Chris Ward Responds to “Focus/Refocus” Controversy

Posted October 26, 2009 8:34 PM by with 15 comments

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I had a chance to sit down with Raging Stallion’s Chris Ward — one of gay porn’s true auteurs and someone I’m honored to call a friend — to discuss the controversy surrounding their upcoming movie, “Focus / Refocus”. Angling to be this year’s biggest gay porn blockbuster, the movie has already generated its fair share of criticism after we posted this graphic snuff scene from the movie last week.

After the jump, Chris responds to critics and gives us some insight into what to expect. But first, the world premier of the Focus / Refocus hardcore trailer:

So, is this a snuff film or what?

Chris Ward: We did not set out to make a snuff film. “Focus/Refocus” evolved in a very different way from our normal porn movies. This was a full-on R-Rated script for an independent Hollywood movie. It was offered to us by the screenwriter. Tony Dimarco and I took a look at it and thought it would make a great porn movie — we thought it had something of an Al Pacino “Cruising” feel. Obviously we kept the story — which included several violent scenes. Why buy a fully developed script and then take out the story?

So its actually not as bloody as To The Last Man?
Most of the movie is not violent at all. It’s more about voyeurism than violence. It is a film noir, just like the old films from Hollywood of the 1940s. Because its a noir, there is crime and violence. The basic story is about a serial killer who is stalking the Castro. In To The Last Man there were dozens of deaths — it was kind of like a Tarantino porn movie. In “Focus/Refocus” there is much less violence (only one death occurs on camera), but there is a heavier, darkly painted psychological subtext to much of the movie. We are offering an all-sex version of the movie for customers who do not want to see the plot with all of its violence.

Critics of plot-heavy porn often complain that plot can take away from the sex.
Luckily the sex in “Focus/Refocus” is over-the-top. The actors are top rate and the performances
are very, very good. Each of these guys knew they were part of one of the top movies of the year and they all had quality hard-ons throughout the project.,

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And you cast a “real” (non-porn) actor for one of the non-sex roles?
Joe Wicht plays the police interrogator opposite Cole Streets, and both performed up to pro
standards in their scene together. Indeed, the acting performances in this film are really outstanding. We plan to release the R-rated version into the indie-film circuit next year.

Do you think it will be as well-received as Grunts and “To The Last Man”?
It is always hard to make these kind of predictions, but I can say that Focus / Refocus is a better movie than To The Last Man and Grunts before it. I see nominations for several of the actors, and
there are excellent sex scenes in all categories worthy of nomination. I do think it will be a very, very strong contender for Best Picture of the Year.

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15 responses to Chris Ward Responds to “Focus/Refocus” Controversy

  1. Brian October 28th, 2009 at 3:25 AM

    Big Yawn
    If a gay porn video needs controversy to sell it, the sex must be very boring. It is sad that the gay porn industry is ruined by such videos. Every year Raging Stallion spends alot on one major release. Every year the video wins awards not for the sex but for the drama surrounding the video. Too bad we are not talking about the hottest sex scenes in the video but some stupid controversy.
    YAWN

    Reply

  2. boo October 28th, 2009 at 4:36 AM

    “The actors are top rate”

    No Chris, honestly they are not, they are very weak performers, and with the deepest respect to the models, they are terribly boring and incapable of generating any sexual heat or pleasure or eroticism on screen, they should not be making porn. Maybe if you hired some decent models who enjoyed having gay sex with each other, you might actually have a hit on your hands, rather than have to drag out a hackneyed and obvious circus of controversy every time you try to make porn, and always unsuccessfully, actually Chris quite honestly I don’t believe porn is your forte, maybe you should consider a change of profession.

    Reply

  3. TJ October 28th, 2009 at 1:13 PM

    I think the controversy is made up because I haven’t heard any. It’s a porno like any other movie.

    Reply

  4. porngood October 28th, 2009 at 1:21 PM

    But let me understand, there is Adam Killian in the movie?
    Raging Stallion is a grabber.
    Great ass the longhair’s guy.

    Reply

  5. Jamie October 28th, 2009 at 4:26 PM

    What a surprize! Chris Ward “responds” to the controversy… umm, what controversy, and why the need to respond? More publicity?

    Of course, the devil is in the details. Ward touts earlier this year that he, DiMarco and Leon have “completed” the script… now, it’s a script they “acquired” (justification for some of AEBN’s money?). And then, it’s “film noir” with an Al Pacino “Cruising” feel… Schizophrenia, anyone? And, of course it will win Best Picture at the GayVNs (if they’re even held)… AEBN owns them, sponsor NakedSword, and RS! It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this one out.

    But the best part is the Ward quote, “and they all had quality hard-ons throughout the project” with the picture of Steve Cruz and his softie in the picture directly beneath the quote. Too funny.

    Reply

  6. Mr Mayor October 28th, 2009 at 7:02 PM

    Looks hot to me…
    Like to see an interview or more pix of Cole Streets tho he looks like a hot guy and don’t know much about him.

    Reply

  7. Peter October 29th, 2009 at 2:20 AM

    Why do all gay porn directors think they are going to end up winning prizes at Sundance?

    Reply

  8. joey October 29th, 2009 at 10:25 AM

    I for one am a big fan of porn with plot b/c I think psychological enhances the sexual so much. Or it can, at least.

    I think the main reason why so many people aren’t fans of “Plot Porn” is because most porn directors CANT direct plot / story stuff so its ends up being so corny.

    Reply

  9. Anonymous October 29th, 2009 at 11:49 AM

    Problem isn’t the plot, it’s the models, having some guy jizz on Dave Taylor’s face is irrelevant, the point is, he acts no different pretending to be dead and pretending to be gay. RS use to claim to be a bastion for gay models, but the sold out and began using a lot of abysmal gay for pay models and now have to pull pr shit to get attention.

    Reply

  10. J October 29th, 2009 at 2:04 PM

    Peter, they think they are Sundance candidates (so to speak) because they are a little bit deluded. Quite a few went to traditional film schools, fell into porn, and think they can try to recreate the films they studied, but in a gay porn context. Very few consumers chck out porn for the plot–men don’t watch Steve Cruz get fucked because he’s a phenomenal actor…they watch him because when he’s taking the high hard one, he’s a hot mess and men love seeing that. When is RSS going to get this arty crap out of their system and get back to the business of hot films instead of artistic statements?

    Reply

  11. maxx October 31st, 2009 at 7:52 AM

    To label this film “snuff” is dumb sensationalism. The term “snuff” refers to the filming of ACTUAL murders, not fictional ones. By this standard, every Hollywood film that includes a (fictional) murder is a “snuff” film.

    Anyway, porn is already dealing with death: the thrill of any bareback film is watching someone risk their life for porn. Strictly speaking, all bareback films are (potentially, at least) snuff films.

    Reply

  12. Don Normann October 31st, 2009 at 8:01 AM

    I find the whole “controversy” thing to be quite amusing, especially since back in the ’70’s, gay porn movies were just that at times: experimental films, some of which had some pretty way-out plots. Nobody remembers the movie DRIVE, which started out in the opening frames with a simulated, but very graphic, castration. A CASTRATION. And then the movie got CRAZIER from there! Funny how all of a sudden, with all-sex vids not bringing the ‘BANG for the buck’ they used to, now the studios are going back to ‘plots’. I scripted a Hitchcock-like porn thriller nearly a decade ago that made the rounds, and although everyone pronounced it “good”, it was also called “too cinematic”, and called upon acting talents that one director sniffed “most porn stars just don’t have”. My, how times change…

    Reply

  13. Peter October 31st, 2009 at 8:57 AM

    Of course it may be that Chris Ward knows exactly what he is doing.

    I can imagine that there are large numbers of pretentious queens out there who would not consider buying gay porn unless it had some ‘artistic integrity’

    A dvd with nothing but hot hard sex is not for them, which is why a Raging Stallion film like this would be right up their alley.

    Reply

  14. Anonymous November 4th, 2009 at 11:31 AM

    Cadinot, his movies were all plot, and still rank among some of the greatest porn films ever made.

    Reply

  15. raul November 22nd, 2009 at 9:48 PM

    Most of the work from Raging Stallion Studios and nearly every other large porn factory is stillborn. So much planning, so many queens who want to be “legit” filmmakers often result in delivering over produced, stilted, passionless action that has only a passing resemblance to sensual man to man sex. Snuff film, give me a break, it has to be alive before you can kill it.

    Reply

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