Re-Reintroducing The Indefatigable Traci Lords

Lords of The Rings: Traci Lords just keeps going, and in photos from July 2008, she continues to thrive and reinvent.  The third photo is from her new film "Zack And Miri Make A Porno", in which she plays Bubbles, a porn star.  The film, directed by Kevin Smith, opens on Halloween across the U.S. and Canada.  (First two photos: ©Traci Lords.  Last photo: Weinstein Company)

By Omar P.L. Moore/The Popcorn Reel
October 23, 2008                   

LOS ANGELES, California --

People talk about Madonna.  People talk about Vanessa Williams.  People talk about Tina Turner.

All three have shrewdly reinvented their personas and careers over the years and are thriving.  All three have endured divorces and triumphed in spite of controversy, abuse or ridicule, but there's another American star who has had as phenomenal a set of nine lives and continual reincarnation as the trio of women above.

Traci Lords.

And it's hard to believe that Ms. Lords is now forty -- she scarcely looks in her mid-thirties. 

Still, forty is young, and Ms. Lords has been around -- "excuse the pun" -- words she would repeatedly say when mentioning film projects with titles that have sexual connotations and evocations of her past career.  Married for more than seven years to Jeff Lee (they've been together for a total of 12), a man whom she says patiently and persistently pursued her over several years -- and the mother of a son who turned one year old earlier this month, Traci Lords is more than two decades removed from the pornography stardom of the mid-1980's -- and, as she has made clear over the years, doesn't miss that turbulent period in her life even remotely. 

In the intervening years between the '80's and now for the Ohio-born Ms. Lords there have been a wealth of conventional feature film roles and cameos, television parts and appearances, a singing career, a soul-searching autobiography (entitled "Underneath It All"), a business, a film producer and lots more.

So what do you do with success?  Take full advantage of it.  And Traci Lords has risen from the ashes and has been doing so for years.  She will make the and finds herself on the big screen on Halloween Friday in the U.S. and Canada with the new bawdy, lewd romantic comedy from Kevin Smith entitled "Zack And Miri Make A Porno", which will be released in North America by The Weinstein Company.

Porno?  Traci Lords? 

The two don't mix anymore, and when Ms. Lords received the script and read the title of Mr. Smith's film, her reaction, as she recalled recently at the Four Seasons Beverly Hills was immediate.


"I was prepared to say 'no'", said the actress-author with penetrating sapphire eyes.

As Ms. Lords read the script, she laughed.  Any reservations she had disappeared when she learned that Mr. Smith would direct the film, and wanted her in it.  Ms. Lords, a big fan of the big man from New Jersey, plays Bubbles, a porn star who keeps her clothes on in "Zack And Miri Make A Porno".  Bubbles has a talent with bubbles, and Ms. Lords plays the role cheekily.  On the set of Mr. Smith's film Ms. Lords was accompanied by her husband, whom she describes as "completely the love of my life" and new born Gunnar, whom she breast-fed in between takes, preserving the tight-knit family the three of them are.

After all that Ms. Lords has been through, she dispensed some motherly advice for her one-year-old son: "I want my son to grow up to be a man that's gonna use his penis for good and not evil."  Gunnar's mother said this in the context of what she often referred to as "a whole lot of craziness in the world right now."

As far as the new film is concerned, Ms. Lords, who on just another sunny and resplendent Sunday in L.A. is wearing a deep blue form fitting dress designed by Diane Von Furstenburg, had high hopes for "Zack And Miri", as she talked before a group of journalists from several of the U.S. and Canada's most prominent newspapers.

"I hope we do as well as 'Beverly Hills Chihuahua!'", Ms. Lords beamed, referring to the Disney film which had topped the U.S.-Canada box office in its opening two weeks before falling to second place last Sunday.

Bubbles as a character is rather innocuous but in so many words Ms. Lords saw the character as an opportunity to make fun of the Traci Lords of a generation ago and have a laugh, at a time and place where she felt comfortable doings so, and close the final chapter of the distant past with this epilogue.  With today's porn star Katie Morgan also in Mr. Smith's film, Ms. Lords said that Miss Morgan was very respectful and didn't solicit any advice at all from Ms. Lords about her years in the porn industry.

"She seems like she has a good heart," Ms. Lords said of Miss Morgan, whom earlier had said that she would take a vacation from porn for the foreseeable future to expand her horizons in to the acting world.

Traci Lords is something of a seer.  She reminded the inquisitive press corps in attendance that at the time she played a role in the 1987 film "Cry Baby" alongside Johnny Depp, she had predicted that Mr. Depp would be a huge star.  "Every one was trying to recover," she recalled, citing assorted cast members on the John Waters film.

By observation, Ms. Lords has recovered, and very well.  She has a confidence and happiness.  She glows about her ironworker husband, whom she acknowledged "has a good taste in shoes."  She is also involved with a film adaptation of a book called "I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell", which she has just wrapped and is excited about.  Similarly, her level of excitement rises when talking about producing "The Art Of Seduction" a film for television which she describes as "a lubricant for the mind".  The film is a sensual yet cerebral look at women and their liberation, exploration and self-empowerment through sex appeal.  Ms. Lords said that she is trying to get Zalman King to direct or lens the film, adding that she believed Mr. King to be the sexiest filmmaker alive, in terms of his artful conception of a woman's sexual adventures and stories.  She praised him as "very tasteful and intriguing".

So what does Traci Lords find sexy?

"Kindness is sexy to me, in a world where a whole lot of ugly is going on right now."

Ms. Lords added that "safety is sexy".

She also hailed Aaron Spelling for giving her this piece of advice, which she says has worked well for her over the years: "shorter, tighter, brighter", referring to the length and size of any skirt or dress Ms. Lords chooses to wear, presenting herself with a resulting compactness and efficiency.

It was an unexpected response from Traci Lords, but then again, she has always defied expectations and beat the odds.

"Zack And Miri Make A Porno", featuring Traci Lords in a small role as Bubbles, is directed by Kevin Smith and opens on Halloween (Oct. 31) in the U.S. and Canada.  The film is released in North America by The Weinstein Company.


Copyright The Popcorn Reel.  2008.  All Rights Reserved.
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