Writer/director Justin Kelly gets his inspiration from true stories.
His first feature-length film, “I am Michael,” is based on the New York Times Magazine piece, “My ex-gay friend,” by Benoit Denizet-Lewis, about a gay rights advocate (played by James Franco) who renounces his homosexuality after finding God.
His latest project, “King Cobra,” tells the story of the murder of gay porn mogul Bryan Kocis (Christian Slater) over a contract dispute with his young talent, the porn star Brent Corrigan (Garrett Clayton). James Franco, who also produced the film, costars with Keegan Allen as cash-strapped porn producers Joe and Harlow, who attempt to poach Corrigan.
We spoke with the 38-year-old director about writing unstereotypical gay characters, taking pointers from “Boogie Nights” and how the campy aesthetic is more fun. “King Cobra” is in theaters Friday.
What drew you to the project?
Initially, I read about the story and found it wildly fascinating and wanted to understand why a gay pornographer was murdered over his star’s contract. The more I read about each character, the more I thought it would make for a really unique film, you know, different kinds of gay characters and just exploring why these particular four people did what they did.