Rob Moretti Seeks ’Truth’ (With a Little Help from Sean Paul Lockhart)
Rob Moretti has built an impressive show business career, both in front of and behind the camera. Acting since the tender age of 14, Moretti has appeared in a number of films, including titles such as "Quiet Winter," "Scenes from a Mall" and "The Beat." He is also prolific director and producer, and since 1994 he has been at the helm of his own production company.
Moretti's latest project -psychological thriller Truth- witnessed him take on the roles of writer, director, producer and actor. Also starring former porn star turned actor Sean Paul Lockhart (aka Brent Corrigan), "Truth" explores the harrowing consequences of dishonesty and betrayal in a torrid gay love affair.
This past year "Truth" was screened at numerous LGBT film festivals in the States and abroad. On Jan. 10, 2014 the film opens in New York and other locations. For more on the film, visit the film's website and Facebook page.
EDGE caught up with Moretti to discuss his career, the inspiration behind the movie, and life as an 'out' actor and recovering alcoholic in Hollywood.
EDGE: Let’s start with some background. How did you first get into acting, and what motivated that decision?
Rob Moretti: I started when I was 14, and I had always wanted to do it. I remember when I was a kid I saw the movie "The Outsiders" and I was like, ’oh I could do this.’ And so I took an acting class, and I did my first movie when I was 15. And I just haven’t stopped since.
EDGE: You have your own production company, and you recently made your directorial debut with the movie ’Crutch.’ Do you prefer being in front of the camera acting, or behind it in a directorial role?
Rob Moretti: I like the fact that I have actually experienced both sides. So to direct and act at the same time, well I actually find it easier than just wearing one hat so to speak. As a director I know exactly what it is I am looking for, and I can work that into my acting - so I enjoy doing both.
A love affair going wrong
EDGE: ’Truth’ is a gay psychological thriller. Can you tell us more about the movie and what inspired that project?
Rob Moretti: Well I was actually diagnosed with a balance disorder. I got an ear infection and it caused permanent ear damage, so I spent a year and a half in physical therapy just learning how to do basic things again. And I thought my career was over. So while I was at home recovering from surgery, I just thought of this idea about a love affair going horribly wrong, and it all kind of sprung from there.
EDGE: Can you tell us more about your character and his motivations?
Rob Moretti: Certainly. I play the role of Jeremy, and I meet up with Sean’s character Caleb. And Jeremy is completely in love with Caleb. However, Jeremy soon discovers that Caleb is tortured from his past, and that he is on a bunch of different medications, and so Jeremy decides to take care of him. After that Jeremy finds Caleb cutting himself in the bathroom, and saves his life. Caleb wants to repay Jeremy and so he goes to his home with flowers, and that is when the twist of the movie takes place.
A critique of homophobia?
EDGE: Would you argue that the movie serves as a critique of homophobia? Can you speak more to the overarching themes in the movie?
Rob Moretti: Well it becomes hard to say, I think there is a lot of criticism there, but I didn’t want it to be exclusively a critique of homophobia. I mean, there are certainly those elements. It reflects a lot of the homophobia that both Sean and I experienced while growing up, but I didn’t want that to be the only message. I suppose the central theme of the movie is honesty. I want to convey the idea that honestly is vital in any relationship - whether there is age difference, or past issues or stuff like that. I think you can learn a good lesson about the consequences of dishonesty in this film.
EDGE: Was it fun working with Sean Paul Lockhart (aka Brent Corrigan)? And was it a fun movie to work on in general, despite the dark subject matter?
Rob Moretti: It was a lot of fun. Sean and I got really close! And it was hard, because there were a lot of tense scenes between us. And because the movie primarily involves two people, all Sean and I really had was each other. I actually rented a big house, and we lived there together, and it was a real bonding experience. We are still really close.
Redefining gay cinema
EDGE: There are a lot of LGBT themes in your work. Can you explain more about why those stories are important to you, and why you think they are important to tell?
Rob Moretti: I think I do want to take that LGBT theme and make it more mainstream. But I also want to redefine the way that gay cinema is made. I wanted to make a film with gay characters, but I didn’t want to make a ’gay film’ so to speak. I wanted it to be a movie where the characters just happened to be gay. And I think that is important - to move away from stereotypes. So I suppose I want to make LGBT cinema more mainstream in that way.
EDGE: You are an openly gay actor- do you feel as though your identity has ever restricted you in a professional sense?
Rob Moretti: Absolutely. But to me, at this point, I don’t care. I have done what I have done, and I have created work that I wanted to get out there. I mean I definitely think it has cost me jobs, but I like to think that is changing now, and hopefully in the future it won’t be so much of an issue. I started really young, and in the late 80’s and 90’s it was particularly difficult.
EDGE: What is next for you? Any big projects in the offing?
Rob Moretti: I am about to start a new film - a gay murder mystery. And I wanted to do that role because it is kind of kinetic, and it is totally different from what I just did in ’Truth.’ I wanted to make sure that people can see that I can do multiple different things. I am also writing a book, but that is very much a work in progress. It will be about my life in this business, and being in this business as a recovering alcoholic, on top of being gay and stuff like that.
For more on "Truth," visit the film’s website and Facebook page.
Watch the trailer to "Truth":