Screened as part of NZIFF 2019

Mope 2019

Directed by Lucas Heyne

Boogie Nights meets Pain & Gain in this tragic, oddly compelling story of two low-end porn actors who sought fame but gained infamy, all based on real events.

USA In English
105 minutes DCP



Kelly Hayes
Danny Roth
BP Cooper
Dylan Vox
Kern Saxton
Elena Cristiean


Zack Newkirk
Lucas Heyne


Bryan Koss


Kern Saxton

Production designer

Catch Henson

Costume designer

Christine Costanza


Jonathan Snipes


Nathan Stewart-Jarrett (Steve Driver)
Kelly Sry (Tom Dong)
Brian Huskey (Eric)
Max Adler (Chris)
Tonya Cornelisse (Tampa)
Clayton Rohner (dad)
Michael Traynor (Doug)
David Arquette (Rocket)


Sundance 2019


A mope is a wannabe male pornstar who exists on the fringes of the adult industry. A mope doesn’t have the X factor to be successful, let alone the Y factor most of the time either.

Why would anyone want the life of a mope? In this sordid drama, based on a you-won’t-effin’-believe-it’s-all-true story, we are treated to a perverse peek behind the stained curtains, where a chance meeting between two delusional dreamers, Steve Driver and Tom Dong (real names Stephen Clancy Hill and Herbert Wong), takes place. To say it goes horribly wrong for this less than dynamic duo would be like saying JFK had a bad headache.

The fungi at the bottom of the talent pool, Driver and Dong will do anything to claw their way up – and that includes auditioning for a kicked-in-the-testicles fetish production. When Driver’s erratic behaviour escalates, his relationship with Dong begins to slide, as does the film’s tone from sketchy offbeat character drama to something much, much darker.

Mope is sleazy and explicit, but within the grime it promises one of the most unusual and naked friendships you’ll ever see portrayed on film. That’s before it all goes to pieces, anyway. — AT