On the Set: Wicked Director Brad Armstrong's 'Divine' Images

Wicked Pictures contract director Brad Armstrong has a pretty cool job. His studio gives him a budget to play with, and Armstrong gets to decide how to get the most bangs out of the bucks. Last year, he concedes, he went a little overboard on the visually lush Carnal. And this year he’s got a super-secret project to fund, so he’s watching his porn pennies.

That said, he’s still got to produce two other movies over a year that started in October 2018 and runs through September (not coincidentally, the period of eligibility for the 2020 AVN Awards). So rather that go nuts with this year’s “visual type” movie, he’s keeping it simple while still making sure the footage still looks like a million bucks.

“We had Carnal last year—we spent five days on it,” Armstrong recalls. “This year I pushed [Divine] into three days, so that saved me some money that I can sink into the other two. … For this one I got the idea of working with the colors and the lingerie. So we decided to put the eye candy on the set and smoosh in the days.”

Rather than working in oft-used shoot houses or scouting for new locations, Armstrong put the focus on set design, shooting some of the action—including today’s—in a warehouse. The unifying visual is color. And since this is lingerie-focused, it makes sense that one of those colors is white: a wedding scene featuring Avi Love and Codey Steele as the happy couple. Wicked Pictures contract star Jessica Drake is featured in four scenes, including a yellow-dominant setup in a taxi cab featuring the Wicked contract star in yellow lingerie, with Seth Gamble cast as a passenger. It’s an atypical scene of mutual masturbation, with the two separated by the glass window in the cab.

Black dominates in one of the scenes: a masquerade party turned orgy. “The group scene was Honey Gold, Vicki Chase, Jessie Lee, Jay Smooth and myself,” Armstrong says. “I donned my masquerade mask, and away we go. It was a pretty good scene, if I do say so myself.”

Drake also loved her scene, in which she plays a secret agent who takes on Will Havoc and Small Hands for double-penetration action. The men are in silver—which was supposed to be the dominant shade until a red McLaren sports car turned up, instead of the requested silver. But by that point Armstrong was happy to have a car at all. A crew member showed up and said, “I know why your car is late.” It turned out he driver had been pulled over by the police about 500 feet away from the shoot location. “Nothing goes easy, that’s for sure,” Armstrong said ruefully.

In the end, though, all went well, according to Drake. The sex was “so intense, but before that it was really elegant and beautiful. That’s my favorite kind of setup. When we have something really pretty, and then the sex is really good.”

Tonight, Drake will do a scene with Sean Michaels—only her second time working with the veteran adult star (the first was in Carnal). The bedroom set is all in shades of red: a deep crimson bedspread, velveteen jacquard wallpaper, scarlet sheets, pillows and rug, and a red headboard adorned with crystals.

But before the crew moves over to that side of the warehouse, they will shoot in a space that has been turned into a fantasy land filled with all things pink. Flowering cherry blossom trees arch over a balustrade of white columns draped in blossoms, a large square ottoman covered by a plush pink coverlet and two cylindrical rose-pink stools covered in rose-pink vinyl and decorated with crystals.


Jessica Drake on the set of Divine (Wicked Pictures)

Behind the camera are shooters Barrett Blade and Sal Genoa, with Nigel Dictator shooting stills, Ric Rodney on lighting, production assistant Tony Strong, and David Lord as production manager. And unofficially, Drake is providing the music, playing tracks by Miley Cyrus, Cardi B, Ariana Grande, Post Malone … “Is the soundtrack going to be made available at the end of the day?” Genoa asks.

Drake is already in costume and fully made up in a striking shade of pink eyeshadow. Referencing today’s makeup artist, Drake says, “She’s fantastic. Jenna is my favoritest. We’re like partners in crime.” Her scene partner, still in makeup, is Chanel Santini, AVN’s reigning Transsexual Performer of the Year. “I have been wanting to work with her forever,” Drake says, with gleeful anticipation. It’s her third scene with TS performers, but her first one-on-one pairing.

We admire Armstrong’s handiwork on the set. “He’s so good. It’s all his styling. He can just pick stuff and put it together, and he is so good at making people look beautiful,” Drake says.

The Wicked star is a vision of femininity: rose pink bra and panties, garter belt and stockings. Her hair is long and straight, and so are those nonstop legs. Once the lights go on for still photography, the subtle variations in pink and the different surface textures are more visible. A wind machine adds a bit of magic.

Soon Santini is on set as well, wearing the same outfit as her co-star. She’s got long black hair, slender hips, proportional breasts and beautiful skin—a healthy golden glow. Peering out from under heavy bangs, Santini gazes on the set through her perfectly made-up eyes. With a small curved smile, she’s got a mysterious and sensual air about her.

Armstrong meticulously supervises the still photography as well, telling the two how fast to ditch articles of clothing, and also making sure that each of them is shot with the wind machine blowing while the crew tosses handfuls of pink petals into the air, repeating the action to get just the right look for both stills and video.

First comes a solo tease with Chanel playing peekaboo behind the branches of the blooming cherry tree. She moves the wide lace bra straps down, bats her long lashes and unleashes that smile. She seductively lifts up a finger to her lips and then cracks herself up—a charming, unguarded moment. Jessica calls Chanel over to look at the footage: “It’s so beautiful! …  And your eyes are like, bling bling bling.”

Armstrong agrees: “Your eyes light up when you smile.”


Chanel Santini on the set of Divine (Wicked Pictures)

It takes patience on the part of everyone to get through all the stills, all the tease footage, until it’s finally time for some sexy fun. But even here the performers can’t just forget themselves, because Armstrong is going to need plenty of softcore footage—and they’ll have to avoid showing Jessica’s butt plug and Chanel’s impressive erection.

Jessica’s long fingers hand begins to explore the outer edge of Chanel’s thigh. Their hands touch. Armstrong coaches, “That looks nice.”

Jessica kneels down in front of Chanel and moves up slowly, pressing her body against the brunette. Chanel gives her a playful slap. When Blade asks for a repeat, Chanel gives Jessica’s butt plug a friendly twist.

Armstrong directs, “Start with a kiss—and try to hide Chanel’s huge penis.”

Drake retorts, “I’ll hide it with my mouth.”

Two can play at the oral game. Chanel sends her tongue in and out of Jessica’s pussy, and is rewarded with squeals of pleasure from the leggy blonde.

After some softer stuff, Chanel lies down on her back and throws her legs back to fully expose her balls, the better for Jessica to suck them. Then she crooks her leg behind Jessica’s neck, the better to fuck her face.

At the end, Chanel pops in Jessica’s mouth, sitting down while the blonde kneels before her. They end with a kiss.

Romantico,” Armstrong says. “Good work, ladies.”

The crew takes a quick break before going back to the same setup to shoot more softcore, after Armstrong expresses concern that he needs more. And after that, there’s still a second full scene to shoot with Sean Michaels, who has just arrived on set. And it’s already almost 5 p.m.

But this will be the last shoot for Divine, so Armstrong is already looking ahead to the future. First, to cut the trailer for Divine. And then to prepare for a movie starring Jessica Drake. “It’s slightly Sixth Sense-ish,” he allows, with twist ending. Armstrong plans to use some of the tricks he employed in his AVN Award-winning drama Aftermath, which featured a lot of exteriors and voiceovers, including footage shot in New York City. He will “upsize it with the acting bits between the sex and give it a mainstreamy vibe with a lot of daylight.”

After that comes a third feature, and he’s not giving any hints. “EPIC. Just say that. In my mind, it’s never been done before.”

To see the full color range of Divine, check out a gallery of images here.



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