The 1998 erotic thriller “Wild Things,” which celebrates its 25th anniversary today, was almost a different movie for a variety of reasons.
The film’s director John McNaughton revealed new details about the production, including a twist with Matt Dillon and Kevin Bacon’s characters.
“Wild Things” features Dillon pulling off an extortion scheme with high schoolers played by Neve Campbell and Denise Richards, under the nose of Bacon’s police detective character.
In the third act though, it’s revealed Dillon and Bacon were the ones in cahoots. And in a new interview with Yahoo Entertainment, McNaughton said they were more than just partners in crime. In the script, written by Stephen Peters, there was supposed to be a shower scene that would have revealed them as lovers as well.
WHY KEVIN BACON REFUSES TO SHARE THE SECRET TO HIS 35-YEAR MARRIAGE TO KYRA SEDGWICK
The director told the outlet, “In the original version of the scene, Matt walks into his bathroom to take a shower and there’s Kevin. They were supposed to look each other up and down and then wham — go at it.”
However, McNaughton said that just before cameras rolled, one of the actors made it clear he didn’t want to film the scene, and that plot element was dropped.
He does not specify which actor objected, but as the director, he took it in stride.
“I love surprise, and I love stuff that I don’t see coming,” he said. “But in that moment it was like, ‘You win some, you lose some; we’re moving on.'”
Both Bacon and Dillon have discussed the dropped scene in previous interviews.
In 2005, Bacon told Total Film he thought the reveal was “great” but blamed the film’s financiers for having the scene canceled, claiming, “[They] didn’t like the idea of men making out.”
Dillon also spoke with Total Film separately in 2005, and admitted, “I was relieved when they got rid of that scene.” He also said, “Kevin seemed pretty attached to it, though!”
WHERE KATIE HOLMES, MICHELLE WILLIAMS AND OTHER ‘DAWSON’S CREEK’ STARS ARE 25 YEARS LATER
Despite the sexual relationship between Bacon and Dillon’s characters being dropped, audiences do get an unexpected surprise in the shower scene that exists. Bacon turns to speak with Dillon and flashes a brief moment of full-frontal nudity.
The director insists it was an accidental moment caught on camera. “The idea was that Matt would grab a towel and throw it at him,” he recalled. “We did multiple takes where you never saw any full-frontal on Kevin. But around the eighth take, the towel thing didn’t work. Matt threw it, and Kevin missed so there he was in all his glory!”
He didn’t intend to use that take until his long-time editor, Elena Maganini, argued that should be the one used in the film, citing nudity equity between the male and female cast members.
“I went to see our latest cut, and there was Take 8 of that scene, which was not supposed to be there. I told her, ‘Elena, we can’t use that take.’ And she said, ‘It’s not fair! You guys have scene after scene after of topless babes. This is one for us.'”
Bacon okayed the inclusion of his nudity, according to McNaughton.
“Kevin was friends with ‘Wild Things’ producer, Steve Jones, so he called him and asked if he could use that take. What I heard from Steve is that Kevin asked, ‘How do I look?’ Steve said, ‘You look fine,’ and so Kevin went, ‘No problem.’ He’s not a particularly squeamish guy,” he said.
McNaughton told Yahoo Entertainment there are still hints at the true nature of the character’s relationship in the final cut, specifically a bar scene that plays during the film’s credits.
‘DIRTY DANCING’ CAST: WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
The film is infamous for a different same sex make out session between Campbell and Richards, as well as a later scene with a threesome between the girls and Dillon.
McNaughton acknowledged that if the film were being made today, there would be an intimacy coordinator on set for the sexual scenes, but doesn’t take issue with the concept.
“I haven’t worked with an intimacy coordinator yet,” he said. “It’s sort of like when you get a dialect coach: Some of these people can be control freaks, and that’s awful for a director. But if you get a good one I’m sure it’s fine.”
However, he admitted the overall content of the story, with two underage high school girls engaging in sex with their guidance counselor, would be a harder sell for studios today.
“It’s impossible to know for sure, but probably not,” McNaughton said of the possibility of making the same film now. “Maybe in 20 years, the pendulum will swing back again, but now it’s swung pretty far in the other direction.”
He added, “I will say that we played it for the lurid aspect, but also the fun. You go to movies like ‘Wild Things’ to see this kind of story told, and I didn’t want to back off. When I read the script, the one thing that really clicked with me was the human behavior — as far-fetched as this all might seem, it felt like it could actually happen. Especially in a place like South Florida!”
‘HAPPY DAYS’ STARS: WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
There was also apparently a significant casting change.
According to the director, Robert Downey Jr. was almost cast in Dillon’s role, but his addiction and legal woes at the time made the studio reluctant to hire him.
McNaughton also claims the actor was difficult to reach at the time because of his sponsor.
“He had this real character as a sponsor who — as so often happens in Hollywood — had a little more control over Downey’s movements than he probably should have,” McNaughton said. “Downey was in Savannah, and we were in Miami, and the insurance company wanted a huge amount of money to insure him, which the studio wasn’t happy about. So I said, ‘I’ll fly to Savannah and make sure everything’s cool, and then we can proceed.’ But his go-between kept screwing around! I was ready to get on the plane, and I couldn’t finalize the meeting, so the studio said, ‘We’re going with Matt Dillon.'”
CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR THE ENTERTAINMENT NEWSLETTER
Regardless, McNaughton is happy with the casting as it happened.
“As my dear mother used to say, ‘Everything happens for a reason,'” the director said. “Matt was a better choice for that particular role.”
“Wild Things” earned $30 million during its theatrical run and spawned some direct to video sequels, which McNaughton was not involved in.
The film was described as “trash” by many critics upon its release, but has ultimately found life as a cult classic.
McNaughton summed it up, “I was trying to make a commercial movie and there are two elements that make a commercial movie: sex and violence,” he said. “So with ‘Wild Things,’ I was like, ‘Okay, America, you want sex, and you want violence — here you go! How much of this can you take?'”
Source: Fox News