When I was just starting out in the biz, I was doing quite a lot a videos and films that required some acting on my part. I was working with Paul Thomas and Bud Lee quite a bit for Vivid features. The stories were mini movies. Longer than normal scripts, the roles requiring acting from both the actors and actresses. Not just saying the lines correctly or with ‘emotion’, but with some apparent structure to the character on paper in the skin of the performer. Did I lose you? Yup me too.
Anyway, simply said, I was doing films geared for couples. Love stories, revenge stories, mysteries, who dunnit’s, mistaken identities,etc. Bud Lee like to say “Babe, there are 20 stories in writing and we’ve shot each of them 500 times!” He didn’t actually call me babe, that was his “Porn Director” impression he would do on set for laughs.
One day, I get a call from Jim South at World Modeling (this was the senior, most reading this may not even have met him). Back then, there were two agencies only, Jim’s and Reb’s ( that’s a topic for another post).
The phone call would be something like this (insert Texas drawl between puffs on Salem cigarettes) “Steven, I need you to meet with a gentleman by the name of John Leslie tomorrow for a role. Now before you say anything let me tell you something. This guy is one of the best actors ever in porn and you remind me a lot of him so I told him to take a look at you for this film. You’re not as good looking but that’s not a problem,” (Jim loved to tell me I wasn’t good looking) “But he’s doing a big film and he needs a serious actor who can carry the film. Are you interested?”
I said yes and met with John the next day at his hotel room on Sepulvada Blvd. Some puke green hotel I remember, maybe it was Van Nuys Blvd. Shit, it doesn’t matter.
The following AVN Awards (1995), I had my first best lead actor in a film nomination among other nominations. The film, “Dogwalker”, had many noms and won best film. I think Christina Angel and I won for best couples sex scene. I lost the acting award to either Buck Adams or Mike Horner, I don’t recall. I did however win the XRCO Award for the role in Dogwalker.
After that, I had more work than I could handle. It eventually led to me being the first guy ever to sign an exclusive contract in the business, with Vivid Video.
I tell you what happened in my first meeting with John in another post. And the behind the scenes stories of the “Dogwalker” shoot.
To this day, I still get people coming up to me and saying “I fucking loved you in Dogwalker”.
John Leslie changed my life.