In the U.S. on a grueling shooting schedule, XBIZ caught up with the hard worker when he took a breather (for about a minute) in Woodland Hills.
XBIZ: You’re not only back in the U.S., you’re back in front of the camera, too. Why here and why now?
SIFFREDI: When I came back as an actor I really decided that doing it for real would mean only first-rate work. To do it right, do it the Rocco way — that gave me a reason to come back in front of the camera here [in America]. The bottom line reason is the Internet, of course, and with all I have going it is important for me, like everyone. In order to keep my good contracts, to keep focused on my production, quality must always be number one. Always.
XBIZ: What’s different about working with the American girls?
SIFFREDI: I work with all the European girls — Hungarian, French, Russian, Czech, Italian — but I still need the American stars, because they are known worldwide. I do ask myself why it took me so long to come back to America, and to acting. The reason is the market, as well as my style, the way we shoot. We shoot personality, and it is so much easier to get personality out of the American girls. Sometimes they overdo it, but if you know how to correct them, calm them down, then it’s all good. I often need to tone down the American girls, but pump up the Hungarian and Eastern European girls.
XBIZ: So, 25 years later, you’re still going strong, right?
SIFFREDI: Yes, all the way. I have been lucky in this business, for so many years I’ve been having fun. I have never been so happy in front of the camera. When I was 22 or 23 I used to see those older guys like Randy West, and wonder what they were doing in the business. I never thought girls wanted to fuck the older guy, but now that I am one I understand more about women, how to treat them, better than I did 20, 10, even five years ago.
I can be hard, I can be soft, and either way they trust me, which gives me great pleasure. I may have a reputation as a hardcore guy, but I am 45 so at first I was wondering if I could keep up with those girls. It was a little bit of a challenge, but I still found it very, very good. I didn’t expect to be back into it like I was, but it is true what people say, what my wife says, that I was born to be in front of the camera. I finished this one incredible scene, and [the girl] says, “I can’t believe I took all of you, Rocco.” For her it was a great new thing, because some of these young girls don’t know who I am.
But they’re finding out, and everybody else is, too, because anything I do, anywhere, is — what’s the word? — being Tweeted, everything is being sent out every second with these little Tweets. All this new technology is really giving us all the information in one second, good and bad, everything.
XBIZ: How is the business in Europe today?
SIFFREDI: Business is bad over there, very bad. The major change is that the producers stopped producing or they became so cheap you can’t even imagine it. I spent a fortune growing my production business in Budapest, very professional, going in the opposite direction than others. I made very big decisions, the others have made decisions to go small, and the business is falling apart. It keeps spiraling downward because of the markets and the pricing. I hope this will soon be over, but it will take courage — also quality product and some patience.
XBIZ: What are performers doing to turn things around? What are the producers and studios doing?
SIFFREDI: Most of the top European actors are already over here working, even Tony Ribas — but not all of them, not the ones who are mostly established over there. The good performers are coming here, and for their whole visa period they work and work. As for the companies, nobody comes together in Europe. They all operate independently, no one is getting together in Europe to fight piracy or make a strategy about [tube sites].
We are in Budapest, with others in England, Germany and a few other countries, not in one country like [the U.S.]. We do need to speak together, but after talking, it will take lots of time, money and energy to be effective. In their hearts, everybody would love to do this but no one wants to start it, make the first move or spend the first money.
XBIZ: What about the European governments? Are they doing anything about the piracy issue?
SIFFREDI: With piracy in the other industries, the government did something for them, for the [mainstream] movies and music biz. Sure, they love to fight for them, their favorite movie stars and singers. The government will not fight for us, for our rights, in Italy or anywhere else in Europe, either. Still, all the big satellite companies and hotels and networks make money with porn, but they will never put their faces out front. The main problem is that our business, even though it’s legal in America, is never accepted, and only a minority of people watching it will admit to it. Of course, it’s not even legal in Europe, and here or there, what they really want is our taxes and money, when the fact is that everyone is watching.
XBIZ: Now, in Europe you’re not just known for porn. You also endorse products. Are you headed for TV, too?
SIFFREDI: They call me to do tons of reality shows, but I have my own plan for a show. They always refuse my plans, because I want to do something real, showing that this business of ours is hard work, not something anyone can improvise as an amateur. I want to show that you need to be born for it, but even then you have to learn, learn to be better and do better, which is the Rocco way. Something like “Rocco’s Academy,” teaching the people how to have great sex and make it into real porn. I know exactly what I am doing, so I know I can teach, without being pretentious, and help so many.
XBIZ: Have you changed your ideas on some things since we last spoke?
SIFFREDI: When we spoke in 2006, I was retiring, now three going on four years later, even if I were making just a few scenes, I would not retire. I came back to do good work, and only want to do good work. My wife is incredible. She told me recently that she was glad to see me finally happy again. She said that she saw a different face on me, that I was sort of reborn. I have two incredible boys, and was hoping to retire because my boys were 8 and 6. Now they are older, but I don’t need to retire just because the boys are a certain age. My wife also said, “You’re Italian, carry on with your Italian character, and be exactly who you are. You were born to do this, Rocco.” Who wouldn’t love a woman like that?
XBIZ: Clearly your family and your work make you happy. What makes you mad?
SIFFREDI: I am pissed off because we get more and more piracy so we can’t spend money to do the best movies, the bigger and better ones. One of the last movies I did [in the U.S.] had a $450,000 budget, all kinds of motocross bikes, 80 girls, great sets, all first rate. Who can do this now? Nobody. If piracy keeps going like it is, we will all be broke, everybody, the whole industry. At the moment I am working and producing, too, spending 50 to make 52, but still making money in America. Europe? No way, not now. Over here [in America] I am with the big stars, doing the great scenes, because I want to remain credible. It takes money, because I care enough, I will make money later and will still have good movies to share with all the people who really care about quality porn.
XBIZ: What’s it going to take to turn things around?
SIFFREDI: When there are big problems, like the world economy and the crisis in our own industry, that is the moment real leaders need to show the people that they are working hard and taking it seriously. I am here to show the people what I can do. It matters.