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Rocco Siffredi, ‘Supersex’ Team Talk Sex Scenes, ‘Inspiring’ True Story



Porn icon Rocco Siffredi claims that after making roughly 1,400 hardcore films — with titles like “The Ass Collector” and “Rocco’s Perfect Slaves” — over the past four decades, he has finally found “the peace of his senses.”

“I could crack a bad joke and say I can’t get it up anymore,” says Siffredi, 59, speaking on a video call from the Budapest office of his Rocco Siffredi Production company, which houses the Siffredi Hard Academy, touted as the world’s first “university of porn.”

“But that’s not the case. Quite the contrary,” the hardworking “Italian Stallion” hastens to add. I’ve asked Siffredi about being — or having notoriously been — a sex addict. And the many times he’s announced his retirement as a porn performer, only to make another comeback.

“I have to tell you that it was a mix of problems connected with my personal life and the dependency that this job, for better or worse, sets forth in you when you’re on set 28 days every month doing two or three scenes a day,” Siffredi says. “I don’t know if it was dependency or just desire. But I swear, it’s over.”

That said, he’s still happy to shoot other actors and create porn. “But I don’t feel the need to do it myself.”

Supersex,” the Netflix series inspired by Siffredi’s life that drops globally on March 6 after premiering at the Berlin Film Festival in February, begins with Rocco announcing, “Porn for me is over. I’m retiring,” at a 2004 Paris porn industry convention. That really happened. But in a fictional twist written by the show’s creator, Francesca Manieri, Rocco, played by Italian star Alessandro Borghi, then proceeds to have rough sex in front of a throng of cheering journalists and fans, having been enticed by one of the convention’s hostesses, an aspiring porn performer who is seeking her big break.

Manieri, who is a militant feminist, says that when she was approached by producer Lorenzo Mieli about doing a Rocco Siffredi origins show on the set of Luca Guadagnino’s gay coming-of-age TV series “We Are Who We Are” — which she co-wrote — she thought Mieli was joking. He asked her to give it some serious thought.

Everyone told her it was “too risky,” but Manieri came on board because she saw it as a unique opportunity.

“I said to myself that if when women are given the chance to delve into the heart of masculinity — with all its dysfunctionality and potential toxicity, or even its power —we turn it down, then we can’t blame anyone anymore,” she says.

So Manieri set out to shape the seven-episode show about how a guy named Rocco Antonio Tano from the tiny coastal town of Ortona in Italy’s impoverished Abruzzo region became the world’s most famous porn star. She learned from Siffredi, with whom she worked closely, that a porn photo mag titled “Supersex,” which Rocco had been a fan of since age 12, played a pivotal part in his career. The superhero protagonist, an alien from the planet Eros, was depicted in the mag by French porn star Gabriel Pontello, with whom years later Siffredi intersected while copulating in a Paris sex club. It was Pontello, his idol, who introduced then 20-year-old Rocco to porn producers. And the rest is history.

Porn icon Rocco Siffredi, on whom “Supersex” is based
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“That evening was like my high school and college graduation crammed into one,” says Siffredi — who is named after Alain Delon’s gangster character Roch Siffredi in the 1970 French film “Borsalino.” “When I saw Gabriel in that club, I knew that in front of me I had the opportunity that I had been seeking ever since I was a kid. The emotion I felt is indescribable.”

“Supersex” traces Siffredi’s journey from Ortona to Paris, Rome and then Los Angeles, where he started working with U.S. porn pioneer John Leslie and producer John Stagliano. It delves into Rocco’s close relationships with his mom and older brother Tommaso (Adriano Giannini) and with Tommaso’s partner Lucia, played by Jasmine Trinca, a Berlin juror. Lucia becomes a prostitute and is a “mirror for Rocco.” “They are both sex workers,” Manieri says. “But the social judgment cast upon them is completely different.” Lucia eventually manages to find redemption, though not entirely, “because our society does not allow that strong a twist.” But her character provides a “bridge between the feminine and masculine [realms].”

In terms of genre, Manieri calls “Supersex” a hybrid between a melodrama and a coming-of-age story. As references she cites Luchino Visconti’s neo-realist classic “Rocco and His Brothers” and Sergio Leone’s epic “Once Upon a Time in America,” classics that feature respectively a feminicide and a rape, she points out. These films depict “the dynamics of how a masculine psyche is built,” she says. Similarly, the series deconstructs “the boundaries of that type of toxic masculinity.”

Both Siffredi and Manieri say there is a lot more of Rocco’s real journey in “Supersex” than a show “just inspired by my life,” as Siffredi puts it. “Stories are built on conflict,” says Manieri. “Rocco and I in a room were the biggest conflict you could possibly imagine, so it was a great start.”

For Borghi — known to U.S. art-house audiences for playing Bruno, the Alpine native who has a meltdown in male-bonding drama “The Eight Mountains” — “Francesca’s screenplay is probably the reason I chose to make this series.” What interested him about the story of an 8-year-old kid from a dirt-poor family in Ortona who becomes the world’s biggest porn star is that it’s “so filled with emotional changes that have to do with dependency and pain and things connected with his family — this whole dark side,” he says.

“If they had written a series about a porn actor just to show how good he was at fucking, surely I would not have accepted,” he adds.

Which is not to say there isn’t lots of steamy sex in “Supersex.”

Borghi says he has roughly 40 or 50 “boundary-pushing” sex scenes in the show, some more intense than others. But what’s crucial for him is “that every scene that has to do with sex, with porn, always involves a new narrative twist for the character,” he points out. “It’s never because at that point in the narrative you needed to throw in some sex for the audience.” Instead, the steamy scenes “can be Rocco’s consecration, his happiness, or the way he faces pain.”

To play these scenes with several actresses— including Gaia Messerklinger, who plays Italian porn star Moana Pozzi, and Jade Pedri and Linda Caridi as women with whom Rocco becomes romantically involved — directors Matteo Rovere, Francesco Carrozzini and Francesca Mazzoleni had an intimacy coordinator on set in Rome, Sicily and Paris.

“We did lots of different things,” says Borghi, who describes the mood instilled on set by intimacy coordinator Luisa Lazzaro.

“It was funny because the first couple of weeks we were all a little uneasy,” he says, “and then the third week we just stood there naked looking at scenes on the monitor. So something must have worked.”

There is little doubt that of the many women in Rocco Siffredi’s life, the most important one is his mom, Carmela.

“My whole journey [into the porn world] starts with that woman and her suffering, my desire to suffer the way she did,” he says wistfully. “It was always very important for me to find redemption in order to help my mother, even financially.”

“She’s the biggest luck of my life,” he continues. “A mom who doesn’t judge you for your choice, doesn’t try to oppose it or create problems.” On the contrary: “It’s not that she pushed me. But she had that protective attitude that says: ‘Rocco, if it makes you happy, go for it!’”

Going for it took Siffredi from Ortona to Los Angeles in 1990. It was very tough, he recalls, due to his Italian accent and “because Americans are used to selling, not to buying,” as he puts it.

“Rocco, this guy from Italy. I’m the first European to disembark in America and I changed porn,” Siffredi boasts, referring to his signature brand of rough on-screen sex, not to mention his supersized cock, which has won him 150 porn industry prizes.

So is there a moral to “Supersex”? Can it help teenagers grasp the distinction between porn and real sex? “This series can help Rocco fans understand better who Rocco is — his life, where he comes from,” says Siffredi.

But it should also help viewers understand what it takes to become a porn star. “Guys arrive at my academy and they think they are going to find 10 women with their legs spread open, ready to do what they want,” Siffredi points out. But it’s not like that.

According to Siffredi, “Porn is a very tough job; it’s a vocation. I always say to the guys, ‘If you want to do this because you are unemployed and you need to make money, it’s not going to work. Because working with sex is the worse thing you can do in your life.’”

He pauses.

“And I’m the most qualified person to say this.”


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