Everyone Can Relate To The Lives Of 'King Cobra's Gay Porn Stars, According To Keegan Allen

On Pretty Little Liars, Keegan Allen, as Toby Cavanaugh, has played a lot of different things. He's been a murder suspect, an abuse victim, a carpenter, a high school student, a cop, and even a member of the A-team. Well, with his role in the upcoming film King Cobra , Allen can cross one more on-screen profession off of his list: gay porn star. In the new film, out Oct. 21, Allen stars as Harlow, a struggling gay porn actor trying to make it big through amateur Internet porn. The movie is kind of larger than life, but, as Allen tells Bustle, it's actually pretty easy to relate to the lives of the gay porn stars featured in King Cobra .

"Anybody can relate to this film. I don't care if you're gay, straight, you know, no matter what," Allen says. It's a high bar to set for a movie based on the early career of porn star Brent Corrigan, who started making Internet porn videos as a teenager. Corrigan eventually caused a stir in the industry when, after a falling out with his producer, Bryan Kocis, he revealed he had been underage at the start of his career. A few years later, after (spoiler alert!) Kocis was found dead, Corrigan helped put Harlow Cuadra (played by Allen in the film) and his boyfriend Joseph Kerekes (played by James Franco) in jail for the murder.

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What makes King Cobra relatable, though, according to Allen, isn't that audiences are familiar with the behind-the-scenes drama of the amateur porn industry, nor is it that they can sympathize with killers. "I can't look at a murderer and be like, 'he deserved to murder that guy.' That's crazy," Allen says. So although audiences might not be able to completely empathize with Harlow's actions in the film, they can relate to Harlow's motivation and justifications for his actions. "We all have this drive to be something better," Allen says, noting that all the characters in the film are driven by the desire to better themselves.

In his effort to stay true to Harlow's story and his motivations, Allen did as much research as he could for the role. Though the real Cuadra, who currently serving a life sentence behind bars, was unreachable, Allen read about the case, and even watched some of Cuadra's videos. "I felt like he was constantly living in a farce — in his personal life and in his onscreen performances," the actor says. Watching Cuadra's actual porn performances, Allen adds, helped him better understand how Cuadra "acted and reacted."

Yet the historical accuracy of King Cobra is debatable. Corrigan, who consented to have his name used in the film, has been vocal in his disapproval, even going so far as to tweet that the film has "contempt for queer culture [and] mockery for porn." Allen admits that the movie does take some liberties with the story, but he is adamant that the film was made with only the best of intentions. In the end, he says, "You can watch this film and see a piece of history... And that's the best part." As is seeing Allen in yet another fascinating, unexpected role.

Images: IFC Midnight