Studio 54 co-founder Ian Schrager opens up about the iconic club in an acclaimed upcoming documentary that just landed a distribution deal in Cannes.
“I haven’t spoken about it for almost 40 years,” the club owner turned top Public and Edition hotelier told us. “Because I’d been so quiet … people took liberties remembering what happened.”
The club owner quipped to us, paraphrasing a line once told to Berry Gordy: “If the lion doesn’t tell the story, the hunters will.”
The doc, “Studio 54,” by Matt Tyrnauer — which has been dubbed “thrilling and definitive” by Variety at Sundance — was bought in the US last week by Zeitgeist Films and Kino Lorber. The film charts how Brooklyn boys Schrager and Steve Rubell met in college and set about to successfully create the perfect club.
“I was thinking of a very different film,” says Schrager of the project. “I wanted to tell a story of New York and the times.”
Instead, “The film they actually did, I felt very exposed. Nothing was off limits — except I wasn’t interested in talking about other people. My life, I was more than happy.”
He says that after the film wrapped, “My daughter said, ‘All the parts you are uncomfortable with are the best parts.’”
The club defined an era despite being open just 33 months.
“It was a gut-wrenching experience to me and Steve, the highs and lows,” Schrager recalled to Page Six. “You can see Steve and I really exposed … not a lot of people know what it was like. It was a really traumatic and emotional experience: It was almost like a Frankenstein monster that tried to kill its creators.”
Beyond the club’s A-list clientele, “When you were in there you achieved an absolute sense of freedom and that’s why people are still fascinated.”
He says of the film project: “I just wish Steve were around to see it and enjoy it. Because it almost destroyed us. It’s like having an illness — you get better but you’ll always have scars.”
There is already Oscar buzz building.
“That would be a storybook ending,” says Schrager.
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