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Kevin Smith Fighting to Make "Zack and Miri" R-Rated

Posted: August 4th, 2008 by WorstPreviews.com Staff
Kevin Smith Fighting to Make "Zack and Miri" R-RatedSubmit Comment
AICN got the chance to chat with director Kevin Smith and found out the status of his "Zack and Miri Make a Porno" comedy, which the MPAA recently stuck with an NC-17 rating. This gets a bit lengthy, but contains interesting information about his troubles with his previous films and how he plans to overturn "Porno."

"I've seen some reports on it that make it out to be something more than it is. It's just a simple case of ...every time you make an R-rated comedy, chances are you're going to butt up against what's acceptable. So we knew going in, chances were that they were going to flag the movie; it's got the word PORNO in the title. So I submitted first cut -- one hour, 45 minutes. And they said "This is NC-17," and they gave me two specific areas to look at. I said okay, so I cut 12 minutes out of the movies, and that was after our first test screening, so most of that was stuff that was flat anyway, so I took that out. In that cut, we addressed their issues as well. We resubmitted it, and they said, "Well, you're close but there are these two moments that you should focus on in terms of length." One they wanted out completely -- a 14-frame shot that they were like, "This can't make it." It wasn't even a second long. And they were like, "Maybe you can work with the sounds in it or something." So I did trims in the other section; there was a lot of thrusting they wanted taking out, and then the other section I worked with the sound, but left the shot in -- it's 14 frames, it's not even a second! Let it run. They still said it was NC-17. I wasn't frustrated, I wasn't mad, I was just like "I feel like I've gone as far as I'm comfortable going; let's take it to the next stage," which is the appeals part of the process.

I've been through the appeals process before, once on CLERKS, where we got an NC-17, had an appeal screening, got it overturned to an R. And once on JERSEY GIRL, they gave us an R rating, and we tried working with them in terms of the cuts, but they felt that this conversation between Ben [Affleck] and Liv [Tyler] in the diner about masturbation, which was a really clinical conversation about it, was just beyond the pale for them. They felt it pushed into R-rated territory, which I found strange. So we said, let's take it to the appeal part, had the appeals screening, did our dog-and-pony show where you get up and make your defense for the film, and the MPAA talked about why they feel it's R. And they overturned that one without us having to make a cut. So that's basically what we're doing here. It's not like it's some great fight against censorship. I haven't blogged about it, I'm not out there screaming "Oh my God, they're violating my f*cking civil liberties or my rights as an artist." It's just part of the process. And on August 4th, we'll screen again, I'll show it to the appeals committee, I'll get to make my case and cite precedent as to "These movies have done something similar."

We had to put together the examples. Because they used to not let you cite precedent; now you can. So we'll do that, and the MPAA will make its case for why they think it is NC-17. And then the appeals committee will decide. You have to win by two-thirds majority, or something like that. But the simple fact is that if it doesn't get the rating, if they still maintain an NC-17, then I've got to go in and take the notes, because contractually I have to deliver an R. An honestly, even if they were like, "Hey man, you can go out as an NC-17," I just feel like it would set the movies up for disappointment because I don't feel that it's truly earned an NC-17. It feels like a hard R to me, but if I was going to see an NC-17 movie, I'd want to see something that I couldn't see in an R-rated movie. But there's nothing in this movie that I feel like is any further beyond the pale than I've seen in any other R-rated movie, even any other R-rated movie that we've done. But you know, sometimes you get lucky, sometimes you don't. With CLERKS II, I sweated that the movie was going to the MPAA because the donkey-f*cking scene is going to get us an NC-17, and it didn't. We submitted it, they gave it an R, and that was that. We got lucky then; this time, we didn't get so lucky. Hopefully we'll get the overturn, but if not, I'll go in and trim until we get the R.
"

Click here to read our exclusive "Zack and Miri Make a Porno."

Source: AICN


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