Chris Ward Responds to “Focus/Refocus” Controversy
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.,
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.