Emilio Estevez both directed and starred in “Rated X” which debuted at Sundance. The screening was star-studded with more reserved names on seats than any premiere in Park City. Studio execs and celebs alike turned out for the event. “Rated X” is the true story of the infamous Mitchell Brothers whose O’Farrell Theater in San Francisco made its name in porn. The theater was a showcase for original adult films such as “Behind the Green Door” starring Marilyn Chambers. Billed as a true life “Cain and Abel of adult entertainment” Jim and Artie Mitchell made millions producing their own porn films. They soon got out of that business and opened the most popular stripping establishment in Northern California, the O’Farrell Theater which is still open for business. The brothers clashes with the law were well documented having gone to court numerous times to protect their freedom to show dirty movies. The tale came to a tragic end when Artie shot Jim dead with a shotgun, apparently the result of an drug intervention gone awry. Estevez directs and stars in the film as Artie Mitchell. Real life brother Charlie Sheen plays Jim Mitchell in this dark, yet touching portrayal of the excesses of porn and drugs.
For Charlie Sheen, the excesses in the film were all too familiar, and during the Q&A following the screening, he was asked how tough it was to be surrounded by the trappings of that world. “I was given an opportunity on a daily basis to remind myself to be grateful for not having to still live in that lifestyle. And with what I’d gone through personally and having an opportunity to make this film and show a guy’s tragic story – a beginning, middle and end. I felt I could be of service if I came out of, what was a very public situation and came out with a fluff comedy, it just wouldn’t be very satisfying. It was difficult, but at the end of the day, it was good to be alive.”
The film is a triumph for both Sheen personally and his acting career. For Emilio Estevez, the film is a long way from “Men at Work” and “Wisdom” and a step perhaps toward a long career as a director.