Ondi Timoner dishes on the untold--and undressed--story of ’Mapplethorpe: The Director’s Cut’

April 2, 2021
Robert Mapplethorpe would be happy.

The 2018 eponymous biopic of his life met with mixed reviews when it debuted in theatres, and with good reason: it was -not- the film writer/director Ondi Timoner made. Due to various behind-the-scenes issues, the producers recut the film against Timoner's wishes removing several key scenes which hurt the film's narrative.

Now, Timoner--the longtime documentarian--has her vindication. 'Mapplethorpe: The Director's Cut' debuts on streaming April 2. This new version of the film restores Timoner's original vision, and makes clear the origins of Robert Mapplethorpe's fascination with BDSM, his corrosive and often contradictory personality, and ultimate death from AIDS. This unrated version of the film also features no shortage of sexual situations and full-frontal nudity.

'Mapplethorpe: The Director's Cut' represents Timoner's proper debut as a narrative director after years of working in documentary film. Her 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,' her feelings about the man himself, and her transition to narrative filmmaking. 'Mapplethorpe: The Director's Cut' debuts on streaming April 2.

Video editor: David Beerman