The Hardest Job in Show Business

Documentarian John Roecker gives voice to the stories, stars, and scandalous secrets of the gay skin trade.



Roecker is particularly proud of the episode centering on Harlow Cuadra, a former porn star and escort accused (along with boyfriend Joseph Kerekes) of brutally murdering rival porn producer Bryan Kocis. “This kid was being pummeled on the blogs, so I wrote to him in prison. I wanted to give him the same respect I gave everyone else. I said, ‘If you want to tell your story, here’s your forum.’ ” Roecker interviewed the now–27-year-old by phone from his Pennsylvania prison, and the audio appears in the film along with personal photos he acquired from Cuadra’s mother. Roecker considers his work with Cuadra “the most emotionally draining experience” of his life.

As Cuadra awaits trial, scheduled for January, Roecker says prosecutors have been asking him to turn over letters he exchanged with the inmate, even though he says those letters and their telephone calls had been monitored. “I’m not doing anything illegal,” he says. “If there was a smoking gun, I’d go to the authorities.” Roecker has kept in touch with Cuadra since and hopes to follow up with another chapter in the series.

As to how he got all his subjects to be so candid, Roecker thinks the answer is simple. “Since most magazines or websites only ask them questions about how many dicks they can shove up their asses, they just really wanted to talk,” he says, adding that feedback from the men has been overwhelmingly positive. “After I showed Nick Piston one episode, he gave me a kiss and said, ‘Thank you. For the first time, you’ve given us a voice. You might get a lot of shit for doing this, but we’re right behind you.’ ”

Tags: television