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But why, in a movie about a gay man dying of AIDS, was that man not seen sharing a kiss or lying in bed with his partner? In regard to a deleted scene that showed Hanks and his boyfriend (played by Antonio Banderas) being afectionate in bed, Nyswaner explains that Demme told him the scene “stopped the story.” He continues, “There may have been hesitation on our part to push the mainstream too far, but that’s only because we can’t tell fortunes. But we did know that we didn’t want to make something only people in New York City and Los Angeles would go see. We wanted to make a successful, mainstream movie, and we did.” As for Philadelphia’s critics (like Kramer), Nyswaner seems resolved to tip his hat and keep on walking. “Larry Kramer is an icon who changed the world and God bless him,” he says, “but what he thinks about my movie is of no interest to me.” And Kramer, however revered and experienced, is only one person with an opinion. “A few years after the film came out,” Nyswaner says, “a 19-year-old straight girl came up to me and said, ‘I am HIV positive, and I was tortured about how to tell my family. And one night they happened to rent your movie. We sat and watched it together, and at the end, I just stood up and told them, I have what he has. And they all gathered

Antonio Banderas and Tom Hanks in a scene from Philadelphia

and hugged me.’” More than two decades after Philadelphia first propelled a storm of HIV/ AIDS conversations, Nyswaner and the rest of us now live in a world in which PrEP is available to some and AIDS is no longer a death sentence for many. It’s a new era—with a new narrative and a new cast of characters. “The demographics of the AIDS epidemic are diferent today than they were in 1993,” Louie acknowledges. “Today, AIDS is everywhere and is owned by everyone. Back then, it was largely still a disease among white gay men in urban areas. Or at least that’s how it was perceived. Now, for example, across the country, black and Latino men who have sex with other men are disproportionately impacted by HIV.” In the age of PrEP, what would a contemporary take on Philadelphia look like? Perhaps one that recognizes prejudice as a lingering shadow. “If I could produce a film about HIV/AIDS for today’s audiences, I would produce one that spoke to the fact that homophobia, stigma, and discrimination are still alive and well in the United States,” Louie says. “I’d also show that a lack of access to prevention and treatment is still crippling for many populations afected, particularly gay black males in the South and people in the trans community. And I would show that there is hope, and there is help to be had, but that hope and help take resources, understanding, and grace. That’s a movie I’d like to see.” The 25th anniversary release of Philadelphia on 4K Ultra HD is available November 27. OUT NOVEMBER 2018 43

Out mag 11-2018  

Fashion

Out mag 11-2018  

Fashion

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