‘Crushed’ (Exclusive): Lara Flynn Boyle Found Out Dead Poets Society Scene Was Cut When She Saw Film with Mom

Lara Flynn Boyle thought the 1989 drama Dead Poets Society would be her big break, but instead, her scenes wound up on the cutting room floor

Published Time: 04.07.2024 - 17:31:13 Modified Time: 04.07.2024 - 17:31:13

Lara Flynn Boyle thought the 1989 drama Dead Poets Society would be her big break, but instead, her scenes wound up on the cutting room floor.

Making matters worse, Boyle, now 54, didn’t find out until she went to see the movie with her mother, Sally. The actress was, she tells PEOPLE, “just crushed.”

The acclaimed film, set in a New England boarding school in 1959, stars the late Robin Williams as an English teacher, John Keating, whose unorthodox ways delight some students, but rub the administration the wrong way.

He encourages his pupils, played by Robert Sean Leonard, Ethan Hawke and Josh Charles, among others, to think critically and live on their own terms.

In the film Leonard’ character Neil, whose overbearing father insists he go to Harvard and become a doctor, gets cast in a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, much to his dad’s chagrin.

“He falls in love with this little actress he does the play with,” explains Boyle, whose character’s name was Jeanie. “I remembered my character’s name. I never do.”

She says she filmed for a month on location in Delaware. “Robin Williams, all of us working together. It was fantastic,” she recalls.

But when she went to go see the film, “I wasn’t in the movie. I'm watching Dead Poets Society with my mom, and I kept going, ‘Here comes my scene, here comes my scene.’ No sce -

ne, no scene,” she says.

“They never told me I was cut,” she says adding that experience was “the last time that Hollywood hurt my feelings.”

The diss stung even more so because she had been previously cut out of the Matthew Broderick 1986 comedy Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. (Boyle says her scenes were in the high school locker room with Jennifer Grey.)

Though Boyle was devastated at the time, she went on to find success in 1990 with the ABC drama Twin Peaks before making movies such as Wayne’s World, Threesome and Men In Black II. She also starred as prosecutor Helen Gamble on the ABC legal drama The Practice. Her performance earned her an Emmy nomination.

Boyle is now starring in Mother, Couch, a new film from Swedish writer-director Niclas Larsson about an elderly woman (Ellen Burstyn) who plops down on a sofa while furniture shopping and refuses to get up.

Her adult kids (played by Boyle, Ewan McGregor and Rhys Ifans) all unite to try to get her out of the store.

The dark comedy costars F. Murray Abraham, Lake Bell and Taylor Russell. 

Mother, Couch is in theaters in New York July 5 before expanding.

For more on Lara Flynn Boyle, pick up the new issue of PEOPLE.

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