See the passionate kiss that was edited out of the film “54″ between Ryan Phillippe and Breckyn Meyer
Let’s face it, the 1998 feature film 54 was a big disappointment.
Blame the studio.
The original cut by writer-director Mark Christopher never saw yhe light of day in theaters but it was far superior – and far gayer.
I saw the movie the way it was supposed to be seen at a “secret screening” at Outfest about five years ago and began advocating for a DVD of that version to be released.
It hasn’t happened.
But one thing that has happened, just this week, is footage of co-stars Ryan Phillippe and Breckin Meyer sharing a passionate kiss.
The video/audio quality of this video is horrible because came from a work print. Hopefully one day a proper version will be released.
So back to that 2008 screening of the film at the Outfest film festival. I was in the audience that night at the now-shuttered Fairfax Theatre and it was stunning to see how different – and far superior – the director’s original version was from the mess the studio ordered.
That version included additional scenes ordered by the studio beefing up a relationship between Phillippe’s character and a soap actress played by Neve Campbell.
The film was released in 1998 ago and also starred Salma Hayak, Mike Myers, and Sela Ward, among others. It chronicled the rise and fall of the famed NYC hotspot of the 1970s. Phillippe’s character is bisexual in the director’s version and Meyer’s character also seems ready to dabble in some man-on-man action.
We also get to see a bit more of a then-unknown actor named Cameron Mathison (All My Children) who was only seen briefly in the studio version. And his character is gay! We did not know this from before. But in the director’s cut, he’s in a relationship with one of the other bartenders and they even share a passionate kiss.
When I ran into Cameron a few years ago, I mentioned to him that he’s in the recut version a lot more than the one that was in theaters where he is only seen fleetingly.
“Am I? I’ve gotta check that out!” he said. “The scene in the restaurant where we’re throwing around all the drug paraphenalia?”
Yes. And I reminded him of the “lip on lip man on man action he was involved with.
“Oh yeah! That was my first on-screen kiss!” he said. “Was it with Ryan or was it with somebody else?”
I remind him that he had a boyfriend in the movie. Sounding disappointed that it wasn’t Phillippe, Cameron said: “Oh. Did I?”
Cameron was unaware of the secret Outfest screening and unaware that another version even existed. But he was supportive of the original seeing the light of day: “Absolutely. That’s the story that Mark Christopher wanted to tell and it sounds like he did it. Good for him.”
I think this film would have grossed far more than $16.6 million at the domestic box office if it had felt more complete and been more satisfying.