Christopher Long's "Naked Fame" is an engaging and forthright documentary about gay porn star Colton Ford's struggle to move out of the adult film industry to pursue his sidetracked dream of a singing career. In an understated way it is also a touching portrait of his loving relationship with Blake Harper, an even better known gay porn star, who is hoping to make the transition into an acting career.
Both are handsome bodybuilders, and gay porn director Chi Chi LaRue observes that while he believes Ford has genuine singing talent and Harper equal acting ability, he predicts they will have a hard time making career switches — and adds that should they decide to return to porn he, of course, would love to direct their comeback video.
In the course of the film, their relationship is tested but proves admirably resilient. Their story echoes those of others in porn who have found it difficult to establish fresh careers — especially those who have achieved a measure of fame and recognition. As Sharon Mitchell, ex-porn star and now an activist for safe sex in the adult film industry, notes: "Pornography follows you around for the rest of your life."
At the beginning of the film, both men have decided not to make any more porn videos but are continuing to live and perform 24/7 at the Live and Raw Hotel, a windowless webcam apartment where more than 100,000 Internet subscribers each pay $29.95 a month to observe the goings-on. But Ford has hooked up with a former porn actor named Kyle, who is also an aerobics instructor and songwriter-producer, and who has big plans for launching Ford's singing career on the basis of his single recording.
Ford is quickly caught up in endless meetings, trips to New York, auditions and even some gigs but soon feels as if he's getting nowhere fast. He and Kyle, both of whom have substantial egos, start clashing over how best to launch Ford's career. If Kyle sounds a bit grandiose, he does have a point that Ford should consider continuing his porn career as a way of sustaining an audience for his hoped-for new life as a dance music star, but Ford feels strongly that he should join Harper in putting the Live and Raw Hotel, along with porn videos, behind them.
"Naked Fame" features a number of other colorful individuals, including Bruce Vilanch, notorious porn agent David Forest and numerous dance music divas. By the time "Naked Fame" is over, it leaves the viewer feeling that both Ford and Harper have learned a lot and have become more realistic in pursuing their dreams.
MPAA rating: Unrated
Times guidelines: Brief nudity, adult themes
A Regent Releasing presentation of a Hardsell production. Producer-director Christopher K. Long. Creative director Brandon Sanford. Cinematographer Patrick McManamee. Editors Laura Murray, JD DiSalvatore. Music advisor Scott Anderson. Running time. 1 hour, 24 minutes.
Exclusively at the Fairfax Cinemas, 7907 Beverly Blvd. (at Fairfax Avenue), L.A., (323) 655-4010.