From classic teen dramas like Cruel Intentions to I Know What You Did Last Summer, Ryan Phillippe has made audiences swoon since the '90s. In 2017, he still has the same effect — even on his Wish Upon co-stars Joey King, Shannon Purser, and Sydney Park. Although the 1999 flick may have been a little ahead of their time (King is 17, Purser is 20, and Park is 19), the women tell me how familiar they were with Phillippe's work, why he's still so swoon-worthy, and how he actually has a little bit of Sebastian Valmont in him today.
Upon the release of their new horror film Wish Upon, premiering July 14, Purser and Park tell me they were well aware of Phillippe's work in teen thrillers, namely Cruel Intentions. "I love him in that," Park tells me, with King and Purser sitting next to her. "Really, really good. [It was] thrilling and he is a really awesome actor, how he’s evolved." While Purser agrees, King admits she actually had to do a little bit of research on her on-screen dad after they started working together. Once she finally watched Cruel Intentions, she saw Phillippe in a whole new light.
Manipulative and twisted bad boy Sebastian Valmont isn't necessarily someone who'd be considered a "father figure." King certainly didn't think so after watching Phillippe's character for the first time. "I met him, getting to see him as my father figure, this really upstanding man," she explains, "After watching that movie I was like, ‘Where’d he go? What happened?’ I was shocked, honestly."
After the initial shock wore off, because Sebastian will do that to a person, King says she embraced this side of the actor, even realizing how he still has some similarities to the character in real life. She recalls their initial conversation about it:
I texted him and was like, ‘Hey, I just watched Cruel Intentions. WTF, dad.’ And he was like, ‘Yup, that was me. Wasn’t it a fun character?’ I was like, ‘You’re an animal.’ He’s like, ‘I know, but isn’t it fun?’ It’s kinda funny, he still has that spunk and flair of his character — not like he’s that terrible person. But he just has this kind of young feel about him still. Very chill person.
That really is so nonchalantly Sebastian of him. And beyond getting an education of a lifetime from CI, King actually did learn a lot from working with her co-star. "He was obviously fantastic and he’s so good in this movie. He’s a really good fake dad," she says about the real-life dad of three.
King says Phillippe had a comforting, paternal way about him on set, while also treating her as an equal. "He was an amazing scene partner. We had one scene where we had to get very, very emotional," she recalls. "Getting to act with somebody who’s very considerate and just has a lot of respect for you and you for them, it’s really nice to share such a critical scene with them."
And of course, no one can deny the 42-year-old is a DILF, not even his co-stars. "I remember Cruel Intentions and thinking he was super cute," Purser says. King chimes in, laughing, "Shannon has this one line in the movie like, ‘Your dad is serious hot sauce. Sriracha hot.’ And the way she said it, I was like, ‘Shannon, I feel like this ain’t acting,'" she says. "I agreed."
I think it's fair to say Phillippe is still a total hottie and fantastic actor, and that a little Sebastian Valmont never hurt anybody.