Harvey Weinstein is Going to Cut 'King's Speech' Down to PG-13?!
Are you ready to be disgusted? Yesterday, an article hit on the LA Times saying that Harvey Weinstein of The Weinstein Company, the distributor releasing The King's Speech, was considering re-editing the film and removing a few key scenes where the language used originally gave the film an R-rating. Apparently the $60 million its made so far (well above 127 Hours' $11M) wasn't enough, and they want to make even more, so they're going to cut it down to a PG-13 or even PG rating so that "kids" can go see it. In no way is this an acceptable idea, if they change it to suit the MPAA's rules, they'll be ruining the integrity of the entire film!
The problem, for those who haven't seen the film, is that there are a few scenes with gratuitous use of "foul" language, including lots of F-bombs. In The King's Speech, Colin Firth (who will probably win the Oscar) stars as King George VI and speaks with a severe stammer. Geoffrey Rush plays an unconventional speech therapist who helps him overcome that stammer so he can speak publicly. Part of that training process for him to learn to speak stammer-free is using expletives in rapid succession, since he doesn't stammer when he swears. To undermine the MPAA, I've posted one of those scenes, with foul language intact, right below.
Why would Harvey
Weinstein Scissorhands even think of doing this? "The British numbers are huge because the rating lets families see the movie together," said Weinstein. "Tom and I are trying to find a unique way to do this that keeps his vision of the movie." The good news is that he is working with director Tom Hooper, but that does not mean it's right to re-edit it just to suit the MPAA. It's just a sad idea to begin with. The real problem is with the MPAA, not the film! In the UK, The King's Speech has a rating of 12A - "Suitable for 12 years and over." In the US, it's rated R - no one under 17 admitted without an adult. Anyone see anything wrong with the MPAA's rating? How is it 12+ in one place and 17+ in another?! What's wrong with them?
The LA Times says that this recut version wouldn't hit theaters until after the Oscar ceremony on February 27th. At this moment, the two films that are battling for Best Picture seem to be The King's Speech and The Social Network. If it wins, I can understand their desire to get tons of audiences in to see this, but why must that be at the cost of cutting important scenes from the movie. "The message more was about the critics, but now we're trying to get across that this classic movie is just as cool as the other movies people are seeing," said Weinstein. In three more weeks, they'll be expand the film into 3000 theaters for a true wide release.
This is just further proof of how broken and utterly ridiculous the Motion Picture Association of America is. It's even more unfortunate that they have rules no one can break and laws everyone must follow if a film is even to be released. This isn't the first time The Weinstein Company had problems with the MPAA, as they had to fight to get Blue Valentine moved down from an NC-17 rating to R, just because of a scene that, while extremely necessary in the context of the movie, apparently upset a few of the members of the MPAA. What members? Well, no one knows, as the documentary This Film Is Not Yet Rated even tried to explore but to not much success. Who the heck is rating The King's Speech as R just for some "fucks"? That's not bad at all!
I doubt that Harvey Weinstein is reading this, but I want to do everything in my power to prevent them from re-editing it. The film is already a success, it's one of my favorite films of the year, it just earned a leading 12 nominations at the Oscars, why do they really think it needs to make more money and reach kids? And why can't parents just take their kids, or wait to show it to them on DVD where the MPAA doesn't have control? Who knows. But all I do know is that this is extremely sad news to report and I hope, for the sake of honest and true cinema, this does NOT happen and they do NOT ever release a "PG-13 version." Do you agree?