The NakedSword Originals feature tackles the controversial and horrific practice of conversion therapy.
Acclaimed director Marc MacNamara has compiled a large library of award-winning hits over his long career, making a name for himself at Lucas Entertainment before moving on to Men.com (where his hit 'Pirates' picked up a GayVN award last year). But when he branched out to create a new production company (Nasty Boy Productions), it opened up a new window of opportunity—and in stepped Tim Valenti, President and CEO of NakedSword and the Falcon Studios Group.
On the eve of the launch of his new project 'A Murdered Heart' (which debuts February 12 on NakedSword.com), MacNamara took time out of his busy schedule to talk about the project.
TheSword: Tell me where the inspiration for this film came from.
Marc MacNamara: “Over 700,000 LGBTQ lives have been affected by the terrors of conversion therapy. I have been fortunate enough to be given this platform and it’s about time we stand up and say something. Some people might argue porn isn’t the place to have an opinion, but when the subject matter is sexuality and the shame and stigma being forced upon our peers—then it’s not a battle we should sit out.”
TheSword: The 2018 Hollywood feature 'Boy Erased' was one of the biggest mainstream efforts that shed a light on this issue. What have other films done right or wrong in how they tackle this issue?
Marc MacNamara: There was 'Boy Erased,' 'But I'm a Cheerleader,' 'Trapped: The Alex Cooper Story' and many others. I've seen them all. My biggest issue with many of them was that the sexuality aspect was given a light treatment in the larger story. Fortunately, for porn that's our bread and butter, so we could show the elements of sexuality and desire that was touched in small doses with mainstream attempts.
TheSword: This cast is INSANE. What can you say about this collective group and what it was like working with them?
Marc MacNamara: I had worked with Johnny (Hazzard) at Lucas and at Men, and when I wrote the role of the father I knew I wanted to pitch it to him. He read it and was on board immediately. Jessy Ares is a great friend of mine—we've filmed everywhere from Fire Island, Mykonos to Costa Rica. He was another one that I wrote the role (the pastor) with him already in mind to play it.
Ty Mitchell and Angel Rivera are very thoughtful actors and had already proven to me to be able to handle a script well. Alexander Savage came onboard for his very first scene ever with this movie and he nailed it. Cade Maddox and Colton Reece were the two Falcon exclusives who I had never met or worked with before, but I am thrilled that they were cast. Both men were focused, dedicated and brilliant in their deliveries.
Each model had a specific character and reason to be in the story—they all embodied their roles perfectly and brought to life the story that required such precise execution to work.
TheSword: What does it mean to have Johnny on board, especially because he hasn't performed much in recent years? How did that happen, and how does it feel to get to not just direct him, but direct him in such an important project?
Marc MacNamara: Johnny is the real deal. He reads the script thoroughly and steps on set in character ready to delivery his performance. That's the key to Johnny. He's a performer. He understands nuance, and he builds on what words were given to him. I mean, I directed him with “Tan Mom” once for Lucas, so I knew even though 'A Murdered Heart' would be a challenge, at least we'd been through hell together before.
TheSword: Let’s go through the cast. Share a quick thought about each, starting with Johnny Hazzard.
Marc MacNamara: Professional, focused and prepared.
TheSword: Jessy Ares
Marc MacNamara: A golden boy. There is nothing this man can't do.
TheSword: Cade Maddox
Marc MacNamara: A fucking delight. Never complains, and delivers.
TheSword: Angel Rivera
Marc MacNamara: Willing to do anything you write in the script. He is dedicated and understands the subtly of acting.
TheSword: Colton Reece
Marc MacNamara: A very intelligent and powerful presence that comes alive on screen.
TheSword: Ty Mitchell
Marc MacNamara: An angel. He is brilliant and careful with every line he delivers.
TheSword: Alexander Savage
Marc MacNamara: A newbie that on his very first scene blew us away with his physical ability.
TheSword: What is your favorite memory from the shoot?
Marc MacNamara: One of my favorite memories from the shoot was that one of our story locations required us to get into a canoe and paddle over to this rocky island. I took the equipment, cast and crew over two by two and we set up our shots. In that moment, no one complained, no one looked at me crazy or questioned why and what was happening—every model gave me their trust, and they believed in the story. So at that point, I knew we had something special on our hands.
TheSword: We get to see you in front of the camera (sadly with clothes on!). How important was that for you, and how comfortable are you in that role?
Marc MacNamara: So I wasn't supposed to be in the movie—that was never the plan! We had an extra who called out the day of the shoot, so I grabbed a pair of our crew's dad jeans, slapped on some fake glasses and slapped the shit out of Ty Mitchell—which was lovely. I wrote the lines, so luckily I knew them already because I had zero time to learn anything, as I had to teach a PA how to work the camera to film me.
TheSword: How challenging—and satisfying—was this experience for you as a director?
Marc MacNamara: I have to say this was one of the easiest projects I've ever filmed. I believed in the story so much and knew every shot and angle I wanted to capture that once on set, everything flowed naturally. It also helped that every model knew their character and lines perfectly.
Thanks Marc! We can’t wait to see it on NakedSword!
Check out the first scene of A Murdered Heart tomorrow on NakedSword, featuring Angel Rivera and Alexander Savage! In the meantime, here’s a softcore trailer to get you ready!