This article originally ran as the cover story of the April 2017 issue of AVN magazine. Click here to see the digital edition.
Fetish. Masculinity. Primal urges. Power play. Pushing boundaries. Testing limits. These are all words that immediately come to Nick Foxx’s mind when thinking of Skuff, the iconic series from Hot House that began with Downright Dirty in 1999.
“You will find all of these things in every scene,” says the director. “I think Skuff was so successful in its time because Hot House was introducing fetish to mainstream in a big way. With Hot House’s video production value and killer quality photos, they really played an important role in the industry moving fetish to the main stage.”
The first four installments were directed by founder Steven Scarborough, with the original followed by Downright Filthy in 2003, Downright Wrong in 2005 and Downright Fierce in 2009. With Falcon Studios Group reviving the Falcon Spokes line as part of the studio’s 45th anniversary celebration, it made sense to join the party. Foxx helmed the two-part Rough Trade to resurrect the hit series.
“Talking to Sister Roma, a key player in the history of Hot House, and [President] Tim Valenti, we thought it would be a wise idea to look back on a great success for the company and bring it to the future of Hot House,” Foxx says. “Have me put my take on the line, my take on mainstream fetish and make something incredible and sexy for our viewers new and old.”
He notes that he recently visited the series before filming to inspire his new vision.
“I loved the styling, lighting, wardrobe and the action. The first of the line, Skuff: Downright Dirty, was my main inspiration for the continuation. I’m a big Doug Jeffries fan, and thought his scene with the fog and billowing light coming into the foreground from the background was very sexy. The other scene that really stuck out was with Kyle McKenna wearing tighty whities with ‘Fuck Here’ written in Sharpie. Kyle Reardon rips them apart and goes to town; that really made an impact. Very key inspiration I was able to use,” says Foxx.
“I only watched that first movie because I didn’t want to subconsciously use influence from too many scenes. I needed it to really be mine. I wanted to get a feel for the heart of the first movie—and feel the excitement Steven Scarborough must have felt filming it. That was the inspiration I wanted to take away.”
He notes that getting Rough Trade off the ground took a group effort. Once the set and cast was done, he talked to each model about their turn-ons and limits. They choreographed scenes from there with specific kink and fetish in mind.
“It’s how the scenes were so authentic. The guys weren’t ever going through the motions, they were really into it. The editing style was important to me, too. I wanted to really enhance the color of the scenes and make them stand out from anything else that has been filmed recently. The reds and blues pop brilliantly, the smoke and highlights are brilliant. That, mixed with the awesome fucking, really was the whole package for me.”
Foxx says that setting the stage for the film was vital: Creating a modern, visually appealing sex space to set the tone for the movie provided the roots of the film. Selecting performers who were open to fetish—and had personal ties in leather and gear—worked best for him during casting.
“They also had to have that Hot House ‘wow’ factor. They are all a total wet dream. The wardrobe was a key factor of the film. Rough Trade Gear LA is my favorite modern gear supplier. They put their modern twist on classic leather, and I have that inspiration for my scenes. The whole idea was to create something new and exciting from classic roots.”
It was also fitting that Foxx was able to draw upon the experience of two studio vets to help keep the series cohesive.
“The best way for me to pay homage to the Skuff line was to keep it as dark, sexy and as exciting as possible. Working with David Hall and Scott Caswell was essential to this film. They are Hot House’s set designer and lighting technician from the beginning. With our combined vision, we really exceeded the challenge.
“The outstanding scene with Micah Brandt and Jordan [from Part 2] is my most obvious homage made to the franchise. A setup taken from the first Skuff film, with my twist, was my nod to the franchise. To make it mine, my performers go faster, fuck harder, sweat more and are relentlessly going at each other from beginning to end. I didn’t want to just meet the energy of the franchise, I wanted to blow it away. And I can safely say in every scene, in every shot, the guys are doing just that.”
Foxx’s standout memories from filming include Adam Champ stroking his massive cock, getting his head shaved by Johnny V, seeing Sebastian Kross in all white leather, having Brandt “come uncontrollably” multiple times in both of his scenes and seeing Jimmy Durano (“the sweetest person in the world”) find his dom side handling Derek Bolt.
“Every day on set was super fun for everyone,” Foxx says. “The Skuff line will definitely continue! I’m filming the next one in a few months. I’m also hoping to make The Trainer as a new franchise. I’ll be filming the second installment of that toward the end of the year. I’m super stoked on it! Always a good balance of light and dark for success.”
Above, clockwise from top left, Jimmy Durano, Johnny V., Mikoah Kan, Jordan, Sebastian Kross and Adam Bryant.