Although former Disney star Garrett Clayton keeps his sexuality private, he embraces his choice to play gay adult film star Brent Corrigan (aka Sean Paul Lockhart) in the movie King Cobra. To prepare for his role, Clayton did a lot of research and consequently watched a lot of gay porn. According to an interview with Pride Source, Clayton observed many of the high-profile twink’s movies, including his first video, in which he was only 17.
If you’re unfamiliar with King Cobra, here’s a little backstory: The film focuses on Corrigan’s rise to gay porn super stardom thanks to his extremely possessive and handsy producer, Bryan Kocis. But, when a rival porn company discovers Corrigan is a cash cow, they lure him in with promises of big paychecks.
King Cobra was directed by Justin Kelly, who also directed I Am Michael and stars Clayton, Christian Slater, James Franco and Pretty Little Liars star Keegan Allen, while Molly Ringwald and Alicia Silverstone costar.
In his Pride Source interview, Clayton answered some extremely personal questions and came clean about this gay porn viewing habits.
Here are some of our favorite moments:
What kind of homework is involved in playing someone like Brent Corrigan?
One thing I agreed with after Justin and I spoke: to separate the character from real life because to try to mimic him too much would come across like we were trying to make fun of his life, and that’s not what we wanted. We wanted a character who’s a little bit removed from him. I tried to have little things in there that reminded the audience of him, but a lot of it was trying to create a character that was separated enough to the degree that it just didn’t seem like we were mocking him. That was really important.
What was your process for embodying Brent’s mannerisms during the porn scenes?
You want to watch someone’s work and study the way they’re into somebody or not. How do they kiss? Do they bite? Do they like biting lips? Do they like using more tongue? Are they more aggressive in their work? Does he play the victim? I tried to look at all those things. And even watching that YouTube channel that he wanted to have for a minute — those videos were interesting to watch just because there are little things in there too. How is he when he speaks to his audience? What’s his body language like when he’s talking about something he’s comfortable with versus uncomfortable with?
At one of the film festivals somebody asked Justin and me what our favorite video of his was, and even though mine doesn’t sound as exciting, it’s the most fascinating one. It’s the first video he did with Bryan where he’s lying on the lawn. Nobody knew at that time that he was 17, and I was just surprised that there are so many sites that still have that video online. It’s crazy. And to see him as a 17-year-old doing this, and the fact that I can find it online — I literally just typed in “Brent Corrigan first video” and a bunch of different websites came up. I just think it was fascinating to watch somebody at that age doing what they’re doing. To me, that was the most interesting piece of work because, I mean, how could it not be?
What’s it like being naked at home versus naked on camera?
It’s a lot different being naked at home versus being naked on camera, in front of millions. When I’m naked at home, I’m not worried about what I ate three hours before! And it was really hard because of catering, for some reason, kept making these crazy, unhealthy (meals), like macaroni and chili. Every day it was chili and macaroni and hot dogs, and I’m like, “I am on a diet. I can’t have bread, I can’t have carbs, I can’t have sugar, I can’t have dairy, and all you’re doing is supplying all those things.”
The struggles of being an actor who has to take his shirt off for the camera, right?
No. The struggles of being an actor who’s only wearing underwear and maybe nothing else – not even underwear at some points.
How was your nudity contract established for this film?
I spoke to Justin about what I would agree to do, and it was: If you discuss with me first and I can understand logically why the nudity is a sexual act that can promote the plot in this scene, then I’ll do it. When I’m in the shower, it’s a sign he’s becoming comfortable with his sexuality. The montage is showing him becoming a star. At the end, I have my butt shot and, funny enough, that was my idea because Justin and me kept talking, saying, “When are we going to do the butt shot?” because (Brent is) known for his butt. And I was watching, and I said, “Why don’t we make him getting the tattoo like ownership of self and being able to do what he wants to do with his body? If we show his ass at the end and we see there’s a tattoo on it, now he can do what he wants to do with his body and he has control over his life and where he’s going.”
Because you’re playing gay in this movie, is there pressure to acknowledge your own sexuality? And how do you react to people who criticize you for not doing so?
… I’m supportive of an open-minded lifestyle and letting people do what they want to do with their lives, so it’s nice to be able to do another, a different type of role. Acting is about stepping out of body and getting to see different lives and experience different things, and I got to do that in this movie.
One thing I even took away from this: I gained a lot more sympathy for people who work in the adult industry. A lot of times society is so harsh on people who do work in porn, and they’re so judged and scrutinized, and yet they’re so accepted because porn drives the internet, and people watch it so consistently, and it’s a multi-billionaire dollar industry. When you’re done working in it, though, people shun you. They just treat people who work in this industry poorly, and yet they’re watching them alone in their bedroom, supporting them. You can’t pick and choose. You either are open-minded, or you’re not.
You can read the entire interview here, and watch the steamy trailer below.