LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum field is the place where the USC Trojans play football, two Summer Olympics were staged, John F. Kennedy accepted the Democratic presidential nomination and Pope John Paul II celebrated Mass.
It was also a location for “The Gangbang Girl #32,” a hard-core pornographic movie that featured 40 minutes of group sex on the gridiron turf, The Times has learned.
The filming at the taxpayer-owned stadium was done at night, with the Coliseum’s towering lights blazing and its rows of distinctive red and white seats framing many of the scenes. The video also shows the stadium’s signature tunnel, which the Trojan team charges through at the start of games, as well as a sliver of the iconic peristyle, the arched entrance to the Coliseum.
“I was just in awe that we were at the Coliseum,” said a star of the film, who goes by the name Mr. Marcus. “I’ve made movies for about 20 years and I’ve done a lot of things, but that one really stands out.… I mean, who gets to have sex on the Coliseum floor?”
Marcus said the football-themed footage was shot on a single night, including some non-explicit scenes filmed in a Coliseum locker room that did not make the final cut. The Coliseum is not identified by name in the video, which was made in 2001 and released in 2002. About half of the 90-minute movie was filmed elsewhere.
How the crew got permission to use the national historic landmark — which was built as a memorial to World War I veterans — is unclear. Attempts to reach a representative of the production company, Anabolic Video, were unsuccessful.
The Coliseum is jointly run by the city, county and state, which owns the land. A spokesman for the California attorney general’s office said Tuesday that he did not know if it is illegal to film pornography on state property. Agencies such as the California Department of Parks and Recreation prohibit porn shoots on properties they control.
Gaining access to the locked stadium and firing up the field lights typically requires the approval of a high-ranking manager, according to people familiar with Coliseum operations, who requested anonymity because they are not allowed to speak publicly on the matter.
An attorney for the top Coliseum executive at the time the video was made said his client knew nothing about the production.
Former General Manager Patrick Lynch resigned in early 2011 and was indicted in March of this year in a sweeping corruption case.
“That’s disgusting,” Lynch’s attorney, Tony Capozzola, said of the porn shoot. “He would never allow that.”
Lynch has pleaded guilty to conflict of interest in a deal that required him to return $385,000 in alleged kickbacks he received from a Coliseum contractor. Ex-events manager Todd DeStefano has pleaded not guilty to charges that include bribery, embezzlement and conspiracy. Four other men also have been indicted in the case.
The indictments followed more than a year of Times reports on Coliseum financial irregularities and lax oversight by its nine-member governing commission, which includes four elected officials. Managers were engaged in side deals with concert promoters and others who did business at the Coliseum. Executives spent tens of thousands of dollars in public funds on massages, golf tournaments, luxury cars and other perks.
The commission is now at the brink of insolvency and voted May 14 to surrender control of the stadium and companion Sports Arena to USC.
Some current commissioners, including county Supervisors Zev Yaroslavsky and Mark Ridley-Thomas, were on the panel when the film was shot.
Yaroslavsky and Ridley-Thomas declined requests for an interview late Tuesday.
The plot of the movie, to the extent that it has one, revolves around a football team and a cheerleader.
The Anabolic logo is emblazoned on the jerseys the dozen or so performers wear — Marcus kept his as a souvenir — and on banners draped like bunting along the stands.
Marcus is a repeat winner of the annual Adult Video News Award, has been inducted into the X-Rated Critics Organization’s Adult Movie Hall of Fame and wrote the 2010 book “The Porn Star Guide to Great Sex” (St. Martin’s Press), which earns a three-star review on the Barnes & Noble website.
Before he joins in the film’s raunchier scenes, Marcus is depicted as a quarterback tossing warmup passes near the western end zone. He told The Times he remembered the movie was shot on a cool night starting about 7.
“We were probably there until 11 p.m.,” he said.
The movie’s credits say it was produced on Sept. 16, 2001, a Sunday, during USC’s football season.
The Trojans played at the Coliseum the weekend before and two weeks later.
Sitting in the warehouse-like office of his Van Nuys-based apparel company, Daddy Inc., Marcus recalled that a clearly marked Sheriff’s Department helicopter startled the cast when it appeared overhead in mid-shoot. The whop-whop of a chopper’s blades is heard in the movie.
Marcus said he remembered looking up and thinking: “There’s going to be, like, this intercom saying, ‘Hey, this is the … Sheriff’s Department, you guys must cease.’
“But none of that came. They just circled, like they were trying to see what was going on.”
Spokesmen for the Sheriff’s Department and Los Angeles Police Department, which has jurisdiction over the Coliseum, said they had no information about any 2001 pornography shoot there.
Marcus said the fact that the filming continued after the helicopter left convinced him that Anabolic must have had an official go-ahead to use the stadium.
“Honestly, when I started to shoot there, I thought, ‘How the hell did we pull this off? And does everyone know about it?’”
The performer had no apologies for people who might be angry that the movie may have tarnished the Coliseum.
“You can be mad all you want, but it was one of those once-in-a-lifetime types of opportunities,” he said.