Sex Week: James Bartholet – From Hollywood To Porn Valley

Originally posted at The Well Versed

There are a lot of porn stars who have Tinsel Town dreams. But not many mainstream stars have dreams of shagging on camera—and of those that do, even fewer will make the jump. Unless your name is James Bartholet. After a successful mainstream career, Bartholet started out doing non sex roles in porn films before making the jump to performing on screen. TWV sat down with the man who picked up a 2011 AVN award for Best Non-Sex Performance to discuss the transition to adult work, why most guys aren’t cut out for the industry and why porn is more professional than you think.

The Well Versed: You have a long list of credits. For readers who haven’t heard of you, what have people seen you in?

James Bartholet: General Hospital, Sunset with Bruce Willis, Quantum Leap, Head Of The Class, WKRP In Cincinnati. I’ve done a lot of television shows that years later turned into porn parodies. It’s kind of funny.

TWV: With all of the mainstream work that you’ve done, were you concerned about jumping into porn

JB: I’ve gone back and forth between mainstream and adult. I thought about changing my name, but I’m already established and known with my name. With the Internet, nothing is secret, you can’t hide anything. I think porn films are so much more accepted now. I get recognized now more for porn than some of my mainstream work with big stars. I was at a restaurant with Ron Jeremy and we couldn’t eat because people wanted autographs.

TWV: What was it about porn that intrigued you?

JB: I had been dating a woman in the industry. I was an entertainer for many years and I was helping some friends with adult stuff behind the scenes. Somebody asked me on a set if I’d come in and do a [non sex] role. I agreed and found a niche. Here’s a mainstream guy that’s a real actor doing adult movies. I was getting calls every week.

TWV: How did it go from non sex roles to actual performing sex on screen?

JB: In the Saw parody, the director offered me the lead role. He said he wanted it to be comical but he wanted to know if I’d be comfortable performing and told me you can pick the girl. I had a list! I had a lot of friends in the industry giving me advice.

Here’s what you have to do to perform on camera: It’s a mind thing. There are cameramen and light guys and there’s a crew. You have to put that out of your mind. You also have to take care really good of your body. I can’t stress that enough. I’m a middle aged man and I’ve got middle aged guys who come up to me and say, “You’re my role model” because they see these movies with guys with six pack abs and I don’t look like Homer Simpson, but I have a little bit of a pot belly.

TWV: What’s the one thing people tend not to understand about the industry?

JB: A lot of people have a misconception about what happens on set. It’s not sex, drugs and rock n’ roll. It’s all business. Everybody is very professional; you’ve gotta be on time, have your photo ID and be ready to perform. You can’t go out and party the night before and think you’re going to be on a set all day, do dialogue and have sex. I don’t care how old you are, your body is going to wear out.

People don’t give up enough credit for people any these movies. This is a lot of hard work. You don’t have regular sex, you’re in a lot of uncomfortable positions. If you really look at these movies you can see that the performers are stretched like Gumby so we can see what’s happening. The reasons you see a lot of the same people is because these are the people that know how to do that.

People come up to me and say, “I can do that.” I say, “Drop your pants right now, pull out your dick and get it hard.” They say, “No way.” I say, “You probably couldn’t be a porn star.”

TWV: Has anybody actually attempted to do that?

JB: Oh no! Nobody’s ever done anything like that.

TWV: Is it ever difficult to just focus on the girl?

JB: I’ve done a couple of scenes where the girl hasn’t been into it. We’ll stop for a minute and I’ll just talk to her. Have a little bit of a conversation. You go on a date, you talk first. You don’t say “Hey how you doing? Let’s fuck?” You get to know the person and then the chemistry starts happening.

TWV: How has your family reacted to your new career moves?

JB: Family reaction has been mixed. I’ll leave it at that.

If there’s any advice I could give to somebody getting into this, it would be to talk to your family first. Your family will always come first. Don’t alienate your family. Talk to them first; don’t make it a shock. Sometimes people realize once they do one or two movies that they don’t want to do it anymore. People do a few movies and quit, but they’ve alienated everyone. How can you go back?

TWV: The porn industry—like Hollywood and music—has been affected by downloading and tube sites, how do you feel about that and what would you tell somebody that likes to download porn?

JB: Please buy your movies. Not only does downloading affect all of us, it affects you too. The price goes up or people make less movies. What’s the point of making a movie if two or three days after its release somebody will download it and throw it on a torrent for free. You’re not helping anyone. You’re hurting the performers, but the camera guy, the makeup person and the crew because there’s not as much work.

When I first got into this, there was a lot of work and then torrents started popping up like weeds on a nice lawn.

TWV: Are you concerned that the younger group of buyers will have grown up thinking porn is free?

JB: Absolutely. I hope they grow up realizing that downloading is not cool or right. I think we just need to inform and educate people that [illegal downloading] isn’t the way to go.

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One thought on “Sex Week: James Bartholet – From Hollywood To Porn Valley

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