Meet Rikki Braun
Wicked Pictures' latest contract director Rikki Braun - shown above on the left with his AVN Hall of Famer dad Axel Braun - has his porn directorial debut out now. It is a star showcase starring Axel Braun Productions contract star Riley Steele: "Riley Goes Gonzo 2". More Wicked Pictures features are very likely on the way from the young filmmaker and with Rikki coming from a line of pornographers - his grandfather was Golden Age legendary director Lasse Braun - well, it ought to be interesting to see how his work looks.
Congrats on being Wicked Pictures' newest director! How was directing your first feature for the company?
"Thank you! It was awesome, I was super prepared and yet nervous as hell… but it really went great, and I am very happy with the way it came out. I’m putting the final touches on the editing right now, doing some color grading, and composing the theme song. I was just telling my dad that I have barely slept since we wrapped, and he replied 'Welcome to my world, son'."
What other movies of your dad's did you work on before taking this big step? What did you learn from being a part of those productions?
"The first of my dad’s movie where I helped out as a PA was 'Superman XXX' back in 2010. I also had a cameo sitting next to Ryan Driller on the plane in the first scene of the movie, and then I worked as assistant director on a bunch of his other projects, including 'Batman v Superman XXX' and 'Peter Pan XXX'. I started shooting camera on 'Cruise Control', the first showcase he did for Carter Cruise when she was under contract with him, and then again on 'Supergirl XXX'. Filmmaking is in itself a continuous learning experience, but one thing I definitely learned from being on set with my dad is to treat each project as if it’s the most important thing in the world. Prepare meticulously. Plan every shot, every camera move. And never, ever settle for a less than perfect take."
You are a graduate of NYU's film school. There are people who don't look at adult as being a medium worthy of someone with that kind of education. How would you respond to that?
"The stereotype that people who work in porn are talentless is an old misconception. There are plenty of tremendously talented people in the adult industry, and many of them often work in mainstream as well. Look, my father went to Columbia, my grandfather to the Italian Academy of Dramatic Arts… directing porn was a choice for both of them, not a necessity, and I am privileged enough to be in the same position. So I’m sure I’ll collect my fair share of haters for many reasons, but you know what? I’m just happy that I have the opportunity to express myself in this medium and I feel absolutely zero stigma for it."
Your grandfather Lasse Braun was a legendary pornographer and you also have your father Axel Braun and his reputation for excellence in your life. What is it like creating movies with those strong familial influences on you?
"More exciting than intimidating, actually. Before we started shooting 'Exposed' my dad had told me that he was gonna be there to hold my hand throughout the whole shoot, which was a huge safety net for me, but then as soon as we got on set he pulled me aside and said: 'Look, I’ll be watching, but I will only interfere if you ask me for advice or if I see something going wrong. Other than that, you are on your own, kid. I want this to be your movie and I know you’re ready, so show me what you got!' So I had a moment of panic, like, 'Oh shit!' but then the adrenaline kicked in and it was an amazing feeling. Suddenly I was doing a million things at once, and I felt completely in control. We had a bunch of extras, dolly shots, complicated setups, and a lot of heavy dialogue… it went great and it was an incredibly exhilarating experience. At the end of day one, my dad came up to me and told me 'You did great. Really, I’m impressed. Very proud of you,' and if you know my father, he doesn’t really throw out compliments!"
Asa Akira stars in your first feature "Exposed". How was she to work with? Have you worked with other Wicked Girls yet?
"I love Asa! I’ve known her for years and I always thought she was an amazing performer, but I had no idea how incredible an actress she is. She absolutely shines in this role. I actually had trouble editing because each take was different and they were all so good that most of the time I didn’t know which one to pick. I haven’t worked with Stormy Daniels, but I shot jessica drake on 'Supergirl XXX,' and she was absolutely terrific! Classy, sexy, committed... getting to direct her someday is absolutely one of my goals."
What kind of stories do you most want to tell with your work? Will you be focusing on story-driven features like "Exposed" or will parodies or all-sex movies be coming from you as well?
"I’d like to try my hand at as many different genres as possible, and once I find one that I feel I can express my creativity better and have the most fun with, I’ll probably focus on that. I actually just wrapped “Riley Goes Gonzo 2”, the new Riley Steele showcase for Axel Braun Productions, and that was pure gonzo, hard and dirty. Another amazing experience, Riley is one of the last true superstars, and Abella Danger was in it. It was awesome!"
What do you think makes Wicked Pictures such a special, successful production company?
"Steve Orenstein’s leadership, his honesty, and his vision. He built the company from the ground up, and he has always been committed to excellence, quality, and respect for the performers… that’s what Wicked stands for, and I am beyond proud to be associated with that."
What kind of look to you want your movies to have?
"'Exposed' has dark, highly saturated, dramatic tones, while 'Riley Goes Gonzo 2' is bright and airy. I like to experiment with different looks for each project, as long as I can manage to make them look good."
What other projects of yours should fans be on the lookout for?
"Well, for now, let’s see how these two come out. At this stage, nobody knows yet if I’m any good, or if I totally suck. I’m not sure I know myself LOL."
Is there anything you would like to say to your soon-to-be fans here at Fleshbot?
"I’m just stoked that I had such a warm welcome in the industry! When the press release for 'Exposed' went out I gained like 35,000 followers overnight. Crazy! I’m just gonna try my best not let them down... and not to fuck up the family name. :)"
All of the images here appear courtesy of Wicked Pictures. Click right here to pick up "Riley Goes Gonzo 2" on DVD!