Ondi Timoner tells the untold – and undressed – story of ‘Mapplethorpe: The Director’s Cut’

April 2, 2021

Robert Mapplethorpe would be happy.

The eponymous 2018 biopic of His Lifetime met mixed reviews on its theatrical debut, and for good reason: it was -not- writer / director Ondi Timoner. Due to various behind-the-scenes issues, the producers re-cut the film against Timoner’s wishes by removing several key scenes that detract from the narrative of the film.

Now Timoner – the longtime documentary maker – has his rationale. “ Mapplethorpe: The Director’s Cut ” premieres on streaming April 2. This new version of the film restores Timoner’s original vision and clearly shows the origins of Robert Mapplethorpe’s fascination with BDSM, his corrosive and often contradictory personality, and the ultimate death from AIDS. This unlisted version of the film is also not lacking in sexual situations and frontal nudity.

“Mapplethorpe: The Director’s Cut” represents Timoner’s debut as a narrative director after years of working in documentary film. His previous films “Dig”, “We Live in Public” and “Brand” all dealt with similar iconoclastic artists.

We chatted with Timoner about the differences in the restored version of “Mapplethorpe,” his feelings about the man himself, and his transition to narrative filmmaking. “ Mapplethorpe: The Director’s Cut ” premieres on streaming April 2.

Video editor: David Beerman

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