The Boy Next Door: Rob Cohen on Erotic Thrillers and xXx 3

Jennifer Lopez The Boy Next Door Rob Cohen


Rob Cohen knows his genre movies. The director of The Boy Next Door, in theaters this weekend, has long since made a name for himself with hit action thrillers like The Fast and the FuriousxXx and Dragonheart. Now he’s taking that same entertaining tone and applying it to the erotic thriller genre. A genre which seems to have all but disappeared except from the realm of TV movies.

We sat down with Rob Cohen to ask whatever happened to the erotic thriller, why The Boy Next Door shouldn’t be rated PG-13, the psychology of the villain (played by Ryan Guzman), the temptation of the hero (played by Jennifer Lopez), and why just wants audiences to be entertained by The Boy Next Door, a self-aware film with genuinely sincere characters. 

And of course we asked for an update about the third xXx movie (which won’t have Ice Cube in it), and his upcoming fantasy movie The Adventures of Marco Polo, which will have energy snakes in it.


Check Out: ‘Boy Next Door’ Villain Ryan Guzman on ‘Your Mother’s Cookie’ (Exclusive Interview)


CraveOnline: It seems like the erotic thriller has pulled away from the spotlight in the last 15 years or so.

Rob Cohen: Yeah, it really has.

It was really dominant in the 1980s and 1990s and now it’s practically gone. What do you think happened and why is now the right time for The Boy Next Door?

I think AIDS changed the social dynamic of sex and the way Hollywood deals with it. They’re afraid of it. And I think really the corporatization of Hollywood has a lot to do with it. 


“The first thing I said was, ‘If you want me, I’m making an R-rated movie.'”


How so?

Well, you know how corporate H.R. and human resources, you get the books and this is the behavior, you can’t do this and you can’t do that. Well, that trickles down to a business which has been, traditionally, very open about everything. People speak using four-letter words. But now that it’s all corporate and the people who are supervising, the “creative people…”

He said in air-quotes…

They are GE or they’re Comcast or they’re whatever. Name the conglomerate and they have a movie studio. I think that wanting to avoid controversy and to appear to have great taste has been a big factor in why anything that has a provocative subject matter gets either neutralized or washed out.

I think a lot of people blame it on the PG-13 mentality. That no one will go to a movie if it’s Rated R.

You know, we’ve had some huge R-rated hits in the last year or two. It’s not true. I’ve been a big prince of PG-13. I made xXx PG-13. The Fast and the Furious was PG-13. Even Alex Cross, even with the torture scene, was PG-13.

It’s kind of amazing you got away with that.


Was there talk of turning The Boy Next Door into a PG-13?

No. The first thing I said was, “If you want me, I’m making an R-rated movie.” I don’t want to deal with sex and make it, like, for 13-year-olds. A middle-aged woman being attracted to a guy half her age, and a young guy who sees a middle-aged woman in all her fullness and wants to possess it, that’s not – ever – going to fly as a PG-13.

We’ve seen that toyed with in Lifetime Original Movies. That’s where we’re at right now, but that’s so… I don’t even know how to describe. They can be fun, but…

Well they pull the punch. They pull the punch. It’s one thing to “What’s going on below the frame?” It’s another thing to see his hand rubbing her clitoris, right?

Thank you for that.

Yeah. Well, like I’m saying, “Ryan [Guzman], we have to worship her. Your job as Noah is to worship her through sex. You are there not as an instrument of your pleasure, you are there as an instrument of her pleasure.”