On the Set: Switching Things Up for the 'Emma Marx: Evolved'

This story originally appeared in the September 2017 issue of AVN magazine. Click here to see the digital edition. Pictured above, Violet Starr and Penny Pax.

It all started out as a send-up of the world-famous BDSM novel Fifty Shades of Grey, but New Sensations’ in-house directors Jacky St. James and Eddie Powell soon realized that they had a potential goldmine in the Emma Marx character—and now, with the fourth volume in the series soon to be released, the character evolution that Emma goes through comes full circle.

Talking about The Submission of Emma Marx IV: Evolved, St. James explained, “This is about Emma’s road to becoming a dominant, and sort of abandoning her life as a submissive and moving on from that to—I don’t want to say ‘the new Emma,’ but the new empowered prodigy, I guess you could say.” St. James is this volume’s sole director, though Powell and a couple of others provide the same outstanding camera work the series is known for.

Penny Pax reprises the Emma Marx role, and she described the character St. James has created for her as “incredible.”

“Emma’s having more experiences and different interactions with not so many males this time,” Penny said. “Here, she has a female interest; not a love interest per se, but there’s definitely a connection between them. Violet Starr plays Mariah, the character that comes across Emma and wants to be schooled in BDSM, and Emma happily obliges.”

St. James gave a bit more detail.

“Basically, Emma’s living with her sister Naudia, played by Riley Reid, and Violet Starr—Mariah—moves in as well,” she explained. “When Emma meets Mariah, Mariah is doing all these kinky things but she doesn’t really know anything about BDSM; she’s sort of like the kind of girl that’s like, ‘Handcuffs! I’m a bad girl!’ so Emma takes her under her wing and really teaches her about how to be a true submissive and what that really means. It’s fun.”

“Mariah’s very spunky, sassy; she thinks she’s a badass but she’s not,” Violet said of her character. “She and Emma met together because they were rooming together, and they didn’t really see each other in the house at first, but then some things happen that are very awkward and funny and they end up meeting in a very uncomfortable, very vulnerable way, and it’s cool. It was a lot of fun to see it all come together.”

On the day AVN was invited to the set, the action took place in an actual dungeon, complete with a giant St. Andrew’s Cross, though St. James provided the myriad whips, straps and paddles that line the walls.

As we enter, Violet is sitting in a chair in the center of the room, blindfolded, her hands tied behind her, as a series of men, including her eventual paramour, Jay Smooth, whip, smack and fondle her, as Penny stands by, directing much of the action. But what’s particularly fascinating is how it’s being shot. Powell is the main videographer, and he captures the action from every angle, often calling on the performers to repeat one move or another just so he can record it from below, over someone’s shoulder, or in a close two-shot. That sort of attention to detail is a hallmark of seasoned BDSM practitioners, and is part of why the series has been so successful.

The next action has Violet placed in a hanging leather strap cage, with Penny outside, taunting her, whipping her, poking her, all to let her know who’s the boss.

In the final encounter we observe, Violet is tied to the St. Andrew’s Cross, with Penny again applying a whip while instructing Violet on how to be submissive. The action seems completely realistic, with Violet giving just the right responses to Emma’s orders, though nothing quite seems to satisfy the newly empowered dominant.

According to St. James, viewers will also get to see several couplings and a threeway.

“There’s one sex act where Mariah gets to choose who she wants; there’s a scene between Riley Reid and ... Van Wylde, where it’s a hate-fuck scene; and then Penny has a scene that marks her final moment as a true submissive before she moves into her role as a dominant: a d.p. with John Strong and Mick Blue. And then Violet’s character Mariah has just a standard [boy/girl] sex scene ... how the ‘normal’ couples think BDSM is, which is like a bunch of spanking and handcuffs and they’re not really getting what it’s real about. They don’t feel it on the inside.”

“I really appreciate everyone on set; it’s like so amazing and so much fun,” Violet said just after being released from the hanging cage. “And even here today, it’s like not even work. It’s super-awesome; everybody’s laughing and are laid back, and it’s for the fun of it. It’s awesome.”

Of course, not a lot of that fun will show up on the DVD (unless some behind-the-scenes footage is included), but what viewers will see is a fine addition to the Emma Marx saga.

The Submission of Emma Marx IV: Evolved will be released September 18. Click http://promo.newsensations.com/product_info.php?products_id=3484 to see a trailer.

Pictured below, Violet Starr and Jay Smooth