Officer Julia Danby is researching Psychic Weapon 'C', dubbed 'the Cuckoo', a dangerous telepath involved with one of the criminal factions she is investigating. She doesn't yet know how his powers work: specifically, that his ability to violate people's minds and rip information out of an unwilling victim depends on them being in pain. However, she's about to experience this phenomenon first hand.
Tom gives an outstanding performance as the Cuckoo, and I had great fun with Officer Danby's strong, stoic character who fights fear with laughter and holds out at long as she can. It was also lovely to be able to work with two other actors to create a more dynamic, complex scene. This is Ludwig's first appearance on the site, and I think it might also be his first time co-topping with his mate and co-blogger Kaelah in a spanking video.
Kaelah and Ludwig have written a behind-the-scenes report about the shoot. Here's what they have to say about playing a pair of ruthless criminal goons (Ludwig's comments are in bold):
If you are a geek like me, with a love for science fiction / mystery series, you probably already noticed that the scene is inspired by Fringe. I don't usually pay attention to what is on TV, but Fringe is one of the very few TV series I have ever followed. Actually, I had just recently discovered it when Pandora, Kaelah and I were exchanging brainstorming emails about what to do at our upcoming shoot together. So it was kind of funny when Pandora brought up the idea of doing a Fringe-themed clip. Do I know the series, she asked? Absolutely, and I was all excited about the prospect. Kaelah did not know Fringe, but she liked the idea of playing a goon-type character, and she had other, no less fitting associations in mind...
When Pandora told us about the storyline, the first thing that came to my mind were some pictures inspired by Men in Black. Three dark figures, appearing from nowhere, doing their job swiftly and without any mercy, before finally disappearing into the shadows as quickly as they had turned up. The only possible problem which I told Ludwig the evening before the shoot was: "Don't you think it's a bit weird that the two of us as Germans are supposed to play cruel goons who assault a British investigator?" - "We are not Germans, we are just some goons", Ludwig answered, "and this is not an idea to make fun of."
The next day, Tom came up with a suggestion: "How about you two guys speaking German? Different languages make the scene more interesting and edgy, because this way Pandora's character won't be able to understand what her captors are talking about." I laid back and waited for Ludwig to reply. And he did: "Great idea! It also looks much more like a big international conspiracy then." As you can imagine, I was mildly irritated by this reply, okay, actually I was completely stunned. Ludwig grinned and told me that he found the idea much better now, since it had been Tom's suggestion this time. With a boyfriend like that you really don't need any enemies. Joking aside, actually I think that Ludwig was really attracted by this international thing, especially because Tom as our leader was supposed to be a native speaker of English who nonetheless instructed his goons in German.
When Tom came up with his suggestion, I liked the idea that the three of us - Tom, Kaelah and me - would be communicating in German. Not only would it add to the confusion for Pandora's character, it also instantly, and in a simple yet effective way, created the notion of a menacing, international conspiracy. Here is Pandora's character, getting assaulted by three figures. The leader is obviously an Englishman, but he has two German henchmen with him. In the context of a Fringe-inspired scene, I find that a lot more interesting than three assailants with the same background.
We did some rehearsals of the scene beforehand, so that everyone would know where to stand and what to do during the actual shoot. Pandora, who had just directed my severe caning which we had filmed earlier that day, found out that it was really challenging to switch from director mode into bottom mode, especially given the edginess of the scene. She asked for a short break after a little misunderstanding between Ludwig and her, in order to get into the right mindset for the scene. When we continued, we decided that it was better to do the scene a bit less rough than we had initially planned to make sure that Pandora had a chance to get into the scene step by step. Since this was the first time for me to top anyone else than Ludwig, I probably was a bit over-cautious from that point on. I definitely didn't want to give Pandora any negative experience, so I was always a bit hesitant and only shifted up a gear when I felt that Pandora was ready for it.
Before we started, Pandora told me that she wanted the initial struggle with Kaelah and me to be "really physical". What I missed, however, was her request to merely simulate the struggle while we were practicing the scene ahead of the filming. Among all the other stuff we were talking about, that detail escaped my attention. So, during the practice run, I already handled Pandora in a rather physical way, at a time when she was not expecting it yet. I felt sorry for the misunderstanding and apologised to Pandora, but she said no hard feelings, these things can happen. The downside of it all was that, once we got around to actually filming the scene, Kaelah and I were probably a bit over-cautious. It is difficult to find exactly the right spot between being too brutal and too fake in a physical struggle, especially when playing / filming with someone for only the second or third time.
My headspace during the filming itself was ambiguous as well, in a very fascinating way. One part of me was focussed on getting everything right for the camera and making sure that Pandora was safe and feeling okay. The other part, though, very much enjoyed the freedom of being someone who obeyed orders without scruple, not bothered with any hindering emotions. I was just doing my job, swiftly and efficiently. Hey, I didn't even have a name! When we had discussed about the languages, I had already realised that I didn't have much intention to talk at all. And that's exactly how it was during the scene. The mindset of silently following orders proved to be a very peaceful one. Maybe because it was so different from my normal being (and definitely something I wouldn't want to do for real). But knowing that in reality this was Pandora's fantasy and that there was another part of me which constantly watched for her well-being, experimenting with silence and lack of emotion was indeed a very fascinating and strangely liberating experience.
I'd actually forgotten about my difficulty during the rehearsal of the opening sequence. I'd spent the morning directing and shooting a big two person scene with Kaelah and Ludwig, and this was my first scene bottoming that day. Tom was directing this scene, but I'd written the shooting script and was so closely engaged with the logistics that I was still very much in a directing headspace. During the run-through, I hadn't quite psyched myself up yet for a proper struggle and it made me spin a bit.
After that, and knowing how difficult I've found it to take CP on previous shoots where I was directing and bottoming at the same time, I wasn't quite sure how I'd react when the spanking started. We agreed to start over clothes to take the edge off - it made sense within the scene, which has no sexual overtone. In the event, by the time we got that far I was so thoroughly in character that I was able to take it without any trouble. Playing someone who is angry and determined not to show weakness always raises my pain threshold. In fact, once we got there I could have taken significantly more, but Tom and I were so focused in the interaction between our characters that neither of us gave Kaelah and Ludwig the explicit reassurance they needed to go as hard and fast as we could have.
Don't get me wrong, it was still pretty hard - Kaelah found her rhythm with the paddle and the big black cane is so heavy it doesn't need much to make an impact. To be honest, for me, the hotness of this scene comes from the psychological interaction anyway; the CP is necessary set-dressing, but not the main focus.
Here's what Tom has to say about this scene:
'Psychic Weapon C' was a very interesting scenario to shoot, because while I was definitely the top in the scene, I was not the punisher ("I have people who do that for me.") This was both a simplifying and a complicating factor, as it freed me up to concentrate on the character portrayal while also placing me at one remove from the control of power and pace that I am used to in the actual punishments.
It was quite useful to be able to streamline my attention; the character portrayal fell entirely outside the relatively simple authority figures I am called upon to deliver in most spanking scenarios. Developing, in fifteen minutes of screen time, a character who is clearly a villain, but is not a simple bad guy, and portraying a telepath without access to any post-production enhancements was enjoyably difficult. In constructing the Cuckoo I drew on several sources, both literary and cinematic, including a particularly strong performance from Quentin Tarantino in the mid-season double episode of Alias Season 1.
The key to what I wanted from the Cuckoo was the menace of the professional interrogator textured by the implication of inner demons; that he has channeled a truly overwhelming and terrifying talent into a strictly controlled form. He is, in the simplest sense, a mind-rapist, but as a person (rather than as an operative) he is cultured, courteous, and clings on tightly to his self-image as a professional even when faced with his own addiction to the pain of others.
The sense of rising menace comes across well in the final cut, enhanced by Pandora's excellent complementary performance as Officer Danby. It was thoroughly enjoyable to be able to over-master a character who was fighting every step of the way, rather than ultimately submitting a legitimate authority. It was also interesting to direct and control the punishment sequences with hand-gestures and German dialogue learned on the spot; adding the dimension of communications between the antagonists being in a language foreign to the protagonist was a challenging but rewarding technique.
The end result is emotionally intense and unusually dark, with the courageous victim ultimately losing to a dominating force who is clearly evil, but ambiguously sympathetic.
I'd never really conceived of telepathic ravishment before, but it turns out I love it. Drama, conflict, tension, psychological violence - perfect! I also really really love being caned while angry - that is, while playing a character who is angry. I maintained an angry, resisting emotional state throughout my hard prison caning with Pain4Fem, and although it didn't make it hurt any less it proved a great defence against panic. There's something exhilirating about being beaten in a state of righteous fury: almost as if every impact fuels your inner strength. And being pinned down and having my wrists bound with a ziplock tie works for me just fine.