Ryan Phillippe says he's looking forward to a planned digital release of the director's cut of "54" because it will restore, among other things, a steamy kiss between him and co-star Breckin Meyer that was left on the editing room floor.
“There was a part of us that was a little sad nobody ever got to see it,” Phillippe told New York Magazine's Vulture of the same-sex kiss which, in case you've forgotten, would have been included in a 1998 film years before "Brokeback Mountain," "Milk" and other Hollywood blockbusters that feature gay love scenes ever hit cinemas.
That fact is not lost on the 40-year-old actor, who played Studio 54 "It Boy" Shane O'Shea in the movie.
“We did something that was relatively bold for two young male actors, and we took pride in the places that the original story went," he added. "So, it’s nice that people finally get to see Breckin and me kiss."
Low-quality footage of the kiss made its way online in 2013, five years after writer-director Mark Christopher's original cut of "54" played to a sold-out crowd at New York's Outfest. For the screening, about 45 minutes of footage (including the aforementioned smooch between Phillippe and Meyer) were added back into the movie, which bombed at the box office in its initial 1998 release and currently has a 13 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
That version, Philippe added, "captures the freedom" of the late 1970s and early '80s, the time period in which the movie is set, but also "the impending sobriety that would come with AIDS. It resonates.”
Phillippe had previously expressed his regrets over the final version of the film in a 2010 interview with The Advocate's Brandon Voss, noting that he had been "against the changes that were made because I feel like there was a better movie there to begin with."
"We thought we were making something like 'Boogie Nights' because it was about a time of complete sexual abandon, but the studio watered it down," he said at the time, calling the original cut "more edgy and honest."