What’s going on with Porky’s: The College Years?
Aussie filmmaker Brian Trenchard-Smith has been making movies for the better half of the last forty years and he shows no signs of slowing down. Brian’s work has been on my radar as far back as his cult flicks Escape 2000 and Dead End Drive-In to the modern favorites Night of the Demons 2 and Leprechaun 3. For an amazing look at his work and his fellow mates who have worked in the exploitation arena, I implore you to seek out the excellent documentary, Not Quite Hollywood.
I was bowled over to hear that he had wrapped work on the fourth installment of the Porky’s series, Porky’s: The College Years. I’m sure most of you are saying, “there is a new Porky’s film? Where is it? Why haven’t I heard squat about it?” Those questions are answered and so much more in my EXCLUSIVE interview with Brian Trenchard-Smith.
Jason Bene: It has been been over two decades since the last Porky’s movie. How did the idea come about to do another film?
Brian Trenchard-Smith: I received a call from my manager who said, “do you want to make a very cheap movie?” I never met a green light that I didn’t like. He said, “they’re thinking of doing a sequel to Porky’s and they want to make it in a hurry – can you start tomorrow?” I said, “okay, send me the script.” They said, “there isn’t one yet, it’s being written.” I went into the production company and I read what they had. We discussed the production plan. The idea was make it for under five hundred thousand dollars in fifteen days. We were on location in Canyon Country and the rest at a studio in Simi Valley. We recycled sets from other movies that were still standing and that was an intelligent use of resources. It seemed there was a great hurry to make this film. It had to be shot before Christmas and we began at the end of October. Nothing wrong with that. I collaborated with the producers and a writer and proposed various joke situations that would go well in the film. I did a little improversation on the set which was to have the actors further embellish things. If you cast really talented people in a comedy and they embrace the characters, then they are going to come up with some interesting opportunities that you can either take or leave. If you cover the scene properly you have some flexibility in what aspects of a scene you ultimately use. It was a work in progress shall we say throughout the shoot. I think it’s ultimately quite funny and that’s due to the charm of the performers.
Jason Bene: Have you seen the first three Porky’s films? If so, did you feel like the script had the elements of those 80’s sex-comedy movies?
Brian Trenchard-Smith: Yes. I think it was designed as an homage to the 80’s sex-comedies where there are raging hormones that cause characters to defy logic and moral scrupples in the search for the Holy Grail, which is to get laid. A desperate attempt to get laid. I hadn’t seen the original Porky’s, then I reacquainted myself with the original and it did have some scenes that you talk about to your friends afterwards. That’s what gave Porky’s the longevity that it has had. I remember seeing the sequel years ago and I never saw the third one. By all reports they got progressively worse, so I saw no reason to reacquaint myself with the sequels. I wanted to analyze the fundamental ingredients in the original Porky’s that generated that huge box-office it had in its day and see how those could be applied to something that was not in period as Porky’s was. Porky’s was set in the 50’s and sex and starvation were a serious factor as I recall. The better half of a half a century has passed since the setting of the first film. Now you can turn on the internet and with some webcam you can watch people having sex live, while they talk to you. I can think of a few worse things to start my day with. That’s the state of the sexual revolution now. How do we keep the sort of antique charm of the original Porky’s and make it work nonetheless in 2009? That was a challenge and I threw in some ingredients and we stirred. I think we came up with something that still has a degree of charm and for that matter, satire. It was important I think to do an update but not lose the essence of the original.
Jason Bene: The male population remembers the original for the shower scene. You gave me a sneek peak at the first fifteen minutes of the movie and you get your homage to that out of the way right in a hurry.
Brian Trenchard-Smith: That is probably the scene people remember from the first one that was so completely out there by the standards of the day. I thought the best idea was to remind the audience of the original in a different way, but make it clearly echo that scene right at the front and center. Give some full frontal nudity on the screen from the beginning so people knew what they were going to be getting. We were not going to be politically correct and wimp out. I would have liked to have some full frontal male nudity in it, but it was a requirement that we do not do that. I thought it would be nice to be equal opportunist offenders at least. We had the shower scene that was a dream sequence where Pee Wee has a wet dream fantasy while he is jerking off while he is half asleep. He seems to function that way automatically, conscious or subconscious. He is such a horny dog. In the dream he morphs like The Terminator and goes from peeping in the hole in the shower wall to actually being in the shower with them and they beckon him and fondle him. Much humorous bouncing takes place as he continues to fondle them and he suddenly finds he is face-to-face with his rather stern looking mother and that’s when he wakes up. I thought that was a really good way to ground the audience so to speak.
Jason Bene: A lot of the sex-comedies of today really seem to hold back on the exploitation moments, even the ones that go direct-to-video that say unrated and uncut on the box art. There seems to be a fear now to show nudity, where back in the day they let loose with it. The shower scene alone from Porky’s outdoes the entire running time of American Pie in that category.
Brian Trenchard-Smith: I think you ultimately have to blame the internet for that. The sexual revolution of the 60’s became more graphic in the 70’s and continued on into the early 80’s. That has sort of died away and actress’ particularly are conscious of the fact a frame of nudity from a scene that they do can end up on the internet and be viewed by their grandchildren. It was a great way to get a start in movies to do a skin flick of some kind in the 70’s and early 80’s. Now it is considered to be almost a badge of shame. It didn’t stop Sylvester Stallone, the Italian Stallion, he did one in the 70’s. The whole opinion has changed. If you are an actress who does nudity you’ll never be taken seriously. Obviously there are some significant actors who have ignored that new rule. Mainly the people who are starting out in the business are a little weary about what will ultimately happen to them to the material because they have seen some rather horrible examples of being talked into something by a director or producer and it has ended up haunting them for the rest of their career. That is part of it. The actors are simply not willing to go that far except in socially redeeming, meaningful, artistic endeavors, as opposed to a broad audience, meat and potatoes kind of movie. It’s considered to be exploitative. The exploitation films never pay well, they pay the basic rate so there you are. Giving your screen virginity to the world for low budget scale. Maybe there would be more enthusiastic nudity from actors if they got an extra ten grand. The characters who do go as far as possible are the bit part players.
There is a scene with some bisexual girls in the brothel who are making out with each other and Pee Wee is waiting for his turn and the girls are more interested in each other than they are with him. That has a pretty graphic scene, particularly when he discovers a box full of interesting ‘instruments’. That is a scene that has ejaculation in it and that’s a rarity for a comedy today. I think it’s very funny and I have absolutely no guilt about that scene and it got a huge laugh from the audience who saw it after the final mix. We have a character who is well hung shall we say in the Thomas Jane sense. It’s a shlongasaurus. You do actually see it. It is revealed in its magnificent pendulumous glory, but it was not actually the actor’s but something we acquired from a sex shop. We have a number of running gags about the size of that thing in his pants and we actually fitted him a dildo in his pants that so there would always be bulge. There is a delightful scene where the bulge gets interested with an Asian actress, which is very funny. That takes place in bed so we would disguise it under the sheet and let’s just say a tent arises from the bed. These are the sorts of things the audience for this kind of film likes to laugh at so you got to give it to them. I shot two versions of certain scenes, particularly all of the scenes in Porky’s that had strippers doing pole dances that were in the background or in the foreground. I would shoot a different version for potential use on the Comedy Channel one day. It was bras on, bras off. We would do the bras on first and I would be happy with that take and I would say release the hounds, and the girls would magically take their bras off and we went with the topless version of the scene. I wanted to create an atmosphere of fun on the set because it helps people be less self-concious.
Jason Bene: Is Pee Wee the only character that returns from the original?
Brian Trenchard-Smith: We have the character ‘Meat’. We have another character played by John Jordan who is kind of the manipulative friend who always getting Pee Wee into trouble and is basically using him to pay for things or whatever. Unfortunately, there is no Miss Palbricker. It would have been nice to have such a character, but it didn’t really fit into the college years because the original Porky’s was very much a period high school picture and we are now at the university level and we can’t actually afford to shoot at the school and set the story in summer recess where we can shoot on Venice beach and this house and studio sets. There was no room for the Miss Balbricker character.
I have to single out the cast who I thought were just fantastic. Adam Wylie who plays Pee Wee is incredibly talented. He is also a magician as well as an improv comic. He sings and spent a tour with Wicked, he’s multi-talented. I saw him playing card tricks with himself the first day he came for wardrobe fitting and I thought that was interesting. We incorporate that into the film. Pee Wee is a nervous person and he does card tricks to calm his nerves. He would come up with little ideas to be funny and I’m always receptive to actors who have ideas.
John Patrick Jordan went on to do American Pie 7 playing Stiffler. I can’t belive there are seven of them. He captures a certain sort of sociopathetic quality that some young joksters have today. He came up with something really interesting.
Russ Hunt plays ‘Meat’ and he is a boy from Texas who is six foot four and an extremely intelligent guy, which is what you need to play someone who is rather dumb. He came up with clever things that could make his dumbness funnier.
Jason Bene: You have a lot of attractive women in the film.
Brian Trenchard-Smith: They were chosen for their attractiveness and their intelligence. The bulk of the girls cast actually do nudity. That’s fine. We have other people for that. Whitney Anderson is a sheer delight as Shelly, the girl who comes up with the idea to turn Pee Wee’s uncle’s house into a bordello so they can make money. I think she’s got a wonderful romantic comedy quality about her. She is kind of like a Jennifer Anniston in the making and would be brilliant in a reboot of Friends. The same with Sandra McCoy.
Jason Bene: Sandra McCoy did nudity in the film Wild Things: Diamonds in the Rough.
Brian Trenchard-Smith: Oh, really. It wasn’t actually required of her character. Her character is someone who’s certainly sexually active, but she kind of likes the virginal nerd type that Pee Wee represents. Most of the film is about them not making it. Someone is always interrupting them. I haven’t seen the film you mentioned.
Jason Bene: There is someone who plays the ‘Sexy Librarian Dominatrix’ whose name is Chalet Trenchard-Smith. Who might that be?
Brian Trenchard-Smith: [Laughs] That’s my daughter-in law. We needed someone who looked demure but had a wicked twinkle in her eye and that’s Chalet. She’s one of the volunteers coming along when the bordello is open and she brings with her a man on a chain with ping pong balls in his mouth and wearing leather. She hits him from time to time with a flyswatter. She’s a sexy librarian/dominatrix whose auditioning for a position at Pee Wee’s whorehouse. It’s a nice little scene that is part of a montage of different kinds of people offering their services. We have a number of different jokes as a result.
Vic Polizos took over the role of Porky and he did a good job in what was always a larger than life part. He’s obviously some small time crook who has taken over his brother’s business because Porky himself is obviously long gone. This is Porky’s brother who has taken over the whorehouse. He came up with some really funny lines like, “I got dicks waiting.” Then when someone vomits on his shoes and he gets all outraged and says, “that’s rhinoceros foreskin, you can’t get that stuff anymore.” He put in some nice stuff. I think it’s quite the funny film.
Jason Bene: Did changing the title to Pimpin’ Pee Wee have anything to do with Howard Stern trying to do a remake? Can you explain how it transitioned from Porky’s: The College Years to Pimpin’ Pee Wee?
Brian Trenchard-Smith: I don’t really understand all of this, but I’m a creative person. What would I know of the vagaries of business dealings? My understanding retroactively, not my understanding when I took on the assignment, was that this type of film was to be made in a hurry on the lowest possible budget in order to fulfill a contractual requirement where a Porky’s film be made, and in some way released. In order for that company to continue to retain the rights to the Porky’s franchise a film had to be made. Having made the film they changed the title to Pimpin’ Pee Wee and briefly put it on VOD where it can no longer be found. They had to meet the contractual obligation and that was to make a Porky’s film and release it before the deadline. They didn’t want the Porky’s franchise to be soiled by a cheap sequel given the company wanted to make a ten million dollar Porky’s reboot and for whatever reason they have not been able to do so or have not found a deal or offers that was acceptible to them. As time was running out they thought let’s whip up this cheap one and bury it. If they make another Porky’s with a substantial budget then Pimpin’ Pee Wee can be the direct-to-video sequel that could follow the theatrical reboot of Porky’s. I think that was the business strategy behind the whole thing. I thought I was making a a direct-to-video sequel to Porky’s.
Jason Bene: Is there chatter about a DVD?
Brian Trenchard-Smith: No talk of it whatsoever. I understand that the company has been told by outsiders who have seen it that it’s a good film. You can make some money off of this on DVD and it would be unrated. It would be an unrated film that actually delivered unrated material and a few extra scenes. This does deliver good sex-comedy laughs and gags for the intended audience. As for what the future plans are, I have no idea. I’m dissappointed. I’ve made thirty-nine films and this one is being buried for business reasons that have nothing to do with the quality of the film. I would have never taken it on if I would have been told that from the beginning.
Keep it here at Killer Film for the latest news and scoops about Pimpin’ Pee Wee.