The 46-year-old actor had already upset his religious mom and dad after playing gay teenager Billy Douglas on ‘One Life to Live’ from 1992 to 1993 so he was concerned his portrayal of manipulative Sebastian Valmont – who bets his stepsister, Kathryn Merteuil (Sarah Michelle Gellar) that he can sleep with their headmaster’s daughter Annette (Reese Witherspoon) before school starts – would spell the end for their already strained relationship.
Speaking on Barstool Sports’ ‘KFC Radio’ podcast, he said: “I thought my parents were going to disown me.
“I had grown up going to, like, Baptist school and Christian school. When I was a senior in high school, I played the first gay character on a soap opera first gay teenager ever and so I was shunned at that point.
“I mean this was 1992, and I was playing a gay teenager and I was in a Christian school. They weren’t happy about it.”
The former ‘Shooter’ star was asked to read for the movie while working on ‘I Know What You Did Last Summer’, which had the same producer, but was warned it was “risque” and could prove controversial.
And Ryan – who went on to marry his co-star Reese and have children Ava, 21, and Deacon, 17, before they split in 2011 – would love to land another role like Sebastian.
He said: “I remember walking out the trailer and finding [the producer]. I’m like, ‘Are you guys really going to make this?’ And he said, ‘Yeah.’ And I was you know I’ve still never played a character like that since.
“I want to get back to playing a character like Sebastian in ‘Cruel Intentions’. It was just so fun to be so flippant and sort of like, you know, the emotions are theatrical.”
The ‘Shooter’ star is very proud the film is still a hit today.
He said: “It’s cool that it holds up, man, you know, a lot of times to take a movie from a specific point in time that’s supposed to connect with a younger crowd and it just stays. This movie somehow finds new fans all the time.
“You know, they were going to do a series about ‘Cruel Intentions’, a TV series a year or so ago. There’s, like, a musical out there that’s really good actually, they put it back in theatres for its 20th anniversary that only happens [to], like, ‘The Godfather’.”
Ryan also has nine-year-old daughter Kai with ex-girlfriend Alexis Knapp.