On April 16, byteclay.com was on the red carpet for the world premiere of “King Cobra” at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival. The film stars James Franco, Christian Slater, Garrett Clayton, Keegan Allen, Alicia Silverstone and Molly Ringwald. Written and directed by Justin Kelly, the drama tells the true story of gay porn headliner Sean Paul Lockhart also known as Brent Corrigan. After a falling out with the producer who made him famous, Sean decides he’d be better off a free agent. What happens next is shocking. Kelly’s feature directorial debut “I Am Michael” (starring James Franco, Zachary Quinto, Emma Roberts and executive produced by Gus Van Sant), premiered at both Sundance and Berlin’s 2015 festivals. Read our exclusive red carpet interviews below:
Shaina Moskowitz: Tell me what drew you to the project.
Justin Kelly: I read the story and I just thought it was mind blowing that someone would murder a sort of unknown gay porn producer over his star’s contracts. It’s insane. I wanted to know why. The more I read, the more I learned about these four very fascinating characters who have really wild back stories. As with my first film, which dealt with a difficult character, I like to try to understand where people come from and why they did what they did before being wildly judgmental. It just makes for an interesting story. The story is told as is and people can leave with it what they will.
SM: What were some of the challenges of putting this together?
JK: It’s not that easy getting a film about gay porn off the ground, but I had a lot of great support, especially in James Franco, who’s been a great mentor, and friend of mine thanks to “I Am Michael.” He is really good at getting films off the ground, even if they’re difficult. He really gave this film life, but other than that it was low budget, a quick shoot, but I had a really great crew, an amazing cast, and it all worked out great.
SM: Speak about casting your lead and why you chose him.
JK: I viewed audition tapes. Even though Garrett Clayton is known enough to where I could pick him, I had to make sure it was someone who would be comfortable, really. He auditioned and it was phenomenal. I could tell that he was willing to go there and not be afraid of sex, and not be afraid of putting himself out there even though he has his Disney past.
SM: Speak about collaborating with Justin on this film.
Alicia Silverstone: Oh, Justin Kelly’s lovely. I’d heard wonderful things about him and he’s such a sweetheart and it was just so easy. It was very graceful and lovely.
SM: Speak about Garrett, he’s a young star on the rise.
AS: Well I play his mother, so our scenes are very innocent, except where I’m very angry at him when I find out that he’s a porn star, but his face is so dreamy to look at, it was very easy to just want to keep hugging him and eat him up, very easy.
SM: James Franco is the producer as well, can you speak about working with him in that capacity?
AS: James is awesome. I’ve worked with him before. I did some of those fun little short things he does, where it’s making a scene and I played Charlotte from “Sex and the City” and he played Carrie Bradshaw. I had worked with him before, twice, and then we got to do this, and I love him.
SM: The movie deals with some hard topics.
AS: I didn’t feel like it’s a hard topic. I don’t know what’s wrong with me, but I felt the film is kind of sexy … there’s an arousal that you get from watching it in the beginning. There’s a scene with Christian Slater where he’s first discovering, he’s interviewing the young boy, and it’s really intense and sexy watching him watch this guy. I mean I was like, “Whoa!” … It was very interesting, and then just the story, it’s a good story and it’s so well acted. I mean James is so wonderful, Keegan Allen is so wonderful, and Christian’s great. Everyone’s good, so I just enjoyed the movie.
SM: Do you hope to make more films on LGBT topics?
AS: I’m just interested in great characters, in great stories, whatever they are, and these are great characters and great stories with great people. I mean Justin Kelly and these actors, so however it comes, that’s what you go after, right. I just did a movie with Jennifer Garner, and it’s a really good script, and it’s just really interesting characters, so however you find it.