Posted on Thursday, January 21st, 2010 by Russ Fischer
One of the big curiosities of this year’s Sundance is Howl, the semi-biopic of poet Allen Ginsberg, which stars James Franco and was directed by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman. Now, just ahead of Howl‘s premiere, the duo has booked another film. They’ll make Lovelace, based on the career of iconic porn star and eventual anti-porn crusader Linda Lovelace.
Variety reports on the deal, saying that the film will be written by W. Merritt Johnson based on Eric Danville‘s book The Complete Linda Lovelace. Born Linda Susan Boreman, Lovelace became an icon after her film Deep Throat became as close to a mainstream crossover success as any porn film ever has. She claimed that her performance in porn was forced by then-husband Chuck Traynor, who also acted as her manager and supposed pimp.
Lovelace fell into severe drug addiction before finding God, divorcing Traynor and renouncing porn. In her book Ordeal, published in 1980, she claimed that her prostitution and pornography acts (which included a bestiality film) were forced by Traynor, who would hold a pistol to her head to ensure her complicity. She’s said “I have never been so frightened and disgraced and humiliated in my life. I felt like garbage. I engaged in sex acts for pornography against my will to avoid being killed…The lives of my family were threatened.”
Though the physical abuse by Traynor was witnessed and documented, not everyone believed all of Lovelace’s stories. Porn actress and producer Gloria Leonard said, “this was a woman who never took responsibility for her own [...] choices made; but instead blamed everything that happened to her in her life on porn.”
Some of that doubt will likely creep into this film as well. “Linda is this fascinating character who continually reinvented herself and her story based on changing circumstances,” director Rob Epstein says. “It’s a story with great dramatic and psychological dimensions.”
The challenge with Lovelace will be to make a film that stands alongside the 2005 documentary Inside Deep Throat, which quite ably captured Lovelace’s life and the era of Deep Throat.