So, if I was to ask you what the mental image you see is when you hear the term pornstar, what would it be? Well, I don’t know about you, but for me; I see Stormy Daniels. She is every bit the term personified. Absolutely gorgeous and one hell of a performer. With Ms.Daniels though, you get a bonus. A creative mind. Writing and directing some fantastic smut that only gets better with each release. I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to talk with her at Exxxotica in Chicago. And let me tell you, she is just as beautiful in person as she is on film, and a complete sweetheart to boot. We talked briefly on Friday and made arrangements to meet up on Saturday for a quiet sit down to talk. After two days of standing at her booth and dealing with the drama of the general public, I wouldn’t have blamed her for canceling. But Ms.Daniels is a professional. At 9:55, as the Exxxotica floor was coming to a close, she met me with a smile and asked if I was ready to talk. We walked down the never ending hallway that connects the convention center to the hotel and quickly found a seat at a table in the restaurant. Welcoming each of my questions with a solid answer, I was able to catch a glimpse into the creative process of one of the industry’s hottest (yes, I mean this in any way you would like to take it) directors.
The Bob: To start off, from what I gathered from reading, you started in the industry in 2000?
Stormy Daniels: I signed with Wicked Pictures September 11, 2002. So, in 2002 I started.
Bob: Okay, and you started directing in 2004?
Bob: Was that always the goal?
Stormy: No. It was not even something I thought about. It was not too long after I started performing that I started writing scripts. Because I always liked to write. It was just usually something I did as a hobby, and at the time I was dating another director who was having trouble coming up with a script that he needed to have done for a movie. And I casually mentioned, “Well, I could write a script.” And he laughed at me. I guess he thought I couldn’t do it. And it really pissed me off at the time. Now I sorta sympathize with him because I had ten people today try to pitch me a script. So I’m pretty sure he felt pretty jaded. He basically scoffed at me and I got all pissed off and took my laptop in the other room and wrote a script. And I sold it to him. And he asked if I could do anymore and I said yes. So that was like in 2002. I sold a bunch of scripts to other directors. And even though we had fantastic directors like Brad Armstrong, Jonathan Morgan, and Michael Raymond…still when they bought a script from me, it was their interpretation of what I wrote. And I just wanted to know if just one time if I could take something from my mind to paper to screen, like exactly. And I bluffed my way in to directing my first movie. I told the owner at Wicked that I knew what I was doing…I didn’t…totally winged it, didn’t think I’d ever do it again. I just wanted to see if I could do it. Didn’t really think much past like, “Hey, I just wanna know if I can do this.” Halfway through the first day I was standing on the top of the staircase directing a scene and I was like, “This is what I’m supposed to be doing.” It was like that moment when you’re like, “Oh, I found my place.” And that movie, they waited for it to come out and see that I didn’t fuck it up, and they imediatley added directing to my contract. So I’ve been with Wicked since 2002, so thirteen years and I’ve been directing for over eleven.
Bob: Going with the scripts, your films are really well thought out and very entertaining, to the point that you almost don’t even need the sex.
Stormy: That’s my formula. I say to myself when I write it and then again as I’m shooting, if I were to take out all the sex scenes, would the movie still A, make sense; and B, be entertaining? Is it going to win any Acadamy Awards? No. But will it still be good? And then if I were to take out the script, would the sex still be sexy? And if I can’t answer yes to both of those, then I start over.
Bob: Watching Pretty Dangerous, it’s the most recent one I’ve watched, that’s why it’s stuck in my head. That was one of those that as I’m watching it, you could almost see that on the big screen in the theater.
Stormy: Cool. That’s what I was hoping for.
Bob: With the opening, with all the gun fire and I was like, this is gonna be a great movie…and it was.
Stormy: Cool. Thank you.
Bob: What’s, I guess you kinda answered that, but what’s the creative process like for you? From idea to…
Stormy: Short and intense. Like if I try to work on something over a period of a few days or weeks, it just disintegrates. I have to sit down and I have to write it and most of my ideas come from, even if it’s just a spark or a seed, starts with something that’s either happened to me in real life, or someone I know. And then I can just build around it. I also usually know who I’m shooting and I write for that person. Like I said, it can almost be, for instance, When It Comes To You, I don’t know if you’ve seen that one, but…A lot of people didn’t like that movie. But I think it’s because it’s kinda raw. That story is…it’s something that exactly happened to me, all the way through. Like even the dialogue. And if the person ever sees it, I’m gonna be in trouble. Cause it’s like, it’s that recognizable. Like from start to finish. And then, you know, some other movies I’ve done just came from an idea. The movie, several years ago, I did a movie called Bound, and I got the idea from one line in an Eagles song. And I built an entire movie around one sentence of a song. Yeah, so it can come from anywhere, but I have to do it all at once. I usually write my scripts in, not one sitting but two days. And I hand write everything first. Yeah. Everyone thinks I’m crazy, but it’s the only way I can do it.
Bob: Can you share anything that’s upcoming, that might be coming out?
Stormy: My next release is a movie called Impulse, which I’m pretty proud of, it’s really cool. I play the lead as well. It’s about a woman, she’s happily married, it’s a very happily married couple, and going to dinner one night, there’s a car accident. And she has a head injury and basically she loses impulse control. She starts acting crazy and it manifests in many different ways and one of which just happens to be sexually, because after all, we are making a porno. I’m really happy with the way it turned out both sexually and acting-wise. I love to do stunts and do different things, and I shot my very first car crash in that movie and I did my own stunts and there’s a scene where I go through the windshield and it’s so cool. Like, I’m so excited about it.
Bob: I can’t wait to see this.
Stormy: It doesn’t look like something that would be in an adult movie at all. It’s that good. I’m so proud of myself and I don’t care if I’m bragging, because it’s awesome. And then next week I’m actually shooting a big budget western. It’s over ten days and it’s a movie that I’ve wanted to do for almost ten years because I’ve always wanted to do a movie with horses and guns, because I always say I ride and I’m finally doing it. I’m so excited about that. I don’t think I’ve ever been more excited about a movie in my entire career.
Bob: I’ve been following your tweets on that and I’m looking forward to this one. This actually leads me to my next question. Outside of adult, you train horses. Is that, for lack of a better term, an exit strategy? Something for later?
Stormy: No. I’ll never make money in horses. I’m not that good. It’s just a really expensive hobby. I should have picked heroin instead. It’s safer and cheaper. (laughs)
Bob: Fair enough.
Stormy: But I do three day eventing, cross country jumping and show jumping and it’s just, I’ve always loved horses and luckily I have a job that affords me to be able to do that. I have plans to start a horse rescue to get horses off the race track and retrain them for new careers. Because most horses that come off the track end up going to slaughter in Mexico. And it’s just…if I can just save a few at a time and retrain them…because I actually own two rescue horses that have gone on to be very successful eventers. And my very first horse was an ex-racehorse, so I have kind of a soft spot for them. So I would like to do that, but I’m not doing it as a career.
Bob: Okay. I know we talked about this a little bit yesterday; not really talked about it, but hinted on it. As a director, how does piracy affect you.
Stormy: In the most awful ways possible.
Bob: I know, like, for the studio it’s one thing, for performers is another thing. Granted, you’re a performer as well.
Stormy: Right. Like how specifically as directing. Specifically as a director, it affects my budget. The more people steal, the less money the studio makes. The less money the studio makes, the less money they can give me to make a good movie. So whereas, and I’m just making up numbers here, whereas an average movie they had no problem giving me fifty thousand for it, now there’s no way they’re going to recoup that, so now they’ll give me thirty. But the consumer expects the movie to be just as good. But I’m working with a fraction of the budget, which means a fraction of the time and I can’t hire as many top performers in one movie so you’re gonna have like maybe one huge star and a bunch of…I don’t wanna say crap; but, you know, you get what you pay for. And it’s very frustrating to make something that’s the quality that you’ve come to expect from Wicked and the quality that I expect from myself with people that are not that quality. And that’s probably the most frustrating part, speaking specifically as a director.
Bob: Okay. Okay. I wanna ask you about your tattoos. Since this is Inked Angels…the one across your abdomen…
Stormy: Do you know how many tattoos I have?
Stormy: There’s five. (a brief pause as we all mentally count) Sorry, there’s six. I always forget about the one in my mouth.
Bob: I forgot about that one. So, there’s a clock. Is the time specific?
Stormy: It’s the time my daughter was born.
Bob: That was my theory.
Stormy: The flowers, there’s a magnolia for Louisiana, cause that’s where I’m from. There’s a rose for love. And then the lily on the other side is an amaryllis, and that’s for a boy. And the clock is the time my daughter was born.
Bob: Fair enough.
Stormy: And then the tiara (right wrist) is for princess. A heart with drumsticks through it (left wrist), my husband is a drummer. Then the one in my mouth and then that one (inside finger).
Bob: I did not know about that one.
Stormy: It’s a friendship tattoo, there’s a bunch of us that have it.
Bob: Okay, fair enough. Well, that’s what I’ve got written down, but since you mentioned Louisiana, I’m actually from Louisiana, so, well kind of. I claim it. Are you and LSU fan?
Bob: Saints fan?
Bob: That’s all that matters.
Stormy: Fuck the Cowboys!
Bob: Thank you.
Stormy: I live in Dallas so everybody assumes, and I’m like “No!”
Bob: Nice. So just to wrap up, where can we find you online?
Bob: Is there anything you wanna close with? Anything you wanna say?
Stormy: Thanks to those who buy my movies because I really, really love writing and directing. And I can’t handle it if they cut my budgets anymore. I won’t be able to do what I do. I’ll have to walk away because I refuse to make shit products. And the way it’s going, I’m going to have to make shit products. And I don’t want to do that.
Stormy: They’re only hurting themselves.