You may think you know Stormy Daniels but in reality, you really don't. Of course Stormy took the standard path into porn, stripping at her local club and then feature dancing. Through feature dancing she met Devon Michaels who in turn introduced her to the world of porn. A contract with Wicked Pictures was next and the rest is history. That's the part we already know. In this interview with Big D, Stormy Daniels reveals a lot more than even the most expert of porn watchers knew. Stormy reveals in this exclusive interview about the rigors of acting and directing in her own films for nearly a decade, juggling motherhood and family life while living away from Porn Valley and what is the strangest and most outrageous thing she heard on set while having sex.
Big D: Tell me about working in the industry but still living away from the valley. How does that work for the fact that you're in Texas but still the majority of the industry is out here on the West Coast?
Stormy Daniels: I have the luxury of being under contract so I always pretty much know what I'm shooting, especially since I direct my movies. It's not like I'm waiting around for people to call me and to aks “Hey, can you come tomorrow?" or "Hey, we had a cancellation this morning, can you come do a scene?”. That doesn't happen for me because I know the production schedule. I have the luxury of not having to be around all the time. And I did live in the valley for a number of years. My main reason for moving was I just want to get more for my money. I rented a house in the valley that was nice but it certainly wasn't amazing and my rent was $3,700 a month. My house here is brand new and almost three times the size and it's a third of the price. And I like being able to be away from it all. It's fun for a while when I was younger and going out and Hollywood was cool and all that. But I didn't want to be so saturated in the entertainment business. Not just adult necessarily but just, you know, that scene. I'm not a drinker, a partier or anything like that so it wasn't that big of a loss for me to leave. And also, I have horses and that's not any fun in LA. And when I decided to start a family, I definitely didn't want her growing up in LA. Going backto getting more for your money, the schools I want to send her to there would be triple the price for what I'm getting here. It's just basically comes down to more for your money and sometimes under contract I have the luxury of being able to do that. And I do all my pre-production from home, the script writing, the budgets, the scheduling, the booking people. I do that at home because I can do that from anywhere. And then the other nice thing about being in Dallas is that it's a lot more central in the country than the west coast. My flights to store sightings and dance bookings and things like that are a lot easier and a lot shorter.
Big D: So instead of doing an East Coast signing or an East coast store appearance and doing a six hour flight from California, it's only a two hour flight.
Stormy Daniels: In the few months under contract, I was only starring in five movies a year but I was dancing two to three times a month. So I was flying a lot and it just worked out better for me.
Big D: Tell me about the directing aspect of your career? You know you've been given that opportunity with being under contract with Wicked Pictures. Talk a little about moving into the director's chair and also performing as well.
Stormy Daniels: I've been directing for eight and a half years for Wicked. I've been under contract with them for 10 years and I've been under contract to write for nine years and direct for eight. I've been directing for a really long time. It's just over the years they've added more every year. The first year I directed, I only directed two movies because they wanted to wait until they came out to see if they were any good. Which I totally understand and there was that big chunk in the middle where I was dancing so much that I didn't have time to direct more than four or five movies a year. And now because of the economy and strip clubs just aren't booking as much as they use to, especially at the rates bigger name stars go for, I'm dancing a lot less just because the clubs are suffering. Obviously the stores are closing because everybody is getting everything online so I'm not doing as many store signings. It frees up time for me to do more directing and the last two years I directed seven to eight movies a year. This year I'm directing 11, which is a lot. But directing is my favorite part of the job. Acting is fun. It's cool to be performing because you're only responsible for yourself so it's a lot easier. You show up, you get your make-up done and you get cool wardrobe, you get to pretend to be somebody else and you get to have sex with beautiful people and that's always a good time. But the directing for me is so much more rewarding because of the creative aspect. It's a lot more stressful as well because obviously, like I said, when you are performing you are only responsible for yourself. But when you're directing you are responsible for everybody and the boss's money. Which, no pressure you know, but I love directing. I love my favorite thing about it is since I write all my own script and I have been for the last nine years, I like taking an idea and taking it from my imagination to paper and then to screen. And I edit the movies in my house and everything so I get to see this concept or idea start from a scene all the way through to the finish product. To me that's just awesome. A lot of people make fun of me. They'll say, "you're just directing porn!". But it doesn't really matter what your medium is when you're an artist. And this is my outlet and I love it.
Big D: You've taken the reigns of being a director and been given more over the years. Have you tried to style yourself after anybody? Who would probably be any of your directing influences?
Stormy Daniels: My favorite director was always Michael Raven. He just has this creative vision that isn't like anyone else. He was so good in making things look cool. And when I combine that with my writing it turns out to be agreat film. I'm a really good writer. Since I have the script and the story came fairly easily for me, it was the visual aspect that was hard. I used to see him take the time to do a shot that would last three seconds on screen, but he would spend all this time coming up with creative ways to make it look good and think outside the box. I really learned that from him. So I would say Michael Raven.
Big D: Do you find it difficult that if you're directing and performing in the same movie to separate from being a performer and a director? Do you approach it by saying “Okay, I know how in my mind I want this scene to turn out.” but if you were casting somebody else in the role it might be different? Is it hard to direct and perform in the same production that you're responsible for?
Stormy Daniels: I've been doing it for so long, I find it pretty easy because when I write a script, 90 percent of the time I know, or at least I hope, because sometimes things change last minute, who was going to be playing each part. As I'm writing, I'm imagining them actually doing it and how they would deliver it and I write my scripts tailored for each person's abilities, their quirks, the way they look, whatever. So I find it pretty easy.The only thing that I have to do is I allow myself extra time in the schedule to go back and watch the movie so I check the footage. And if we're doing something really big like a party scene or fight scene or something that has a lot of elements to it, I do a couple takes. I sit down for a second and I watch playback to make sure that we have it before moving on. Then when I'm shooting a sex scene, since I get asked this question a lot, what I'll do is keep the monitor turned toward where I can see it. When the camera isn't on my face I'll look over and check the monitor to make sure that the lighting is good and that you know the technical aspects are good. The directing of it, I guess since I've been doing it for so long, that I think I know all the aspects by now.
Big D: You said, you write your scripts with certain people in mind. Is it a chicken or the egg type of a syndrome where as you contact the performer and say “hey I've got a concept of a script in my head and I think you would be perfect for this role, do you wanna do it?”? Or do you write the script and then say, “okay this character would probably be the best suited for so and so."? You then go and find out if they're on contract with Wicked or you know there are a free agent you can go and talk to their agent. How does that go from A to B?
Stormy Daniels: I do both. There are times when I've been laying in bed at night and I just had a great idea and I sat up just to jot it down. I hand write everything before I type it. I'm old school. So I'll write it down and I'll get everything down very quickly before I forget it and then I'll start thinking about it. Then I'll go to the websites and scroll and find someone that I think will be right for that concept or that part. Then I'll tailor the actual dialogue to that person. And then there's other times when I've gone in and Wicked tells me “Hey we really need a Kaylani (Lei) movie". Oh shit. I now have to come up with an idea for Kaylani. And I'll try to think of something that would be good for her and I'll call her and say “Hey, is there anything you have been wanting to do or is there a guy you really want to work with?". I then could think how that they would play into the couple or I'll ask someone “Hey Wicked wants to shoot you and you're really popular right now, like Gracie Glam is a great example. They really wanted me to shoot Gracie in a passion movie. So I called Gracie and say “Hey, do you have any talents and skills, anything?". She mentions to me that she can play the piano and that's how she became a piano player in Immortal Love. So it's kind of a combination of all three. It's either Wicked said “hey there's this girl that's really popular" or I'll say "Wow that girl is really beautiful and I want to shoot her". So I'll talk to her and see what, if she has any secret talent or what she's good at or I'll just get a great idea and sort of jot it down and then try to find the person that fits it. It's all over the place.
Big D: You mention that Wicked came to you and said “We want to shoot Gracie Glam and we want you to definitely put something together for her." Is it more motivated by the studio itself or are you pretty much in tune with the industry and know who is hot and up and coming and who's the next one out there. Do you ever have to scramble and put together a script for a girl in particular before she gets completely and totally shot out by every other gonzo company that is out there?
Stormy Daniels: It's about 50/50 I would say. Yes, sometimes Wicked would have a list of girls who got really good hits on our site. We just find out that these girls are really popular right now. I might even personally think they're shot out but they want me to shoot them and they're paying me so I will do it. And then other times, for example the movie that I'm shooting next week, Wicked have never even heard of the girl. She's brand new and I saw her pictures and thought she was really pretty and then my boyfriend, Brendon Miller, actually did a scene with her and he came back and told me I have to shoot her. He told me, "not only is she prettier than her picture, she's got a great attitude. The script we had had a lot of ad lib and he's a fantastic actor. He was surprised she kept up with him. He kept telling me she was awesome and she's perfect for my stuff. So I wrote a script for her and said to Wicked, “Hey we really need to shoot this gir. No one has shot her yet and she's really amazing." And from the time I decided to shoot her and I wrote a script and got through pre-production, I've been watching Twitter and seeing other producers have been shooting her and every director that shoots her, raves about her. So I'm like "Aahh fuck, I was ready!" And I'm shooting her next week.
Big D: Do you find that it just comes down to that instinct where you just know or is it just relying on things like the modern conveniences of technology – of seeing how many Twitter followers this girl may have or you know how well she has been spoken of from others in the industry?
Stormy Daniels: It's a little bit of everything. Sometimes it comes from fans. If I hear a fan say a girl's name over and over, I'll check her out. Sometimes it is the agents. They will say, “Hey Stormy, we got this girl, she's not really dirty, she won't do everything but my God she's a fantastic actress. She will be very good for your script and movies." And then sometimes social media is wrong. There was this girl, for whatever reason, she does not have as many Twitter followers as you might think but she's an amazing performer. Her name is Bailey Blue and I love her. And I think that she just for whatever reason hasn't popped yet but she's about to. I shot her a bunch but if I had just gone to her Twitter profile I would have never known to shoot her. The first time I looked at her Twitter she had like 10,000 followers. Then there are other girls that I have never heard of and I go to their page and they have like 200,000 followers. So really it's a combination of everything.
Big D: Do you find that it's difficult to cast people because you do work for Wicked and because it's a lot of your scripts and productions are very dialogue driven? It's not just necessarily to gonzo tease, BJs, four or five positions and then the pop shot with each movie being five scenes, lets crank it out as fast as possible type stuff? Do you find that it limits you in the type of casting that you can do just because the girls and the guys have to be able to carry on some sort of dialogue and be believable?
Stormy Daniels: Yeah, it's much harder. Some other directors do shoot some of the all sex stuff but I have never shot a movie that wasn't scripted. I've never shot an non-featured movie. You also take not only their skills and their willingness but their responsibility is even more important. Since it is a feature movie and we're shooting three days, I might have the girl on for three days. Sometimes the way the schedule and the location fall, I might have to do a day of dialogue for a day and the last day is her sex scene. So what happens if I shoot this girl for two days and then she goes out and parties and doesn't show up for her sex scene? She's established and I have her already as a role in the movie. I can't just replace her because obviously it'll be a different person. And that's sort of the scariest things. That's one of the things why I can't use new guys or unproven guys because what if I had a day of dialogue with them and then it's time to do the sex scene and they can't perform. And we are a condom only company and there are several guys that won't even consider working for me. They're great performers but they don't want to work with condoms. They struggle and can't do it. Of course that makes me wonder how safe they are if in their private life and they can't use condoms. But there are a lot of guys out there who won't work for me.
Big D: Do you find that the condom only policy of Wicked is more restrictive for the guys than for the girls? Do you get that same reaction from some girl like “Hey, you know what, I don't want to work for you because I don't want to do condom only.”
Stormy Daniels: No. I have never had a girl say that, but I had a girl make a face. I told her, "Don't forget, we're condom only." She said, “Really? Oh that's right. Ah, Okay.” I never had someone refuse and they only really complain about it if it's anal. They'll say “oh the condom hurts my butt” and I'll tell them “I know, but you know, let us know if you need a break or need some lube or whatever.” But I never had someone refused to work for us because of Wicked's condom policy.
Big D: Now speaking of that aspect, I know you know the whole issue with measure B and with Los Angeles passing a law that requires porn movies shot within the city ot use condoms. It created some controversy within the industry and Wicked being obviously a condom only company, was this old news for you guys but do you want to weigh in on that?
Stormy Daniels: I like it that it's my choice. I had contract offers from seven other companies when I got in this business and a lot of those aren't in business anymore. So I'm glad I didn't sign with them. But one of the main reason why I choose Wicked was that they were condom only, but it's my choice. I don't agree with the government coming in and regulating that aspect and at that point it's like where does it stop? If you open the door, you could open a floodgate and I get that. It's the fact that I might not agree with what you have to say but I'll defend your rights to say it. As far as the condom issue, I personally use condoms and I'm a firm stickler for that. I won't do a scene without one unless it's with my boyfriend for my website. People will comment, “Oh you don't have a condom there”. Yeah that's the one exception in case someone tries to call me out on that. But I don't agree with it but if you want to talk to the super selfish side of me, part of me is feeling “Oh yeah! We will level the playing field”. I hear so many people complain about “Oh I would love to buy your movies but there's condoms in it.". But if every movie has condoms in it, then Wicked will easily win because we have better products. But people wouldn't even check out our products because there are condoms in our movies. So the selfish part of me is like “Ah ha! Well then it will be fair." And it's a waste of money. How are they going to police it? Don't they have better things to do" Let's spend that money on education, STD testing and regulation in making condoms and birth control available for the public. That seems like a way better idea than worrying about such a small percentage of people in porn who are probably the most educated on that.
Big D: You're out in Dallas and you're in a committed relationship. How are you able to still keep your professional life separate? I'm sure the the distance between living in Texas and working and everything being based out in Southern California helps, but how are you able to keep that separation when it comes to your private life there and Texas? Are you a celebrity in the aspect that when you go to the grocery store, people still do recognize you? Is there a way you can shield kids from your professional life? How do you maintain that balance of trying to be a person that has a family but still is able to be a professional, a performer and a director working in the adult industry?
Stormy Daniels: I definitely get recognized when I'm out. The fun thing about Texas is that no one wants to admit that they recognize me. They don't come up to me as much because basically coming up to me would be admitting, “Hey, I'm a pervert!”. In their mind, that's what they think they are saying. And I have never had someone come up to me when I was with my daughter. They are just more respectful here. People in other places, like California, they just don't stop to think and here people in general are more respectful. I've learned over the years the look when someone recognizes me. They do the double take and they think for a second and they're like “oh, OH!” and they definitely know who I am. They will tap their friends like “Oh My God, that's Stormy.” or I'll walk by and they're like “Oh My God is that Stormy?” I definitely get it but they definitely don't come up to me, especially if my daughter is with me. The funny thing is, if I'm out with my boyfriend, people go up to him and say “Hey man I don't want to be disrespectful but is that your girl?” He'll say, “yeah” and they will say “no offense man, but what's her name?” He'll fuck with them and he'll say “What do you think her name is?” They just feel embarrassed. But I think that's pretty cool that they know the polite thing to do is to go up and ask “If you mind, would it be okay if I asked her for a picture.”. My boyfriend will say, “Oh yeah it's fine”. But if our daughter was with us, I have never had that happen. Not once. Which is really cool. So it's kind of easy to separate. But the other part of that is that I don't just cut it off when I come home. I don't hide what I do. It's not like we don't talk about the porno. No. It's my job and I'm the manager of it and it's part of my life. I still tweet everyday and I do updates and fan mail and all that. And I go to the post office and I mail out that stuff and I bring my daughter with me. She doesn't know what's in the packages. I keep it all locked up in a room upstairs that she can't get into. But it's not like the second I get home, like we don't talk about porn, especially considering how much pre-production I do from home. So there's that.
Big D: You've got some upcoming projects. Who are some of the gals out there that you scouted that are on your radar screen? That you definitely A) want to write a script for or B) want to be able to see more of them and see if they are interested in shooting for you? Who are on your radar screen now that you want to shoot?
Stormy Daniels: Riley Ray is the girl I was talking about and Baily Blue. I've been shooting her for awhile and she's one of my favorite girls right now. Samantha Ryan has been around but she just recently started doing guys and I'm writing a script for her. I'm pretty excited about that and I love Ashley Fires. I've been trying to shoot her for awhile but like me, she lives someplace else so it's a matter of her getting there and getting her shot. And then of course Samantha Saint, our new contract girl. I'm pretty excited about seeing where she's going to go as far as her acting as well. She's really pretty and the camera loves her, so I just want to see what kind of ideas I can come up with to see where I can take her. And of course there's always my favorite Kaylani, one of my favorite girls. She's the star of the very first movie I directed, so I have a soft spot for her of course.
Big D: Now earlier you mentioned that you know the less established guys are a bit unreliable because Wicked is a condom company and the inherent hazards of shooting these guys in condoms. Who are the guys that are the Stormy Daniels all-star crew when it comes to casting a movie and you definitely want to have these four to five guys in the movie just because you know that they're going to be the top-notch and the ones you can definitely lean on?
Stormy Daniels: Probably one of the biggest blows to my career was when Randy Spears retired because you can always count on Randy. I mean I never saw Randy struggle. There was one time I remember I did a scene with Randy and he was so sick, I thought he was going to throw up on me. That's how sick he was. He was pale and trembling and sweating and definitely ill and I think he had food poisoning. He looked like he was going to die. I was thinking "there's no way he's going to get his dick hard" He did and it was really funny because during the scene he was so delirious. He wanted me to do something particular but it didn't come out right. When the words came out all jumbled up he sounded like he said something like “I want you to moo like a cow.” It was in this movie called Last Night, where he's a detective and supposed to be interrogating me and we were having sex in the interrogation table. He was so sick, he even looked sick. You can tell just by watching and I don't know how he got through it. He was so delirious that we made fun of him for like three years after that. Every time were doing a scene and I would start mooing to make him laugh. He was so delirious during the scene that he didn't remember doing it. We had to show him old footage to prove it to him. We cut it out of the movie obviously but it might be in the behind-the-scenes, I'm not sure. I know he's retired but Xander Corvus is amazing and the girls love him. You get a good scene out of the girls because he's so young and hot. He's got that sexy voice and literally the girls fall in love with him on set. I have to step in and say “all right girls leave Xander alone.” Tommy Pistol is another fantastic actor and performer. He doesn't get nearly enough credit and I am loving him. And of course Brendon Miller is probably the best actor in this business right now. And I'm not just saying that because I trained him and because he's mine but he blew me away and he always does a good scene too. But Tommy and Brendon are a little limited because they have tattoos so I can't put them in every part. The best thing about him is that he has no shame. He will let me do anything. He goes 110% and that's what I need. He did a kick ass fight scene and played a bad guy with 100% seriousness. You need to learn how to ride a motorcycle and make a blow and turn around and willing to make a complete ass out of himself in Divorcees which comes out in March and is probably the funniest movie I have ever done. And him and Tommy Pistol did like a choreographed dance scene. It is so fucking hysterical. So those are probably my go to guys right now and then Tyler Nixon is a new guy that I was super afraid of hiring because he was so young and inexperienced and he's been blowing me away as well.
Big D: So what does it take to be successful and reliable and somebody that you can count on in the industry? Is it more mental or is it just these guys have superior blood flow and circulation? What is the key to to these guys being successful that you can hire?
Stormy Daniels: I have no idea how they do it. I've been around before and it's 4 o'clock in the morning and its freezing and we're in some stupid outfit on top of a rock in like 40 degree weather. I'm shaking so hard I can barely open my leg and then the director says, "bring in the rain machine", and now they're going to get us wet. I'm looking at the guy and I'll say “I don't know how you do that.” And of course you can argue that there's performance enhancing drugs and things like that but I'm telling you, I still don't know how they do it. It's amazing and I do know that it's mental, a lot of it is mental. You have to be able to separate and basically turn off all you little inside voices like, “did I leave the stove on” or “are my parents disappointed in me..”. I don't know how they do it especially when you add in all the extra elements like wardrobe and character and all that stuff. I don't know you have to ask one of them. I can call Brendon in here and you can ask him. I don't know.
Big D: What has developed over the years as a performer and also as a director that you have been the most proud of or you feel was your best work or the best example of who you are? Whether that is on or off camera, just give me an example of some of the previous productions you have done, not only performed in but directed that, if you are going to put it in a time capsule encapsulates what's Stormy all about?
Stormy Daniels: The biggest one that stands out is Operation: Desert Stormy. That's because when I wrote that script originally it was for me to star in and someone else was going to direct it because it was such a huge production. And I didn't really agree on the creative changes that the other director wanted to make so I just wasn't going to shoot it. He suggested I should do it myself. he said, “I totally think you should direct it.” I went in and at that point I've done three day movies that were a fraction of the price of Dessert Stormy. And another person read the script and told him not to let me shoot it because the script was unshootable without making massive changes to it. They were saying “there's no way she can pull it off, it's so big”. I didn't make a single change and not only did I shoot the movie, the movie won and the review for the movie, and I have it framed in my office that this is “the best adult movie ever made.” That movie was I think the turning point for people where they sat up and said, “Oh shit, Stormy can direct!”. I did everything on that movie. The pre-production for that movie was a year. I got an ulcer doing the pre-production. It was a 10 day shoot, 10 sex scenes. It was the first movie that I did that was wardrobed. It wasn't a period piece but it's like a character, like I had to have costumes made and we had explosions and a fight scene and just all this crazy stuff. I just feel like it's where I proved myself. And I did it. There's nothing else I can say about that movie except that it was awesome. Then we did the sequel Operation: Tropical Stormy and I didn't have to fight nearly as hard to get it made because they trust me by then. But it is bigger and better and I did a fall in that movie where I jumped off the roof of a building and landed on the roof of a car and it explodes. I did all my own stunts in Tropical Stormy. I did it in Dessert Stormy too but they weren't nearly as huge. And we have huge gunfire scenes and huge choreography and everything in Tropical Stormy and we went to Hawaii to shoot so Tropical Stormy is the first that I shot on location. And that adds a whole another aspect to it. You have airlines and ground transportation and permits in another state and hotel rooms and I did all these things, all of it myself. No one helped me. I flew to Hawaii alone and scouted all the locations and chartered the yacht and bought everyone's plane tickets and all the hotel rooms and arranged for all the meals and I did all of that myself. Tropical Stormy has animals in it, so I went and worked with the jaguar at the animal actor studios and I did all that stuff. I did all that research for these movies on top of writing the 70 page script by myself. And those are the two that I am most proud of. And most recently my movie Blow, which we did last year. I've been acting long enough I am pretty confident in the acting and sex stuff it should come naturally too. All of that stuff I was confident in and I wanted to grow schematically with Blow. It's not a huge movie but it was shot on location. We did go to Florida to shoot that one as well. So there's all that drama and everything that could possibly go wrong went wrong. I wanted to experience schematically and I changed everything that we normally did. We didn't do that master, the two shot, the signal, that formula that comes kind of standard. What I felt was stagnant for me creatively as a director and we just did all these subtle things and lots of long continuous shots which you don't see a lot of in porn. We did walking shots where the camera followed, as the movie goes on the shots get a little tighter and a little shakier and it's really subtle. The reason I wanted to try that was as the movie gets more intense, more frantic, the shit gets closer to hitting the fan, I wanted to make the audience more uncomfortable, more anxious. It was a lot of experimenting and a lot of my crew had to trust me. The movie didn't win but it did get a nomination for best cinematography, which is the first one of my movies to get that. So I felt a little vindicated with that one too.
Big D: What about when you're in front of the camera and you're performing? Is there a particular scene or particular movie where you think you did your best work as a performer?
Stormy Daniels: I'll go back to Dessert Stormy and Tropical Stormy. Like I said, because I had to do all these stunts and gun fighting and in Dessert Stormy, Randy Spears and I had to go and learn. We had to take dance lessons and all of that stuff. Those two are probably equally as important to me as an director and as an actress because there were so many elements to it, to both that I had to pull off. And yeah that would be that one that I would pick.