“Philadelphia” Screenwriter Ron Nyswaner On How The Movie Got Made, Who Passed On It, And More: WATCH

philadelphia ron nyswaner

Philadelphia, the first film from a major Hollywood studio to tackle the AIDS epidemic—and the first serious dramatic role for Oscar winner Tom Hanks—turns 20 this year. The epidemic has evolved greatly since then—thanks to the advent of new and better medications—but a  new complacency has emerged as well, as a generation who never saw the ravages of the disease on the gay community comes of age.

NewNowNext spoke with Ron Nyswaner, Philadelphia’s Oscar-nominated screenwriter and an outspoken LGBT advocate, about how the film got made, the bedroom scene that never made it in the final cut, and the film’s legacy two decades later. On November 12, Nyswaner joins the film’s director, Jonathan Demme, and several cast members, at “Philadelphia” Twenty Years Later: Narrative and the Epidemic“, a panel at Columbia University Medical Center.



“Philadelphia Twenty Years Later: Narrative and the Epidemic” will be held November 12 at Columbia University Medical Center’s Alumni Auditorium. 


Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.