Die-Screaming interviews Jacky St. James!
I’ve gone on record multiple times saying that Jacky St. James is one of the most talented people currently working in porn. Since 2012, she’s directed over 80 XXX films and has been the creative force behind some of the most popular franchises of the past decade, including The Submission of Emma Marx and New Sensations’ Hotwife series.
On September 18th (two days from now!), New Sensations will be releasing The Submission of Emma Marx: Evolved. The fourth installment of the insanely popular Emma Marx line of films, this movie sees Emma (played by Penny Pax) moving in a bold new direction. I had the chance to ask Ms. St. James a few questions and this is how that went…
Jacky St. James | The Die-Screaming Interview
Die-Screaming: I remember when the third Emma Marx movie came out that it was supposed to be the finale for the series. What made you decide to continue on with a new installment?
Jacky St. James: I hadn’t directed for New Sensations for quite a while when I received an email from the owner, Scott Taylor. He said, “Do you think you have another Emma story in you?” And my response was, “I’ll always have another Emma story.” I was ready to say “goodbye” to it after the third film, but I was just as ready to say, “hello again” when the opportunity presented itself. I feel endeared to the characters. They’ve lived with me for quite a long time.
The Emma Marx series has clearly proven to be a massive hit with both fans and critics. Where do you rank the Emma Marx movies in the portfolio of your work? Are these films your best work, in your opinion?
They aren’t my best work, which is the irony of it all – because they are certainly the bestselling of all my work. I would venture to say the Emma movies are certainly my DP, Eddie Powell’s finest work (he also scored, edited, color graded, and shot the films).
For me, when I reflect on my career I think my best work is still (for screenplays) The Friend Zone and (for directing) Torn. However, Emma has grown on me and I have a different relationship with it than I do anything else I’ve done. I think all of us (the actors and the crew of the series) have grown so much in our careers since the initial installment and there will always be a very close bond among us.
I understand that Emma has now transitioned from being a sub to a dom. Has that made the character any easier or harder for you to write?
It’s made it more fun – taking a character in a vastly different direction than I initially envisioned when I created her. Emma is naturally a submissive, so it was an interesting exploration how she might approach and adapt to a new lifestyle. There was a challenge in writing the transition and figuring out how it might happen naturally. When I sat down to brainstorm Emma 4, one of the things I asked myself was, “where does she go from here?” and “into the role of a dominant” was the first thing my gut answered. It made the most sense.
The Submission of Emma Marx debuted back in 2013. Has it been a challenge keeping the Emma Marx saga going that long?
We talk about this all the time (Eddie Powell and I). We really did hit the casting jackpot when we landed Penny Pax, Riley Reid, and Van Wylde – all of whom are still successful and working in the business so many years later. In an industry where people come and go, I am not sure how we got three performers who stuck around and got even more talented with time. In terms of keeping the story going – that seems easy. It’s a popular series and so long as there’s a demand, I’m always willing to give people what they want. That’s what drives me!
This is a stupid question, but I’m gonna ask it anyway because I make poor decisions. Assuming the Emma Marx series continues beyond Evolved and that Emma remains a dom, will future films still have the Submission of Emma Marx title? Or will it be something like Submitting to Emma Marx or something like that?
What a stupid question. I am kidding!! I will keep the title because, frankly, that’s how people know the series. I always add a secondary “title word” to every installment which embodies the overall theme of the movie. This latest one is “Evolved.”
In most of the interviews of XXX industry people that I come across, everyone’s always asking about what’s “broken” about porn or about “the biggest problem” facing the industry. What’s great about the porn business?
Do you know how much I love you for asking this question? I love the people and the freedom that comes with working as a writer and director and producer in the business. The amount of experience the industry has afforded me is worth more than any higher level education.
I’m not discounting education, I loved my college years, but because practical skills and knowledge are critical in becoming better at your craft – my career in adult has been invaluable. The opportunities porn has afforded me so quickly and plentifully would have been virtually impossible to come by so easily in Hollywood. I never take that for granted.
In adult, I’ve done everything from casting, producing, writing, directing, sound, PAing, production management, line producing, the whole gamut. I know a little bit of a lot and I have the good, ole porn industry to thank for that!
What’s your favorite non-porn movie that you’ve seen this year?
Detroit. It wasn’t one of those movies I’d recommend seeing if you aren’t ready for the amount of psychological torture Bigelow (the director) puts the viewer through – a necessity when delving into a subject matter as important as this one. I saw it alone in a theatre and I remember crying in my seat thinking, “how much longer do I have to endure this level of anguish and anxiety?”
It reminded me a lot of my experience watching Deer Hunter, where Cimino (the director) used film techniques to put the viewer through a level of psychological stress as a way of conveying the bigger message. It’s beautiful agony. On a more light-hearted note, I did have quite a lot of fun watching Baby Driver this year. Or maybe it was just the music I liked. Or … Ansel Elgort.
Aside from The Submission of Emma Marx: Evolved, what other projects are you working on that we should be on the lookout for?
I am working with Paul Fishbein, on Season 2 of our late night series Submission. I’m also developing a mainstream pilot that I am hoping to pitch this year and still trying to finish that novel that I’ve been working on for three years! Otherwise, I am still producing, directing, and writing adult films. You can check my twitter feed for updates!