Behind the Scenes: James Darling by Stoya
How James Darling's notorious Unicorn Gangbang came to be.
This article is provided free of charge. Sometimes we make an issue item free because we feel the message is more important than the commerce. Enjoy!
How does a Unicorn Gangbang video get started in the first place? Where did the idea come from?
The Unicorn Gangbang first began as a joke while trying to imagine the most extreme and over the top scenario I could make into a birthday porn scene. I’ve always been drawn to unicorns as symbol of innocence, divinity and their connection to childlike wonder in the human imagination. Unicorns are often connected to queerness, especially as beings that should not or could not exist, and I have often related to them. I think sometimes especially as a trans person, my existence can occupy a type of mythology in cis people's understanding of what is possible with bodies, desire and sexuality. My hope when I created this film was that it would inspire viewers to expand their own fantasies and encourage porn to be more fun and silly.
How was the production? Was it stressful? As fun as it looked? Did you have a producer or AD?
The production was pretty ambitious but fun. I had the help of another camera person and photographer on set. Unicorn Gangbang was very early into my career directing and I was very much learning as I went along. It was filmed on a mini dv camcorder inside of a bounce castle rental. The audio and video were pretty rough and surreal and so it felt more appropriate for it to become more of an experimental music video than a traditional porn scene. Unicorn Gangbang also came at a point in my life when I felt like I could create anything I wanted and it didn’t matter to me whether it was marketable or not and so I was less afraid to take risks. It was definitely a challenge to direct people wearing rubber unicorn masks that were very difficult to see out of, keep balanced on what was essentially a very large moving balloon, and be the person getting impaled by four unicorns. Because having a conventional cumshot wasn't necessary, I ended the scene in a glitter ejaculation rather than a fluid exchange. Cleaning up all the glitter and lube the next morning before the rental company came to pick it up was probably the most challenging part of the shoot though!
Is your unicorn gangbang the wildest thing you've done on video?
I would say that it was definitely the most imaginative!
You've been doing other work outside of porn for a while, but--at least from Instagram--it looks like you still dabble. What's your relationship to the adult industry now?
While I've taken a break from pursuing adult industry work full time, new opportunities continue to present themselves. I think it’s impossible for me to completely separate eroticism from all of my creative work, it’s been such an integral part of my process and identity. Now I get to pursue opportunities that seem like fun or inspire me in some way, and I definitely have more exciting projects on the way. Currently you can find some of my films on Pink Label and follow what I’m up to on Twitter.
What do you want to see from the queer and experimental porn genres in the future? Creatively and/or with regards to process.
I would encourage more people to make porn that is playful, clever and interesting. I also wish that existing online platforms would stop punishing creators for making erotic works, or even showing queer bodies or sex is a risk to getting accounts shut down. I'm really hoping better solutions come along soon that will allow more people to express whatever they need to without fear of censorship. I'm also very excited for the possibilities of this publication for that exact reason.
One last question--will you ever revisit unicorns? Maybe for Halloween?
I still have the original masks and would love to find a new life for them. If I had the resources, I would love a chance to flesh out the unicorn gangbang into a feature length film. I’m sure it won’t be the last time I play with unicorns.