Franco Trentalance: A Star Is Porn

Our interview with the intellectual pornstar who became a writer.

Franco Trentalance
Photo by Cristina Pravato

Our interview with the intellectual pornstar who became a writer

Everybody’s life is like a book: pages, paragraphs and chapters follow one another creating exciting stories and sleepings breaks. Franco Trentalance is a radio-television star who became a book author. Before, he was a pornstar of international renown, protagonist of uncommon storylines that he shared in his autobiography. I was pleased to interview him, confirming that creative people like Franco are the best library from which to draw on stories and valuable tips.

Franco, from former international pornstar to writer, essayist and mental coach: you do realize to be a man who has brilliantly overcome the barrier of clichés?

Thanks, I trust your judgement. I’ve always had many interests in my life and I just gave them space at different times and in different ways. Still, I justify the clichés, there’s an explanation for that: our brains are not willing to do extra work, like revising concepts which are already stuck in the mind. Therefore, we often give labels which are hard to break.

In your latest book — “L’origine delle Tenebre” (The Origin of Darkness) — you quoted a phrase by Kafka which says “a man might possibly has escaped from Sirens singing — as happened to Ulysse — but from their silence, certainly never.” Is your desire for communication perhaps an escape from a seemingly attractive but often judged and silenced world, such as that of porn?

Not really. I’ve always loved communicating with people and I did so also during my career as pornstar with actresses, colleagues, directors, producers, fans… I wrote for the triple-X magazine Video Impulse and — not surprisingly — I presented on many occasions Festivals and Awards in the field. I’ve never felt misunderstood or limited by what I was doing. This should apply for everyone.

What did you think about porn before becoming a star? And what do you think about it after retiring?

I had the idea that it was a good job and that — if i was able to do it right — it would let me travel, have sex with beautiful girls and make money. Just like the career of a sports champion. That’s what actually happened, and I am very pleased with my twenty year of porn career, which includes 445 movies and 27 among awards and honors.

Franco Trentalance and the awards he achieved in his porn career. Photo by Gianluca Diozzi

Let’s move on to your literary works: were you already passionate about horror and psychological thrillers or did you choose this kind of books for the adrenaline, shock and emotional reactions they can arouse in the readers?

I was passionate about them since I was a teenager, when I used to read comics like Kriminal, Diabolik or Le Storie dello Zio Tibia (Uncle Creepy). I like to explore territories that aren’t my own in the real world, investigating through the mechanisms of the human mind. I am not a psychologist, but I am close [laughing]. After all, meeting thousands of men and women of different age and nationality, requires dedication, curiosity, patience and precisely a good dose of psychology. Finally, I do not deny that I like to hear the comments of my readers, including the frightened reactions to the executions carried out by the serial killers I have created.

Luca Graf, protagonist of the novels ‘Tre Giorni di Buio’ (Three Days of Darkness) and ‘L’Origine delle Tenebre’, is a sort of alter ego of yours. Is Franco Trentalance also an investigator in the everyday life?

Maybe I am more than an investigator, I am an observer and an elaborator of ideas. I let the fantasy go, after blending it with reasoning. For example, I recently walked for five days on the paths of the historical Via Francigena through Tuscany, and, when I met other people, I thought to myself how I could make them disappear without rousing suspicion or being detected. Obviously, it is just a fantasy: actually, we had a little talk and offered each other some supplements or a slice of cheese.

In the book ‘Il Guardiano del Parco’ (The Park Guardian), the story is set close to your birthplace, Bologna. How connected do you feel to your territory? What are the best memories of your youth?

In this novel (which has also become a graphic novel entitled Bloody Park) the scenario is mainly that of the Apennines mountains between Emilia-Romagna and Tuscany, because it is an area that I know well and that offers natural landscapes very similar to those described in the novel. Furthermore, the female lead Alba Scott studies Arts at the University of Florence, so the situations had to develop around that area. Having said that, I like my region and my native city, but i feel at home anywhere in Italy, and this is also true for some European countries such as Spain, France, Germany, Hungary, Czech Republic… However, I’d like to get to know better the United Kingdom besides London, and I would like to go to Portugal, where I haven’t been yet. As regards my memories, I don’t give them much thought, simply because I focus on the present and future projects. What happened — even though it was beautiful — belongs to the past and interests me up to a point.

Would you like to translate your books into English, so that international readers can appreciate your writing skills?

Absolutely, I’d love to. It is one of the objectives that I hope to achieve soon. Sure, you need to be a little patient… as with women, after all [laughing]. As I mentioned before, I like the tag of international writer: this would give me once again the chance to travel for work, through meetings and presentations. By the way, do you know a good English publisher?

Franco Trentalance posing with his books. photo by Max Girvasi

Six out of ten Italians don’t read books: is it because they are conditioned from the belief that ‘the culture can not eat’, or are they simply more passively attracted to cinema and television?

It is a sore spot. We Italians are among the lasts in Europe by books read. Of course, videos are very impactful, easy and fast, but reading preserves a unique charm, as well as being very useful for each of us. Not everyone thinks of that, but reading triggers areas of your cerebral cortex like no other activity. Also, it helps us to have more empathy, concentration, fantasy, imagination and — in the case of thrillers — it increases our ability to solve problems in everyday life.

Tell us a book, a movie and a song representing the leitmotif of your life.

Three straight titles? ‘Illusions’ by Richard Bach; ‘Being There’ directed by Hal Ashby with Peter Sellers, and the album ‘Older’ by George Michael.

And finally, tell us the menu you would choose for a first date.

Good question. Actually, one of the first rules in seduction is to gather information about the person we fancy. I could cook the finest steak in the world or prepare a wonderful cheese fondue, but if she is veggie or allergic to dairy, I’m on the wrong track. It is therefore essential — before thinking about any menu — to know what she likes or dislikes, wines and beers included. I personally love fresh pasta (tagliatelle, lasagne and tortellini), fish — including the Sushi variant — and sometimes a big grilled steak. And to drink, a craft brew Pale ale from the UK or a bottle of wine Lagrein from the mountains of South Tyrol.

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