• Rocco Siffredi in documentary 'Rocco' (Supplied)Source: Supplied
Italian porn superstar Rocco Siffredi talks to SBS in Venice about the upcoming documentary about his life and career, 'Rocco'.
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11 Nov 2016 - 5:23 PM  UPDATED 14 Nov 2016 - 4:22 PM

Meeting the subject of a documentary where the very first frame is a close-up of his enormous penis, might ordinarily be off-putting. Yet when it’s global porn icon, Rocco Siffredi, the so-called Italian Stallion, it’s another case altogether. The 52 year-old is charming, smart and very forthright and besides, the film is not just about sex. 

In the French production, simply titled Rocco, French directors Thierry Demaiziere and Alban Teurlai examine the driving force propelling Siffredi’s success in the hardcore realm, notably his demons, his Catholic guilt, the death of his brother and of course his late mother. Incredibly, the sculpted blonde Adonis with a huge sex drive had always aimed to please his mother who had initially wanted him to become a priest. Though she eventually came around to his chosen profession, and one imagines to the money the astute businessman generated. 

Considering himself a craftsman in front of and behind the camera, Siffredi began in the days of 35mm feature-length movies, worked through the eras of VHS and DVD into the current online XXX productions. He laments the lack of filmmaking skill involved in current porn. 

Initially prized because of his chiselled blonde good looks and his sexual prowess, he was also relatively gentle, which made him one of the most sought-after partners among porn starlets. At last count in 2013 he had appeared in 1,500 movies. So it was unthinkable that the prolific performer would ever retire. Yet now after one failed attempt in 2004, he has finally done it. In the film he admits that for the first time in his 30-year career, he’s finally free from the “devil between his legs”.

A rare porn star who crossed over into the mainstream, Siffredi has long been directing and producing movies out of his Budapest-based Rocco Siffredi Productions, which Variety calls “a porn industry powerhouse”. 

Of late he has been re-positioning himself in the industry by creating hugely successful Italian-language reality shows including: 

  • 2013’s primetime It’s up to Rocco, where he advised middle-aged couples on how to rekindle their sex lives (it screened on Rupert Murdoch’s free-to-air terrestrial channel Cielo) 
  • Siffredi Hard Academy, based around his teachings at his Porn University 
  • Casa Siffredi, Italy’s answer to Keeping up with the Kardashians where he appears with his glamourous former porn star wife Rosa and handsome sons Lorenzo, 20 and Leonardo, 17 

With his warm deep melodic voice and winning smile, Siffredi proves quite the showman, fully clothed.

Naturally the guys at my hotel were more curious about him than anyone I interviewed at the Venice Film Festival.

 

HB: I interviewed Catherine Breillat for her 1999 film Romance and she had been struggling to find anyone who could come up with the goods and she said you were fabulous. (He went on to make Breillat’s 2004 film Anatomy of Hell.)

RS: She’s nice. It was the biggest experience because it wasn't like, “Argh he’s just a porn actor”. I wondered what it meant to be just an actor and with Catherine I could find that out. It’s not that I don't like what I do; it’s just a different thing. Being in real cinema, the attention is on you all the way, whereas in porn you are in an industry where maybe you believe in what you do, but often the other person in front of you is just there for the money or because they have other problems. Connecting with people who are not there for the same reason makes it so much more difficult.

The industry has changed too. When I started out we were shooting on 35mm and there were different camera set-ups and lighting. There was dialogue, romance – and story. Today there is only sex, sex, sex.

 

HB: How do you have such self-control to be able to perform sex so easily?

RS: It’s totally in my nature and it’s in my nature to be able to stay for so long. It’s probably my value. When somebody pays you, you have to be able to perform and do things and be honest and responsible. So all this is part of my character and probably my education.

 

HB: In the film we see how your cousin, Gabriele Galetta, couldn't do it. Now he handles the camera duties.

RS: We work well together. He’s more like my brother actually. We’re very close. 

 

HB: The Siffredi Hard Academy is quite a unique concept.

RS: It’s very, very good. It’s about teaching new guys and girls, new generations how to become porn stars.

 

HB: What is the secret then if you can put it down to one thing?

RS: I always say passion first of all and to be able in life to accept advice and then to add a little bit of irony. When you want to be a porn star you can’t take yourself too seriously. Most of all, it’s about having control, not just when you want or when you like somebody. It’s the ability to have a connection with the person and to be in contact with your brain. You should be able to move your dick in the same way you move your hand, which is not too easy.

 

HB: Why can’t most men do that?

RS: Not most, in porn less than ten professionals can do this in the entire world. But today it’s changed completely with all the Viagra or all kinds of medicine they use. It’s for everybody. It’s much easier. 

 

HB: Aren’t there physical side effects?

RS: The worst effect is you aren’t connected any more using stuff that's all fake. For me it’s very important to use everything: the hands, the smell, the eyes. 

"I became like Michael Fassbender in Shame. When I saw that movie I was shocked for a week."  

HB: You have charm as well.

RS: It’s because I love women. This helps. 

 

HB: From what your female co-stars have said, you are generous.

RS: Completely. My pleasure is to give pleasure more than anything. Some women say they don't feel they’re being used like an object when they work with me.

 

HB: Have you worked in Australia?

RS: Yes, almost 25 years ago I worked in Sydney and Adelaide. Sunny McKay was the actress; there weren't so many actresses at the time in Australia and she was one of the best. We did a movie about Formula 1 (Grand Prix Australia) and we shot a scene on top of a Formula 1 car. We were sleeping in a houseboat on the river in Adelaide and it was incredibly beautiful.

 

HB: Why did you stop being a porn actor?

RS: When I decided to be in porn, I had to decide to stop being Italian because everybody was saying I would finish badly in my life. Then after doing it for 20 years as my sons started to grow up, my Italian side, the culture, naturally started to come back to me. I needed to stop before they became old enough to understand sex. So I stopped in 2004 but I didn't know that I was already addicted to sex. That happens when you work two times a day for 25, 26 or 27 days a month. I became like Michael Fassbender in Shame. When I saw that movie I was shocked for a week. I had so much pain and was unable to understand this before. So I spoke to my wife and she said, “Why don’t you keep doing it? We will not have a problem, your boys will love you.” So I went back [in 2009] and then last year I made the decision to finally stop.

 

HB: How did that come about?

RS: I did this survival show, Island of the Famous and I was alone (naked) on this island for a week and it made me look at my life and the people who are important to me. So I started to change my priorities and for a year now I feel pretty good. Some guys who weren’t porn actors came up to me at the premiere last night and said they went through a similar crisis with other women and ended up losing their families and they were around my age. So it could also be some kind of crisis of turning 50.

 

HB: You are such a fit man and you were born with that to an extent. But have you had to work out as well or is sex enough of a work out?

RS: I tell you something. During my whole career I never took any drugs ever, ever, ever, ever. I might have a glass of wine with a friend, but I don't call this drugs. Cigarettes never. Only exclusively sex. That's my only addiction – and working out. Train, train, train, because when you work for four or five hours on the set doing sex, if you are not trained, you don’t last for long. I see today some of the actors after three minutes they go, “Oh my leg!” I’m like, “Do you want to be a porn star?” You need to be athletic. Really athletic.

 

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