Ryan Phillippe: Cool Intentions
BY Brandon Voss
May 12 2010 5:00 AM ET
Since portraying televisionâ€™s first gay teen on the daytime soap One Life to Live in 1992, Ryan Phillippe has displayed as much talent as toned torso in movies including I Know What You Did Last Summer, Cruel Intentions, and Stop-Loss. The single father of two now flexes his comedy muscles as Lt. Dixon Piper in MacGruber, an â€™80s action flick spoof based on the popular Saturday Night Live sketch, which explodes into theaters May 21. Phillippe, who played bisexual in Gosford Park and the directorâ€™s cut of 54, gives us his gayest look â€” Leno be damned â€” at his own life and livelihood.
The Advocate: It blows my mind that youâ€™re 35.
Ryan Phillippe: I know. Me too, dude. It really blows my mind that I have a 10-year-old daughter, because a lot of times I still feel like a child myself.
Whatâ€™s your secret to eternal youthfulness?
People always ask if Iâ€™ve made a deal with the devil, but no, not to my knowledge. Iâ€™m health-conscious in a lot of ways, but I do drink and have fun. I guess exercise is a huge part of it, and I do a lot of saunas and steams.
Yes, the paparazzi often catches you jogging or hikingâ€”and usually without a shirt. Do you have an exhibitionist streak?
I donâ€™t think so. Thatâ€™s really a comfort factor, and I also love getting sun. One of the few situations where no one wants to be photographed is when youâ€™re working out, because youâ€™re not at your most attractive when youâ€™re all red, sweaty, and out of breath. That aspect of celebrity is very strange because Iâ€™m just a guy out trying to go for a run.
Maybe you should just let yourself go.
I wonâ€™t always be as extreme as I am now, but I donâ€™t think Iâ€™ll ever fully let myself goâ€”unless itâ€™s for a part. Feeling strong and healthy is important to me in terms of my relationship with my kids and with myself. Being active and relieving stress in the gym is a very important part of my mindset. I also find that it fights depression.
You frequently appear shirtless in your films. Do you ever feel sexually objectified?
Maybe earlier in my career, like when I did 54 and felt like I was naked the whole time. But Iâ€™m at the stage in my career where I have more control. If it doesnâ€™t make sense to me, now I wonâ€™t do something that I wouldâ€™ve just gone along with before.
Your shower scene in I Know What You Did Last Summer was also pretty gratuitous.
Completely, yeah, but I see that for what it is now. You have to get comfortable with it and realize that sexuality and finding actors attractive are a big part of the entertainment industry.
I guess thatâ€™s why White Squall looked like The Perfect Storm meets an Abercrombie & Fitch catalog. Did you know how homoerotic it was while you were shooting?
[Laughs] Not at all, but I can see that now. I was only 19, so my sense of those things wasnâ€™t that evolved yet. But itâ€™s about a bunch of boys on a boat in the Caribbean, so being half-naked seemed somewhat organic to the story.
Itâ€™s no secret that filmmaker Mark Christopher clashed with Miramax over the final editing of 54. At Outfest 2008 he held a secret screening of his directorâ€™s cut, which featured 45 minutes of unseen footage that explored your characterâ€™s bisexuality and included your kiss with costar Breckin Meyer. Do you wish the studio had honored Markâ€™s original vision?
I absolutely do. I understand the reasoning from a business standpoint, but artistically Iâ€™m 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. They had Mike Myers from Austin Powers and Neve Campbell from Scream, so they felt they could make a mall movie out of material that was a lot more edgy and honest. I did hear about that secret screening. I donâ€™t know how big of an appetite there is for it, but I would certainly support a DVD release of that version. Breckin and I were a bit sad that nobody got to see us kiss.
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