‘La-La Land’ Tells the Tale of a Gay Porn Star

At one time or another, who hasn’t fantasized about being a porn star? But what about those who act on that fantasy? How might it impact their lives when sudden stardom strikes and afterward, and how would it affect those they’re involved with? Such questions and consequences are explored in writer-director Casper Andreas’ latest film, Going Down in La-La Land.
 
Matthew Ludwinski, a bright-eyed and strikingly handsome newcomer, is Adam, a young actor who arrives in the City of Angels with the standard dreams of hitting it big. In urgent need of some money (partly to pay for his many parking tickets), he lands his first day job — a low-paying, high-stress gig answering phones at a pretentious but successful talent agency.

Next — just to pay the bills — he takes a production job at a gay adult film company, where, given his wholesome good looks and toned physique, he’s coaxed into a few turns in front of the camera. The last third of the film turns the heat up a bit, centering on what happens after Adam’s retirement from porn and the repercussions he’s forced to deal with when he gets involved in a serious relationship with John, a high-profile (and very closeted) star of a popular family sitcom, played by Michael Medico.
 
The true strength of the movie lies in its authenticity. Anyone who’s been around the film industry can confirm that it accurately captures what Hollywood can be. Andreas cleverly uses actual locations to tell his story. For instance, just as depicted, Jet Set Men is one of the top-grossing gay adult studios around.

But it’s not just the locations. The characters also bear the hallmark of realism, thanks to one of Andreas’ most engaging casts to date. Whether the character is sympathetic or otherwise, each is a believable personality.

Among the faces familiar to LGBT film enthusiasts are Jesse Archer, who’s spot-on and seething with repressed hostility as Adam’s boss from hell, and Bruce Vilanch as Missy, an adult film director extraordinaire. Judy Tenuta is terrific as Zinnia, a has-been starlet and John’s beard.
 
Andreas himself appears as Nick, a drug-addicted photographer who introduces Adam to the world of sex on film, but whose guidance and connections bring with them a heavy price. Andreas says he was hesitant at first to take on the added responsibility of such a significant supporting role, but he says that the actor in him eventually won out.

“While writing the script, I, of course, recognized that Nick was a great role for an actor,” he says. “He’s very different from me and very different from other roles I have played — but he’s also a character I knew I could play.”

To prepare, he did some research into the psyche of an addict, as well as the long-term effects such drug use can have.

“I’m very much anti-drugs and have no personal experience with them,” he says, “but I’ve met plenty of guys who I drew on to create the character. I also studied crystal meth and its effects, and got loads of detailed information about it.”

Andreas says that when he was casting the film, the right actors for some roles seemed obvious.

“The easiest was Candy,“ he says, referring to Allison Lane as Adam’s decidedly offbeat but likable “BFF,” who fills her time between what few auditions she can get with shopping (mostly for a wealthy boyfriend to pay her bills), while introducing Adam to Tinseltown’s trendiest hot spots, meeting places and watering holes.

“Already when I read the book [on which the film is based>, I had Allison in mind. She is just amazing! She’s the kind of actress who can do anything — be funny, sassy, silly, dramatic, serious, and she always brings lots of good ideas on how to make the role better.”

Similarly, because Adam is such a demanding part – the character appears in practically every scene — Andreas felt that no one could play the lead like Ludwinski.

“I also knew Matthew from having auditioned him for one of the lead roles in my previous film, Between Love and Goodbye, and I always had him in mind for this role,” the director says. “We auditioned tons of guys, but kept coming back to him. In fact, a week into shooting, I was actually mad at myself for not having seen that he was perfect right away and saving myself all the headache!”
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