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Rocco Siffredi, the king of porn, comes to Netflix: ‘I have never masturbated to my own movies’

‘Supersex’ — a series inspired by the life of the Italian pornographic actor — will be released this Wednesday. Siffredi celebrates the changes that have taken place in the genre where he has built his career: ‘In today’s porn, the strong ones are the women, not the men’

Rocco Siffredi
Rocco Siffredi, during the presentation of 'Supersex' at the Berlin International Film Festival, on February 22, 2024.Stephane Cardinale - Corbis (Corbis via Getty Images)
Álex Vicente

Rocco Siffredi exhibits an absolute lack of modesty. His enormous self-confidence — which seems directly connected to his crotch — comes with a tiredness that is usually drawn on the faces of those who have carried out difficult, exhausting jobs. After all, this May, he will turn 60-years-old.

“I never thought [the year] would arrive, but here it is. I’m calm. My sexuality is still in order, but it’s no longer out of control,” the Italian pornographic actor said this past February, during a meeting with journalists at the Berlin International Film Festival. The Netflix series inspired by his life, Supersex, premiered at the same event. It will be released this Wednesday.

Siffredi will celebrate the culmination of the production with a family trip to the Congo to visit his favorite animal: the gorilla. The trip is a gift from his wife, Rozsa Tassi. She’s a porn actress and a former Miss Hungary. They’ve been married for 30 years.

The series is fiction, although “98%” is real, Siffredi affirms. “The remaining 2% was left out to protect my family.” It all begins in his hometown, Ortona, a small coastal spot in the southern region of Abruzzo, known during World War II as “little Stalingrad.” It ended up being razed, because the famous Gustav Line that outlined the Nazi fortifications passed through it.

Supersex tells the story of how a carpenter’s son — who could have ended up as a seminarian, as his mother wished (he was a momma’s boy, or a mammone) — ended up triumphing in Paris, the Olympus of the pornographic industry in the 1980s. Later, he made it in California.

The title of the series is the name of Siffredi’s favorite superhero, the protagonist of an erotic graphic novel that he was addicted to during his youth: “I discovered him when I was 11 or 12-years-old and I wanted to be like him. I was born for this.”

Italian actor Alessandro Borghi, in the role of Siffredi for the Netflix series 'Supersex.'
Italian actor Alessandro Borghi, in the role of Siffredi for the Netflix series 'Supersex.' Lucia Iuorio / Netflix

Siffredi changed his discipline forever. He became the master of gonzo porn and normalized rough sex on screen, but he also psychologized the characters he played: they were no longer just phalluses with legs. This led Catherine Breillat to cast him as the protagonist of two of her films. “In his movies, he puts his whole soul into them [and] it shows,” the French director says.

Siffredi accepted right away, because he wanted to know what it would be like to be considered a “serious” actor. “Supersex wants to reflect the cost of choosing this life, which isn’t so easy, although people [see] the fun part,” Siffredi notes. He seems to carry the doubt about not knowing what would have happened to him if his penis measured a few inches less in length or width.

In reality, nobody knows exactly what his measurements are. According to various interviews, his member is mentioned as being between nine and 10-inches-long. Mystery — as Luis Buñuel once said — is the key element in every work of art.

It’s a sign of the times: Netflix has had the audacity to sell the series as an almost feminist project. The creator of Supersex is a woman — Francesca Manieri — who was known until now as the screenwriter of L’immensità, with Penélope Cruz, or the series We Are Who We Are, by Luca Guadagnino. “The mission was to inspect masculinity and observe the level of toxicity in the relationships between men and women, as well as the possibility of a new encounter between the two at this historical moment,” says Manieri, sitting next to her object of study. In the series, the actor is played by Alessandro Borghi, who has an uncanny resemblance to him. Back in 2016, however, Siffredi said that the perfect candidate to play him was Michael Fassbender.

The Netflix series is a willful blend of soft neorealism — the misery of post-war Italy, the good-hearted prostitute, the violent brother — and the trashy imagery of Paolo Sorrentino, who strives, as Manieri indicates, to deconstruct Siffredi’s masculinity.

Has the interested party also deconstructed himself? Does he have the feeling that he has mistreated women at some point during his career?

“I don’t think I treated them badly,” Siffredi shrugs. “Maybe I understand them better, but I’ve never had the feeling of doing something wrong. I’ve often been described as a violent performer, as an actor who resorts to violent sex. But that’s never been a problem: I’ve always done it with people who consented. I’ve never [felt like] I abused anyone. I’ve always worked in collaboration with others.” He considers that this will have been his main innovation in the pornographic genre: having conferred subjectivity on women. “The funny thing is that, in porn, women have become like men. In today’s porn, the strongest [performers] are women, not men,” he emphasizes.

Rocco Siffredi, with the actresses Jade Laroche, Tarra White and Anna Polina, at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival.
Rocco Siffredi, with the actresses Jade Laroche, Tarra White and Anna Polina, at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival.Toni Anne Barson (WireImage)

When asked why he got into porn, he always answers that it was to have sex “with as many women as he could.” But there’s a second factor. “I wanted to live my life as a free being,” he claims. He would like that to be his legacy: that his body of work be understood as a hymn to freedom, which he understands as synonymous with debauchery. “The world is becoming more and more strict. We’re losing the freedom we fought for,” he says. “And, at the same time, male admirers write to me from all over the world — from Iran, from the Arab world, from Africa — and they want to be porn stars. They’re pursuing the freedom to do and be what makes them happy. That’s why I love my job.”

The actor has built a small empire in Budapest, where he lives with his wife and two children. The capital of Hungary is where he runs his production company, as well as the Siffredi Hard Academy, a kind of porn university that trains the stars of the future using extensive techniques.

Siffredi’s filmography consists of about 1,700 titles. However, unlike other actors, he claims to never revisit his work. “I’ve never masturbated to one of my movies. It’s impossible, I can’t do it. I can watch the bits with dialogue and find them funny… but nothing more. It would be too much.”

In the first episodes, Supersex talks about the difficulties he had in combining love and sex. As a young man, he used to see them as antagonistic things. Over the years, though, he’s changed his mind. “Sex with love, with feelings, is the best. It’s something insurmountable,” he affirms. “But I’m also capable of doing it without love.” The facts speak for themselves.

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