Johnny Hazzard sheds gay porn for ‘Tiger Orange’

The name “Frankie Valenti” may not ring a bell, but his face and body might set off something else. Valenti, known to many as adult film actor Johnny Hazzard, is making a career shift with his role in the drama “Tiger Orange.”

The film, and Valenti’s efforts to move from his award-winning porn career on the small screen to movies on the big ones, continues the 27th Annual Out on Film Festival on Saturday. Valenti, along co-star Mark Strano and director Wade Gasque, will attend the screening and take part in a Q&A with the audience. With those looks and his background, it’s little wonder that Valenti tops our take on the Top 10 hunkiest Out on Film hunks.

In “Tiger Orange,” Valenti makes his big-screen debut as Todd, a gay man returning to his small-town home after the latest in a string of relationships blows up in his face. Along with his (also gay) older brother Chet, whose more restrained nature clashes with Todd’s wild-child presence, he begins to deal with his issues regarding their father and the different paths the two brothers have taken in life.

Valenti is noticeably at ease in the role, something he attributes to the character.

“It was a very similar role to my real-life existence,” he says during an interview while on an overseas trip. Even though the nature of the material is different from his previous projects, Valenti said that production wasn’t that different for him. “I have clothes on, and there’s a script. That’s about it.&rdquot;

“Tiger Orange” has screened at other festivals around the country, and major film trade publications have highlighted Valenti’s performance in the film. “There’s no question that Valenti walks away with the film. Energetic and effortlessly charismatic, he epitomizes a spirit of defiance that can be seductive but also maddening,” the Hollywood Reporter notes.

The praise hasn’t gone unnoticed by Valenti, who calls it “refreshing and deserving.”

Expect to see more from Valenti in the future. While he’s not sure what’s next for him professionally, he says, “I’ll be returning to LA after New Year’s, and then I’ll start playing the Hollywood game.”

In the meantime, he’ll be promoting “Tiger Orange” and join Strano and Gasque on Saturday for a chat with the audience. It marks a return trip to Atlanta for Valenti, who bared some of his assets during the Big Gay Game Show at Jungle in January 2013 (second photo) as he was in town to promote a new line of organic t-shirts. Before that appearance, he talked with Project Q about his transition away from porn, a career that launched in 2003.

While in Atlanta this weekend, Valenti isn’t quite sure what he’ll do – “it’s only two days,” he says. You may have some suggestions for him.

“Tiger Orange” screens Saturday, Oct. 4 at Midtown Art Cinema, 9 p.m., with Frankie Valenti, Mark Strano and director Wade Gasque in attendance.

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Originally published on Project Q Atlanta.

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