Director Matt Tyrnauer on Getting ‘Studio 54’s Ian Schrager to Tell His Story for the First Time

     February 5, 2018

As always at the Sundance Film Festival, there were premieres for a host of new documentaries, including Studio 54, the new film from director Matt Tyrnauer (Valentino: The Last Emperor). Shortly before seeing the film, Tyrnauer visited the Collider Studio at Sundance for an exclusive video interview. He talked about why he was interested in this subject, getting Ian Schrager to tell his story for the first time, how he “struck gold” with previously unseen film footage from Studio 54, what he learned in the editing and screening process, the cultural impact of Studio 54, and so much more. In addition, he talked about the movie he’s making about Roy Cohn and where he’s is in that process.


Image via Sundance Institute

If you’ve never heard of Studio 54, it was founded and created by Ian Schrager and Steve Rubell, and became the most popular nightclub in New York City in the late 70s because of the celebrity cliental and constant media coverage. Everyone wanted to get inside, and only those judged worthy by the people running the door would be allowed entrance. Each night hundreds of people would line up waiting to get in only to be told to just go home. But if you were one of the lucky ones to get inside, people felt free to do anything and everything they wanted without judgement from the outside world. Back in the late 70s, homophobia was rampant, and being transgender was unheard of in the mainstream media, so having a place where you could be yourself meant so much to so many people. It was that melting pot of people from every walk of life that became one of the reasons for the popularity of the club – that and the way Studio 54 constantly reinvented itself every night with different themes.

Check out what Matt Tyrnauer had to say in the player above and below is exactly what we talked about followed by the synopsis.

kia supper suiteFinally, a huge thank you to everyone at Kia and The Future Party for helping to make these interviews happen at the Kia Supper Suite and offering up transportation in the all new Kia Stinger high performance Sportback for our guests. We’d also like to thank Altec Lansing, Kunde Wines, Blue Moon Brewing, and Topo Chico for their support.

Matt Tyrnauer:

  • Talks about how long he tried to get the movie made and why he wanted to tell this story.
  • Discusses getting Ian Schrager to tell his story for the first time.
  • Says he “struck gold” with previously unseen film footage from Studio 54.
  • How hard was it to secure financing?
  • Talks about determining the running time for a documentary.
  • How long was the first cut of the film?
  • Did he ever consider a longer version of the film on another platform?
  • What did he learn in the editing and screening process?
  • Talks about why the subject of the story shouldn’t be involved in the making of it.
  • Discusses the cultural impact of Studio 54 and what the movie is about.
  • Talks about the movie he’s making about Roy Cohn and where he’s at in the process.

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