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On The Set of Vivid’s Hulk Porn Parody

by  in Movie News, TV News Comment
On The Set of Vivid’s Hulk Porn Parody

NOTE: The following article is intended for mature readers.

In a row of studios in Canoga Park, California, crews recreate sets from the pilot episode of “The Incredible Hulk” television series. Hoping to build on the success of “Batman XXX: A Porn Parody” comes the latest superhero inspired title, “The Incredible Hulk: A XXX Porn Parody.” The film is the latest in Vivid Entertainment’s SuperXXXheroes line, which includes pornographic takes on Superman, Spider-Man and other heroes in, shall we say, sexually provocative situations. While the first title in the line played with the tropes of the 1960s Adam West series, the Hulk porno takes on the more serious tone of the late-’70s drama.

“The Incredible Hulk” began in 1977 with a TV movie starring Bill Bixby as Doctor David Bruce Banner, a scientist grieving over the loss of his wife, and experimenting with untapped strength within the human body. Assisting him was Dr. Elaina Marks, with whom Banner was romantically involved until a gamma radiation accident that unleashed the beast within Banner. Marks died in the resulting explosion, so Banner goes on the road, hoping to find a cure.

While labeled a porn parody, Vivid’s “Hulk XXX” is light on actual jokes, maintaining much of the style and feel of the original series pilot, though occasionally poking fun at that era’s style of television. To preserve the vintage look and feel, producer Shylar Cobi studied the pilot, pulling stills to recreate costumes, hairstyles and the featured gamma radiation equipment.

Actor Dale DaBone, who portrayed Batman and Elvis in other Vivid parodies, takes on the role of Banner in the Hulk film. The actor told CBR News that he worked hard to recreate the mannerisms and performance of Bill Bixby. “He doesn’t show expression,” DaBone said of the late actor, demonstrating with a recitation of the series’ most famous line; “Don’t make me angry, you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry,” in the style of Bixby. “The interesting thing about him is, he will break for a moment and then compose himself again,” he said.

Illustrating his observation, DaBone performed another piece of dialogue. “There has to be a reason…dammit!” the actor exclaimed, slamming his fist on a nearby table to punctuate the final word. “Look, let’s get out of here,” he concluded with Bixby-esque stoicism.

DaBone told CBR he enjoys working on these sorts of projects because they give him a chance to study an actor’s process while sculpting his own performance. He understands his work in porn means he’ll never break out into mainstream movies, but says, “You take any work you can get.”

While a crew continued construction of the radiation chamber, director B. Skow inspected the reproduction of the famous gamma chair seen every week for years in the classic show’s opening credits. Painted to match the dull white shade of 1970s medical technology, the chair wasn’t quite to Skow’s liking. Comparing the screen caps with Cobi, they settled on painting it metallic gray, which will play better on camera.

The decision to overhaul the prop set back production by several hours. Messages went out and call times were bumped to begin filming late in the afternoon. It’s a phenomenon the industry refers to as “Porntime.”

“If someone calls and says they’re 15 minutes late, multiply it by three,” actor Lee Stone explained. His math wasn’t far off. Although he arrived on set at 1 pm, Stone didn’t end up in front of the camera until nighttime. While that often means sitting around, Stone had the additional challenge of being transformed with the Hulk’s green make-up, wig and prosthetic forehead.

“Any time anyone does anything with prosthetics, they think of me,” Stone quipped. In other porn films, he’s played cyborgs, demons and other odd creatures. His physique is actually similar to Lou Ferrigno, who portrayed the Hulk in the TV series and subsequent late-1980s TV movies. Stone also got in the spirit of authenticity by watching the TV pilot several times and putting on an extra 15 pounds of muscle. The results — once he is green — are uncanny, save for one problem unique to his current production.

“We’ve got [Stone] green,” Cobi explained. “But the make-up won’t stand up to a blowjob.”

Although it’s Stone’s first day on set, he’s been made up once before, when Cobi shot the box cover for the film, though he was painted only from the waist up. “They’ve tried grease paint, airbrushes, but I’m a big guy, so they needed bigger tools,” Stone said laughing shortly before being called into make-up.

While the make-up crew prepared Stone for filming, lighting adjustments and last-minute construction continued on the gamma chamber. In the scene, the actor will burst from from the chamber in full Hulk costume. Looking at the prop destined to be destroyed, Stone joked, “With my luck, they built it out of 2x6s and I’ll never get out.”

During the day’s lunch break, Stone and DaBone discussed the advantages of working on a feature, both recalling the early days of their careers when the powerful porn companies regularly produced movies where the sex scenes are contained within stories. The rise of the Internet, amateur sex tapes and the gonzo format, all consisting of sex scenes without a connecting narrative thread, have diminished the profile of feature movies in the porn industry. In recent years, long-form narrative movies have risen in popularity once again as companies see movies with high production values as a way to combat the rising tide of free material available online. “It seems to be working,” DaBone said. In fact, “Batman XXX: A Porn Parody” was the best-selling title of the year, according to the industry trade journal Adult Video News.

Talking it over, the two agreed that, just as in Hollywood, stereotypes emerge and performers find they are typecast along the divide between features and gonzo. DaBone noted he and other feature performers rarely get called to do gonzo scenes. “I guess they just think I’m not good at that,” he said. For Stone, the opposite seems to hold true, as he finds plenty of opportunities for gonzo work, but few for features. “Because of the way I look, and how I do my thing, I’m mostly in hardcore stuff,” he explained.

Late in the afternoon, Skow called in DaBone to do his first scene of the day, a non-sexual one in which Banner prepares to use the gamma chair. The actor looked at some X-rays, attempted to lift a heavy gurney, turned on the machines and hopped into the chair. “In the actual show, it’s kind of anticlimactic,” DaBone said. With Skow acting as his own cameraman, they get the master shot in two takes, with close-ups, other angles and inserts quickly following. “This is what we refer to as ‘the important stuff,'” the actor joked. With the boom microphone connected to the camera, the group quickly recorded the sound of DaBone lifting the gurney.

As Skow set up his next shot, Cobi helped the actor into the gamma chair. The group discussed the best way to make the chair swing, replicating the shot seen in the original pilot. Cobi volunteered to lie on the floor and move the chair into position. They rehearsed it a few times, making sure Cobi remained out of the frame. The atmosphere resembled a bunch of college students jovially working out the best way to achieve the needed footage. After a couple of takes, and some good-natured name-calling, Skow announced, “We’ve got this!”

“The Incredible Hulk: A XXX Porn Parody” arrives in stores later this year.

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