The “Directors Cut” version of the film Studio 54 will introduce a whole new audience to a cult classic that unveils the glitter and excesses of the disco era inside the most famous discotheque ever. Nearly 20 years later, the director’s cut of 54 has arrived on digital platforms like iTunes and Amazon.
In 1998, audiences were introduced to 54, a glitzy drama that followed handsome young busboy Shane (Ryan Phillippe) as he is tempted by the excesses of the legendary Studio 54. But the version of 54 that hit theaters wasn’t the movie out filmmaker Mark Christopher envisioned. Instead, audiences saw a 93-minute, neutered version of the film that was scrubbed of its more complex elements—including Shane’s bisexuality. Now, Christopher has finally managed to complete the version of “54” that everyone signed up to make in the first place: the story of three friends — a busboy , a bartender (Breckin Meyer) and a coat-check girl (Salma Hayek) — and the sordid love triangle that nearly tore them apart, set against the glittery excess of New York’s Studio 54 dance club. That was the version everyone shot, until a set of disastrous test screenings changed the film’s fate forever. A sex scene with Meyer and Phillipe has been restored in the director’s cut. But even the sanitized version was notorious for its homoerotic undertones: “The subtext was still there,” says Christopher. “You can’t cut out subtext. You can’t cut out the way someone is lit.”