While I was still buried neck-deep in piecing together Cauke For President, shooting/recording the extra scenes, bumpers, graphics, fake campaign commercials, celebrity cameos and extra footage to complete the movie, Keith Webb told me that he and Jesse Jackman were hard at work on an idea that we’d thrown around for a while. A movie about a gay baseball player coming out.
I was intrigued. While Cauke For President tells the story of a closeted gay politician who attacks the gay community in public while covertly sucking dick in private, Out was about a gay man who privately was quite open with friends and family about his sexual orientation but wouldn’t publicly discuss it.
The contrast between the two characters was what excited me the most. While Mike Cauke is a smarmy jerk who gets outed in a humiliating revenge-porn video by a Manhunt hookup (and then becomes a story of personal revolution and redemption), AJ Benson is an honorable athlete who takes control of the story and comes out in a nationally-televised interview.
Unlike Cauke For President, I had virtually nothing to do with the story and script. Keith and Jesse based the character on Jesse’s real-life experience as a gay athlete and when I read it, I was drawn to the likability of the characters. How real it all felt. How emotional it was in all the right places and how it never strayed away from the goal of getting your audience turned on. Porn often ends with the asshole getting what’s coming to him, but I’ve always liked watching good guys winning in the end.
We shot the two book-ending scenes with Jesse, Nick Prescott and Dallas Steele last July in Palm Springs. It was swelteringly hot (which worked for the setting of AJ’s spring training home in Arizona) and as part of a grueling production run that had us waking up at 4 A.M. to get sunrise footage… we were all earning our stripes.
What I wanted for this scene was to bring the feeling of “Spring Training” into view. I wanted blooming flowers, lush green grass, blue sky and the feeling of that fresh, clean desert air. But it still had to take place inside. The easy solution was to shoot with Nick and Jesse in front of open glass doors opened to the green back yard… That looks great to your naked eye… but to a camera, without the proper lighting, you’ll have a dark foreground and a totally blown-out, burned-up background. Your image will look horrible. We’ve all seen those poorly-lit movies where the guys are lit a bit too dark to see the action and the windows are just a bit wall of white. That wasn’t going to do.
I’d planned for this shot for a while. We brought every single light we had at our disposal and lit the guys brightly from every angle. I had lights on the floor, the ceiling, spots across the room, reflectors adding warmth and gels matching the blues outside. The end result is pretty stunning. The guys look perfect.. their skin tones are warm and natural… like healthy athletes… and the outside is bursting with a bright colour explosion of nature. The hedges and flowers and sky are all exactly the colour they needed to be. It took us a long time to light that shot, but it was worth it. I’ve always said that a porn movie should look so warm and bright and colorful that you feel like you could peel off your own shirt and join in the action. This setup is where the story actually starts… with Jesse/AJ getting the text message that sets him on the path to have his coming-out interview with “Jim Weaver” (played perfectly by Dallas Steele… more on that in three weeks).
The film originally opened up with Nick’s face buried in Jesse’s crotch. The two men in baseball gear is a mega-hot image but when we had our first screening, Keith, (lead editor) James Sheridan and I all agreed that we needed to put who these guys were into context and explain to the audience that they were rumored to be a couple in the press. “Leave that to me, I’ll come up with something,” I said, and a day later… I had THIS…
This cute little 38-second bit brought in enough info to explain that Nick and Jesse were rumored to be gay and sexually involved, that the press was onto them… that they were, in fact, major league baseball stars and that the press was hounding Jesse’s character for a “quote.” Now when Jesse gets the text message while Nick is sucking his dick, it doesn’t come out of nowhere. (btw… that weird Japanese commercial… we’ll explain that one soon, trust me, it makes sense in the final movie).
Nick and Jesse have wanted to do a scene together for a long time and we at Titan have been trying to find the perfect scene for them. This was it. They both look stunning on the baseball gear and the hot, lazy summer day brought out the sexual energy in both of them. This scene is stunning… and has all the parts you expect from a Titan movie… hot, muscular men, natural sexual energy and beautifully shot action (if I don’t say so myself).
Here’s a rather fun little BTS montage…
Extra points to Keith for the SF Titans logos, uniforms hats, posters, baseball cards and promo material. This was another movie where the whole Titanmen team pitched in to make a hot script into a really hot, fun, entertaining movie.
You can watch the full movie at Titanmen.com