and John Holmes.

You’ve said that you did not consider yourself retired, but for about a decade you were not that active on the DVD front. What brought you back to directing?

This is a complex question as there is not one reason but a few.

I have been in the adult industry since 1993 and was lucky enough to have known the golden years of porn, when companies had decent budgets and were shooting great movies.

In 2006, I stopped directing movies for IFG Spain (I had a contract with them) and therefore stop performing in my own movies as well. IFG had financial problems and we decided to terminate our agreement. I thought it was time for me to take a break from the adult industry and decided to take a year off. I took an extended vacation in Brazil! Extended because it lasted a little more than anticipated: three years!

In 2009, I came back to France and directed a movie for Dorcel (The Secretaries). For the first time in my adult career I felt something was wrong: Was I out of the business for too long and had difficulties to catch up with a new market?

I was hired to write, produce and direct, but as it happened, I didn't have any freedom to do so: it was re-written their own way and I had to direct it the way they wanted me to. I felt like a puppet not being able to get rid of his wires.

Anyway, I was sincerely dissatisfied with the result/spirit of the movie and swore to myself that it was the first and last time I would work on a project that was not mine entirely. …

Unfortunately, funding is no easy thing in our business anymore: I quickly found out that most companies would allocate very small budgets. … I decided to find private funding and in the meantime I took a closer look at the adult industry—what was shot and by whom. I realized that, mostly, the movies being shot were directed by men and for male viewers mainly.

At the time, a few new companies, like X-Art, were going to a different direction. What they shot was (still is) more couple-oriented, softer, prettier. Nice locations, good makeup, paying attention to details. … While looking for that private funding, I have asked a lot of questions about the adult market to people I truly appreciate, like Evil Angel’s Christian Mann (I truly miss him), Adam & Eve’s Bob Christian...

I wanted to make sure that the day I would be ready to shoot, I wouldn't be out of touch, that I would be able to bring something more than just performers having sex on camera.

In 2013, I found a private investor who was willing to take the risk to let me shoot movies my own way: I was back to directing movies.

What has occupied most of your time since you left Porn Valley? And have you been in Europe for much of that time?

I left the U.S. when IFG (in Barcelona, Spain) offered me a two-year contract to shoot movies in Europe. It was a new challenge since I have made 95 percent of my career in porn in the U.S. and didn't know much about shooting porn in Europe.

I kept running my site as long as I had the time to do so. I stopped in 2006 for that three-year extended vacation in Brazil, and never had the time to take care of it since. But I have been pretty active on Facebook then Twitter to stay in contact with my fans.

So, yes, I have been in Europe mostly since 2009.

After spending so many years in the U.S., I spend most of my time with my family and friends. I didn't dance on the road in Europe: way too different than the US. Too tacky for me!

It took a while to organize a good crew to be able to shoot the way I want (which is the way I learned in the U.S). … In Europe it is quite difficult to get good professionals: most of the time they work for the same company (like Dorcel in France) and won't work for others.

For me, having a great cameraman is highly important. I used to work with my French friend and cameraman David Carrol, but he is so busy that I had no choice than finding a new cameraman. … I decided to fly multiple AVN Award winner Barry Wood (a longtime friend too) to Europe so I would get what I wanted.

I see from your Twitter feed that you’re in contact with a mix of European and American performers. Will you be shooting on both continents, or just in Europe?

So far, I only worked with one American performer: Tyler Nixon. It was opportunity: he was going to be in Europe for several weeks, so of course I used him. (He really corresponds to what I am looking for: young, pretty, not covered in tats, not a body builder, not a fucking machine!)

I will certainly hire more American performers and for a very good reason: European performers’ English is not that great 90 percent of the time, and I want to shoot features with dialog, beginning in September.

I do not plan to shoot in the U.S. Lots of people are already doing it!

There are many very pretty girls in Europe (boys too) and I chose to shoot mostly natural girls: no fake boobs, no tattoos (or a small one is okay).

It's quite a challenge, as so many times the girls listen to agents or boyfriends who will tell her to get bigger boobs so she gets more money. Tats are difficult to avoid: it's very fashion! So far I managed avoiding both mainly.

I have recently signed a licensing agreement with Penthouse for broadcast: Kelly Holland (Penthouse’s managing director) likes that Europe offers different things, possibilities: We want to bring it to the U.S. market.

Can you name some performers you’re eager to cast? Perhaps an ideal pairing that you think would guarantee a red-hot scene?

Yes. Many! I would love to shoot Riley Reid. She is very pretty, sexy and a great performer (from the movies I saw). Not sure with whom to pair her: I usually give that choice to the actress so I can get that chemistry I'm looking for in a couple.

I would love to shoot Little Caprice but as far as I know she is still under contract (hope she doesn't retire when her contract is over and I have time to shoot her).

Not sure if she still does movies, but I would love to shoot the gorgeous Tiffany Thompson too.

Will you be performing yourself—either sex or non-sex roles?

Probably in a non-sex role. I do not have any plans to make any comeback as a sex performer. Though I learned with experience that plans are made to be changed!!

Are there any performers with whom you’d be tempted to do a scene?

To be quite honest, I do not know most of the U.S. male performers. So the answer is no (except if Mark Davis comes out of retirement!).

In Europe, I would surely be tempted to do a scene with Rocco Siffredi. I made my first pro scene with him and it would be a nice way to end my performer's career! Rocco is still so sexy and attractive.

Now, if it comes to a girl/girl ... so many temptations!!! Riley, Tiffany, Caprice ...

You’re known for doing many of your scenes using condoms. What is your policy on condom use for your own productions?

It is a very delicate question to answer!

In 1995, after the first HIV alert (for me it was the first), I decided to work with condom only. I think doing a job at the risk of dying, then, or being HIV positive all your life, now, is a very bad choice to say the least.

That being said, I respect freedom of choice and understand, although I do not support it, if performers want to work without a condom.

In an ideal world, the adult industry performers being responsible would never have sex with "civilians" (out of the industry) without a condom.

Unfortunately, as we saw several times for the past 20 years, it is not an ideal world and some performers will not wear a condom no matter what. Hence the HIV scares in recent years.

My policy is to let the performers decide together if they want to wear condoms or not. I respect their decisions and so should the adult companies.

Considering the career that several performers who chose to go condom-only had in the adult industry, it really doesn't affect sales for productions.

For my series Couplicity, I hire mostly real couples in real life, so it makes things easier.

Can you name your favorite movies—both as director and performer?

It's a tough question to answer as I put much effort in all the projects I directed or performed.

As a director, two answers: Sensations (Sin City) was really the first movie I could direct with entire freedom and a real crew to make it the way I wanted it.

The second one would be the latest movie I directed here in Europe: Do Not Disturb. We had lots of fun to shoot it. Learned a lot with Barry (Wood).

As a performer, so many movies come to mind: Angel Eyes (directed by Fred Lincoln—I miss him dearly); Clockwork Orgy (directed by Nic Cramer), which was my first “big” movie in the U.S.; Venom (directed by Henri Pachard—another beautiful person I miss dearly); and any movie I made for Cameron Grant, Andrew Blake, Michael Ninn, Greg Dark.

Maybe if there were more such directors today I would consider to perform in front of the camera again.

Can you talk about the adult directors who have most inspired you?

Even though I am, for now, only shooting movies containing vignettes, not features (but I will in a couple of months), directors like Andrew Blake, Cameron Grant or Michael Ninn are the directors that most inspired me for what I shoot now.

The attention to details, the design, the clothing, the way they glorify femininity. I would love to be able to reach that level of perfection, although I do not really have the budget to do so. I'm just trying to get as close as possible with the means I have at my disposal. Still a long way to go!

For the little features I will produce and direct in the future, directors like Fred Lincoln, Henri Pachard are my inspiration. Simple scripts, directly to the point, great sex, sometimes funny (sex doesn't have to be so serious) and always very professional.

I would love to do some "Greg Dark," but again, I don't have the budget—and then there is only one Greg Dark with his crazy ideas!!

I have learned a lot by observing Cameron Grant, especially when it comes to lights. More intimate scenes. Shooting in the dark is something I want to do more. Again, it requires budget and qualifications I do not have yet.

And last but not least, Nic Cramer: I love his porn remakes of real movies. Wish I could shoot those in the future when I have sufficient funds. I would love to co-direct a movie with him one day.

Your work in the independent film I Am a Sex Addict gained a lot of attention. What kind of reaction did you get after that movie and its rare depiction of graphic sex in a non-adult production? How did it affect your career?

I am not sure it changed anything in my career. I did get lots of positive reactions, though: especially from friends that never dared having any reactions when it was porn movies!!

I had a lot of fun doing this movie. The funny thing is that the director and crew had no idea I was a porn star when they hired me!

I was walking in the street of San Francisco (where I lived at the time) and a guy stopped me and asked me if I'd like to be in a movie.

I heard that line so many times that at first I was like "yeah right," but then received a phone call from Caveh [Zahedi, the director] and we met: even though I told him I was not an actress and didn't go to any school to learn how, he insisted that I would be perfect for the character. I then understood that they had no idea I was doing xxx movies and decided to accept.

It took them several months to realize who I was and what I was doing for a living.

Their reaction was like "OMG what have we done: a porn actress in our movie!" but were really nice to me and stopped the movie for a little while, time to figure out where this was going.

I guess the producer saw an opportunity to maybe get more publicity for the movie having a real porn actress to play the part? Not sure. However, we finished the movie and Caveh was quite happy with the result.

As I said: It didn't really affect my career, but during the shooting it confirmed what I thought before: Porn actors are performers, not actors per se.

You’ve been running your own site, RebeccaLord.com, since 2002. How has the online landscape changed most?

Actually, I have been running my own site since 1996! After Asia Carrera I was the second adult performer to have a website!

As I explained a little earlier in the interview, I haven't taken care of my site in a long time. The internet changed a lot of things in the adult industry. It's really difficult to keep up with it. I have run my site myself for all these years. I didn't want to have someone to do it for me: I wanted to be in real contact with my fans.

Today, things go so fast that I don't think I would have the time to do the same. I chose to be on Facebook and Twitter for this reason: there, I can take care of my fans myself. Everything is already built, the only thing I have to do is to stay in contact and upload as much content as those sites authorize. I am not 100 percent happy with it since Facebook is really run by bigots and heavily censored, and Twitter allows you so many words (but remains porn friendly), but it's the best alternative so far.

I still plan to revive my site as soon as I can find the time.

What would you do in the future with your site?

I would change it completely: direct contact with fans: more interactive chats, streaming videos while shooting so they can see what it looks like shooting movies (I already began to stream short videos through the iPhone application "Livestream" as tests)—and of course many videos available ONLY on my site (like behind-the-scenes, interviews, bloopers ... and of course, when possible, the movies I shot, if authorize by my distributor!).

I'd really like to build something more interactive where fans participate.

What European countries have the most vibrant histories of adult production? And if the answer is different, which countries are most active today?

I am truly not a specialist of European porn history. In recent years, I would say France, Italy, Germany.

Today I think France is the most active country, but it includes all the amateur porn (which is way bigger than pro porn in France).

Now, not sure where to locate Private. Even though their company is now located in Spain, they filmed all over the world. The company is Swedish.

For sales inquiries on Rebecca Lord Productions DVDs, call Howard Levine at (866) 629-4273 or email [email protected]

For information on Bear Manor, which will be publishing Lord’s book in the fall, go to BearManorBear.com.

Follow Lord on Twitter: @rebeccalords