54: The Director’s Cut

Ryan Phillippe at Peak Twinkiness

It coulda been a contender.

54, Mark Christopher’s celebration of the Golden Age of Studio 54, was released 17 years ago, to terrible reviews and massively disappointed audiences.  The blame for its failure can be laid at the feet of its executive producer, Harvey Weinstein, and Miramax, the studio that released the film.  They butchered and sanitized Christopher’s original movie beyond recognition, cutting 40 minutes from the 106-minute running time, demanding 30 minutes of new scenes, and substantially de-gaying what could have been a landmark film.

But we may be able to see what-might-have-been sometime soon.  A director’s cut of the film, was shown at the Berlin Film Festival last month—The Guardian gave it four out of five stars— and a digital version may be released later in this year.

54 starred Mike Myers as Steve Rubell and Ryan Phillippe, the then undisputed King of the Twinks, as Shane O’Shea, a naive New Jersey kid who gets into Rubell’s Studio 54 based on his looks, and winds up getting hired and becoming part of the late-70s Studio 54 scene.

Sample dialog:

Viv:  He’s gorgeous.  Look for yourself.
Shane O’Shea:  [voiceover]  I was warned that Steven didn’t hire any dummies and I should be on my toes because he could ask some really tricky questions.
Steve Rubell:  What’s two plus two?
Shane O’Shea:  Huh?
Steve Rubell:  You’ll be fine.

I’ve been waiting for this one since 1998.


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