In the annals of pop culture history, the name Linda Lovelace is synonymous with the mainstream notoriety of hardcore porn.
As the 23-year-old star of the infamous 1972 XXX feature Deep Throat, she scandalized America with the first feature-length adult movie.
But Linda Lovelace was just a character for the woman born Linda Susan Boreman — and one she didn't necessarily play willingly.
Onscreen, Linda Lovelace was voraciously lusty and insatiable. Offscreen, Boreman was an insecure young bride, who claimed she was largely coerced into pornography by her manipulative, abusive husband and manager, Chuck Traynor.
That's why the upcoming biopic Lovelace, playing at O Cinema in Wynwood starting tonight, August 9, promises emotional whiplash. On its surface, it looks like a fantastic piece of highbrow trash cinema, boasting a cast of talented actors who excel at a movie-length wink-wink-nudge-nudge. (James Franco plays Hugh Hefner, after all.) And sure, the potential titillation factor of seeing ingenue actress Amanda Seyfried getting porn-y is high.
But the film, directed by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, treads in gray areas rather than a strict, morality-play black and white. Boreman, later in life, became a staunch anti-porn activist; meanwhile many of her colleagues maintained she was a pathological liar who had appeared in her films by choice. Lovelace explores all of these aspects of Boreman's life and oeuvre.
South Florida Connection
Like all good stories with a sordid streak, though, there's a South Florida connection in the Linda Lovelace story. It was here, in fact, where a number of pivotal events took place, in both Boreman's life and the Linda Lovelace character arc.
A Bronx native, she first arrived in Fort Lauderdale at age 16 with her family, after her father retired from the police force.
According to her various obituaries, she lost her virginity here at age 19 — and by age 20, was pregnant. The fate of this first child undoubtedly proved one of Boreman's first major traumas. In 1980, she recalled those events to the New York Times:
“My mother forced me to give the baby up and she tricked me. They kept me doped up at the hospital and I was in a fog. She brought in some papers for me to sign. She said they were for the circumcision. They turned out to be permission for the adoption.”
As a result of this fiasco, Boreman returned to her native New York — but Florida would prove to be a recurring motif in her life. In New York, she was involved in a serious car accident that shattered numerous bones, so again, she returned to the Fort Lauderdale area to recuperate.
This, perhaps, is what directly led to her infamy, because it was here that she met Traynor. Then the owner of a bar in North Miami, the Vegas Inn, Traynor was also a serious pimp, and allegedly forced Linda into prostitution from 1969 to 1972. The two were married in 1971, but this didn't improve her treatment. In fact, in that same New York Times story, Boreman said that for two years, beginning in 1971, she was kept prisoner, first in Miami, then in New York, then in Los Angeles.
Again, though, they came back to Miami to film Deep Throat — what more fabulously lawless place to do it? Director Gerard Damiano filmed the movie largely in a string of motels here, using $23,000 funded by the mob.
Deep Throat didn't mark the end of Linda Lovelace, though; Boreman starred in other pornographic movies in the ensuing years. She did get rid of husband Traynor, though — but again, came back to Florida in the mid-'70s.
Once again, that's where she found another important man in her life, her second husband, Larry Marchiano. They later relocated to California, had two children and then divorced. And while Boreman later said their marriage had unhappy moments, they remained in contact until her death in 2002 after another serious car accident.
And so it was, then, that the rest of the world can pretty much blame the infamous Deep Throat on South Florida. Given our region's reigning current news infamy, it seems just as well to revisit another seedy part of its past. See it all in its fictionalized, Hollywood version in Lovelace, starting tonight at O Cinema.