Bree Mills Talks Pretty Dirty
Creative mind behind sensational studios Girlsway and Pretty Dirty, director Bree Mills has set her movies and overall brand to an impressive standard. Every element involved in Mills' finished product, from the plot, to the performers, to the camerawork, to the levels and complexities of the taboo involved, is intentional and evident in the nonstop successes of Mills' movies and scenes. In the single year since Pretty Dirty's inception, the new imprint from Gamma received an impressive five AVN Award nominations, and it's no surprise why. Bree Mills spoke to HotMovies about Pretty Dirty's philosophy behind taboo content, what inspires Mills' writing process, and why her studio is called the "Law & Order of Porn."
HM: The taboo genre and “faux-cest” have been incredibly popular in recent years. This trend does not seem to be stopping, as many fetishes have ebbed and flowed within adult entertainment. What is Pretty Dirty’s goal within this market?
BM: My vision for the Pretty Dirty brand is to tell taboo stories the way fans have always fantasized about but were unable to find in existing content. The seriousness with which we present these fantasies, our understanding of the psychological drivers of taboo, and our creative ability to push the line will be what set us apart. I want fans to be equally shocked and aroused.
Many of Pretty Dirty’s recurring themes involve family dynamics, and more intricate plots twists than many other taboo films, including games of power and old family grudges. What kinds of stories do you want to tell?
The new episodes I’m writing and directing (with my creative partner in this project Craven Moorehead) are mostly focused around family power dynamics, teen sexuality stories, and dysfunctional relationships. And I plan to put my signature twists and fucked up intricacies into all of them!
Pretty Dirty has written about a lot of sexually exciting realistic situations gone wrong. From Christian clairvoyance, sexual manipulation, to undesirable (and very persuasive) cab drivers, what type of narratives will Pretty Dirty stay away from?
That’s what I love the most about taboo… the fact that you can take something mundane on the surface and make it very outrageous. So, I’m keeping my mind open to different narratives that I think will tell an interesting or perverse story. But, at the same time, I’m respectful of the legal and ethical guidelines we’ve put in place for ourselves and there are certain lines I won’t cross – particularly in terms of consent or violence.
Indirect Relations pushes the boundaries of family-fantasy porn by doing away with the step-relation element. It reminds us of B. Skow’s Daddy’s Girls. Do you think that pornographers will eventually run out of boundaries to push?
I have a feeling pornographers will always find a way to be creative.
Many writers get their ideas from current events. What inspires your writing?
For Pretty Dirty, I get inspired a lot by what I read on erotica forums and what I see popping up in my news feed. I’ve also been watching a lot of hentai lately, since they always have the most sordid stories!
As creative and edgy as these narratives are, the overall look of Pretty Dirty has been consistently eerie and mysterious in tone. Films like Sugar Babies, and the recent Indirect Relations scene are reminiscent of old film noir movies. What directors are you working with and what are some of your aesthetic inspirations for these films?
We pay a lot of homage to crime dramas and thrillers in the new episodes of Pretty Dirty, which are directed by Craven and myself along with the Gamma Films core crew, so there is quite a lot of influence coming from this style of filmmaking. For example, the mix of handheld and cinematic camerawork we used in Indirect Relations is directly inspired from the 80s primetime drama, In the Heat of the Night which was one of the first TV shows to employ that style of cinematography to give a grittier feel to the action and dialogue. We call ourselves the “Law & Order of Porn” for a reason!
You identify as a lesbian, but Pretty Dirty focuses on hetero relationships. How do your life experiences and your perspective influence how you write male characters?
I often get comments about the fact that I write male characters very differently than other pornographers and that I tend to spend more time on their character development than you normally see in an adult film. It’s an interesting observation because it’s not something I consciously do. And I’m not sure if it has anything to do with my own sexuality but perhaps, in a way, it does. I just find them to be equally interesting as characters, particularly given the subject matter I tackle. Plus, I love writing villains and most of my guys are either straight-up villains or very conflicted anti-heroes!
You say that you want your audience to be “equally shocked and aroused.” How do you think that shock, fear, outrage, disgust, etc. effects how people experience sexual arousal?
A big part about what makes porn so titillating is the fact that you’re watching something you probably shouldn’t be seeing… either a sex act or a situation that goes beyond what you normally find in real life. This is especially true for taboo fans. The whole definition of taboo is something that is forbidden by social standards. So, it should be shocking when you actually get to see it played out before you. I’m just trying to make good on that with what Pretty Dirty produces!
How do you go about casting your movies? Obviously acting ability and attractiveness in the women plays a part of your decision making process, but what do you look for in a male performer? Are there any guys who you prefer to work with?
I am very specific in who I want for each role and, most often, write characters with specific performers in mind. I tend to look at both male and female performers the same way: their performance ability, their acting skills, their look, their personality, and their reputation with audiences. Usually, if I’ve had a good experience with you on set, I’ll keep you in my rolodex for life!
One genre that is noticeably missing from Pretty Dirty’s oeuvre is interracial. It’s certainly been a controversial topic in the industry in recent years, one that we’ve discussed with folks in previous interviews. Do you have any plans to explore this genre in the future?
We have shot several performers of color already and will continue to do so in the future… but I don’t really feel the “interracial” label applies to our content. I know it’s a strong genre but it’s not something I plan to mix with our taboo episodes. If I cast someone, it’ll be based on the characteristics described above much more than the color of their skin.
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