When Jake Deckard announced in last week that he was retiring from porn I wept at the thought that I’d never again get to see his perfect, perfect ass thrusting around on camera. And then I decided to call him, to see why he would do this to us.
As it turns out, Deckard decided to go out with a bang: the lavish epic Men In The Sand. “His use of saturated color and glistening sun through pubes is SUPERB,” said a friend just now in a Facebook chat.
Single, forty, and currently en route to Singapore, Deckard graciously took the time to answer some pressing questions.
Read our exclusive interview with Jake Deckard below:
Where are you now? What are you up to?
I’m at an Anthony Robbins seminar. He’s one of the biggest motivational speakers in the world, and I’ve been listening to his stuff since I was like 23. I was passing through LA and saw he was running a seminar here, so I decided to go for it. It’s pretty intense! This is day four, and it’s four fifteen-hour days.
And when that’s over?
I’m going to Singapore tomorrow to travel, see things, do new stuff… I’m starting off with a gay cruise that winds up in Hong Kong, and then I’ll be going back by bicycle on a tour that will take me through Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia. I’ve never been to Asia at all before so it’s pretty exciting.
For as much as you plan there are also all the options that you don’t plan for, the homespun tour ideas and the things that none of the guidebooks tell you about. Sleeping in people’s houses, that kind of thing. I’m not putting too much emphasis on where I’m going at all, since it’s all new to me.
This is just the first stop, and then after that I’ve got a share on Fire Island, and then I’m going to try to head to Europe in the fall for at least a couple of months.
That’s pretty ambitious! What brought all this on?
I’m forty, I’m single and they just tore down my loft. They’re decimating my whole neighborhood in Manhattan. The building got bought out, and last week I had a wrecking ball party that doubled as a fundraiser for my ride. We raised about $1,500, which isn’t bad for a house party on a Thursday. And the real wrecking ball came in yesterday.
Oh, Dale Cooper was just telling us about .
Yeah, I’ve never done it before. I’m just jumping in feet first. I did massage for the riders on the Boston to New York ride for years, but I decided that I wanted to ride and do the fundraising bit myself. I’m hoping for $5,000, and I’m already at $4,500. It would be good to go over my goal, of course.
Of course! And the porn retirement…?
It’s time for me to move on. I’ve got other projects going on, and my intention is to move into mainstream films. Or at least independent film. But from the porn perspective, even independent is mainstream.
I recently did this remake. Well, it’s not a remake, it’s more of an ode to ’70s movies, called Men In The Sand. It’s a beautiful movie, and I was really very happy with the way it turned out.
Yeah, tell us about the movie. It seems pretty epic. And it also seems funny, that you’d end a porn career with a magnum opus about what porn was like forty years ago.
Well, it started with Ink Stain and Jock Itch, which are pretty old at this point. The way I see the world creatively is really nostalgic, but with a side of futurism. If you look at my photography, I like to lay these two things together, so I take things that look really sentimental and give them a veneer of futurism.
Men In The Sand is completely nostalgic. The costumes, the hair, the mustaches, the way that it’s shot. But it’s got a future edge to it. For one thing, a lot of the way that it looks you wouldn’t have been able to pull off in the past, like the lens flares. And the actors use their iPhones to meet each other.
I wanted to take something that looked like 1971 and make it speak to the world now. The relationships that guys would form with each other in 1971 were very chummy, and that chumminess doesn’t exist anymore. The relationships we have are more advanced than that. The level of intensity is definitely new.
The only reason that I came into the porn world was that sort of old, bigger than life porn star. That doesn’t exist anymore. The porn world at this point has sort of dilapidated into random guys on a bed in ’s house.
This sort of CinemaScope, wide angle movie, you’re never going to see it again. It just simply won’t happen. And I honestly don’t know whether anyone could do it as well as I did. I put a lot of work into that movie. I wanted to make this one thing that I really loved. And when I pulled it off, that’s when I realized that I could do more than this.
Costuming it was amazing. The biggest job for me was getting the guys’ hair grown out right. Gay men don’t grow their hair out at all anymore, so I had to have these guys start growing their hair out six months before. I told like twenty guys, and half of them said no, because they were afraid they wouldn’t get other work with grown-out hair. But the other half said yes. And fucking Christopher Daniels, when we got him shaved down to just his mustache, that was the most amazing thing.
We filmed on Fire Island, and we’re in this walled-in area, and so I didn’t get out onto the boardwalks very often. But after being there for like four or five days in a row, everyone was smoking weed and I had all the costumes laid out, and people were just wearing them after a while, and fucking. We all got really laid back towards the middle of the shoot, and the guys were all just having sex with each other. And it was the right architecture, the right style, the right attitude. And I was like wow, I’m actually living 1971 right now. This is it, man. And I thought that was really, really, really, really cool.
I felt like I made the guys look more amazing than they’ve ever looked. I think that ten or fifteen years from now, people are going to say, “Holy shit, this is a classic”. And it’s a classic based on classics. That kind of thinking doesn’t really happen in porn. The only way to make something really interesting in porn right now is as a labor of love.
But unfortunately it’s not something that’s entirely respectable, no matter what. I finally got some recognition for this movie, and I feel like I’ve worked for that really hard, but a lot of people aren’t going to give you any kind of props for that. Even if you’ve just created a new style for gay culture, and a movie that caught people’s attention. That caught the right people’s attention.
People definitely noticed. My co-blogger called it The Greatest Porn Movie Ever Made, I think. And it’s up for some Grabby Awards now, right?
It got nominated for Best Art Direction, which I’m really happy about, because that’s the one award that I personally worked the hardest for. So for me it has some value and some merit. If it wins, that would be really lovely. But just the nomination is enough for me.
And then you’re done with porn. Are you going to miss it at all?
I’ve learned a lot, as far as how to get actors together and putting together a treatment. The more complicated part happens later, when I try to sell it.
And porn is not respected in any capacity as an art form. It’s just not. Unfortunately, the only way to distance myself from it is to draw a line in the sand and step over it.
I’ve personally said in a public forum that it gives me a little bit of a foothold as far as what happens next. What’s funny is that I’m at this motivational seminar, and there’s a porn convention going on next door, and it’s funny just knowing that a few years ago I would have been going through the other doors.
There’s a point in your life where you have to make up your mind what you want and you just have to fucking do it. With porn I had already established myself and I knew the playing field, so there was a relative safety net. So no, I’m not going to miss it.
I felt personally that porn was becoming a very boxed-in world for me. Unless you’re already really, really well established, or if you have a means to make money off the back-end. can be creative because they’ve got a huge back catalog and only a small percentage of their profit comes from the new movies. And is doing really well creatively, and I’m excited for them, but their bread and butter comes from the fact that they own a distribution company.
I need to find a place that I’m going to be happy, and porn isn’t going to make me happy. I can do more, and I can do more in other realms, and I’m going to.
So do you have a movie to make already? Or is it the kind of thing where you know you want to do it, but you’re going to spend a couple of months traveling to figure it out?
It’s definitely already in the works. And the travel thing is happening regardless. You can’t tell a story and talk about experience in life unless you’ve gone out and actually lived. So the more I see, the more I’ll have to write about. I need to be in Europe, I need to be in Asia, I need to be around other people that aren’t just fags in New York. In a way that scene is who I’m around, and I’m comfortable in New York. But I’m more than happy to get away from them right now.
So I’m gonna get this together, I’ll get it funded, and then I’m gonna do it. I’ve already been talking to producers, so all of that is already happening. And I know how to shoot a movie: you have to get the actors in place, you have to have a camera. You shoot it, you edit, and then you’re done. It’s not rocket science.
For me it’s a natural point of progression. And whether or not it succeeds… Look, I say it’s going to succeed. And I imagine that there are going to be some very dismissive people out there, and I know that. And I know the dismissals will be from gay men.
Most of the straight people that I talk to about this—whether they’re in the film industry or whether they’re a nurse or something—they’re pushing me to succeed, because that’s one less person producing porn. But when you talk to the average gay man, they’re dismissive. So I’m stepping out of that fucking world, and I’m not interested in it anymore.
I would rather use the information that I’ve gleaned about people and about sex, which is far more interesting than porn itself. If I ever do make a movie about the porn world, it’ll be a long time from now. Right now, I’m more interested in what I’ve learned from my experiences than from the actual construct. I like the human relationships, and thinking about what people want from each other, and how to explore that.