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Hollywood takes a look at porn

”Boogie Nights,” ”The People vs. Larry Flynt,” and more are heading to theaters as skin-flicks go mainstream

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So this is what happens when you shut down the adult theaters in Times Square — pornography invades mainstream culture. All of a sudden, Hollywood is delving into the dark world of the skin-flick industry with a veritable orgy of high-profile films. Check out these entries in the XXX files:

The People vs. Larry Flynt Woody Harrelson, Courtney Love, and Babe‘s James Cromwell star in director Milos Forman’s drama, which follows the notorious Hustler publisher and porn producer from the backwoods of Kentucky to the courtrooms of Washington. Columbia Pictures will release Flynt Dec. 27.

Boogie Nights Writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson, 26, lured Julianne Moore and Burt Reynolds to New Line’s black comedy, set in the ’70s, about a young nightclub employee (Mark Wahlberg) recruited into the porn industry. Currently shooting, Nights is scheduled for a June 1997 release.

The Mitchell Brothers This drama about porn kingpins Jim and Artie Mitchell, who produced Behind the Green Door with former Ivory Snow girl Marilyn Chambers, is now in development at Robert De Niro’s Tribeca Productions. A recent script reading attracted Sean Penn, who’s considering directing, as well as potential stars Ashley Judd (who read Chambers’ role), Harrelson, Matthew McConaughey, and Leonardo DiCaprio.

Good Vibrations Michael York stars in this comedy, not yet attached to a studio, about the sex industry, with Beverly D’Angelo as a porn star and Erasure lead singer Andy Bell as a director.

Linda Lovelace Producer Brian Grazer (Apollo 13) is developing an as-yet-untitled film about the adult-film pioneer’s stormy relationship with her manager Chuck Traynor, who Lovelace claims took her hostage and forced her to star in the classic Deep Throat. (Traynor says Lovelace volunteered for the role.)

Obviously, porn is hot (so to speak). ”It’s just a fascinating subject,” says Flynt costar Cromwell, who plays disgraced banker and Flynt persecutor Charles Keating. ”The issue is certainly still with us, and it pushes a lot of buttons.” Others see porn as the latest attempt to loosen moviegoers’ collars. ”People are so jaded,” says Janet Yang, who’s producing Flynt with Oliver Stone. ”We know it’s not going to shock people anymore [just] to see nudity.” For their part, studios seem unconcerned about the recent commercial failures of sexually explicit films. ”Showgirls was a film that was about titillation and nudity,” says Robert Levin, president of Worldwide Marketing for Columbia TriStar. ”That isn’t [Flynt]. To peruse the pages of Hustler does not give you any indication of what this movie is about.”

Nevertheless, get ready for some raw footage. In Flynt, audiences will see a simulated Hustler photo shoot, as well as a nude Love, who plays stripper Althea Leasure. Boogie Nights‘ script calls for full-frontal nudity, both male and female. And Good Vibrations will vividly expose the sex-toy biz, though first-time feature director Len Richmond admits: ”I’m a little worried about showing all those rubber penises. The ratings board is supposedly very sensitive about that.”