In November, Harvey Weinstein was gearing up for war with the MPAA, which had given both 'Blue Valentine' and 'The King's Speech' more restrictive ratings than the longtime producer felt were appropriate. For the former, the ratings board gave the film an NC-17 for a not-so-racy oral sex scene involving a married couple. After the Weinstein Company fought back, the decision was reversed, and 'Valentine' received its expected R.
There wasn't a similar victory, however, for 'The King's Speech,' which retained its R. Now, though Weinstein had once battled against the "outdated ratings system that gives torture porn, horror and ultra-violent films the same rating as films with so-called inappropriate language," he's ready to wipe that language out in hopes of reaching a larger audience.
The Los Angeles Times reports that since the film is the Oscar biggie this year, with 12 nominations in its pocket, Weinstein wants to kick a new marketing strategy into gear. He hopes to re-edit the movie to remove the coarse language, get the flick a lower rating and then unleash it to a broader audience -- a surprising 3,000 theaters in the next month -- as a movie about friendship. He is currently discussing the matter with director Tom Hooper to see if they can earn a PG-13 rating, or even PG.
Weinstein says: "The British numbers are huge because the rating lets families see the movie together. Tom and I are trying to find a unique way to do this that keeps his vision of the movie." Or, perhaps the numbers are huge because it lets British families see the movie together. It's a story of their past, unveiling part of a system that's very entrenched in their culture.
Nevertheless, we fail to see how the movie can be edited and keep Hooper's vision intact, especially considering the fact that the moments of profanity are linked to King George's struggle to speak. As Hooper explained last year, "The F-word in 'The King's Speech' is not being used in its sexual sense, or in its aggressive sense, but as a release mechanism to help a man overcome a stammer in the context of speech therapy, in a scene that is also very funny. This was a technique that David Seidler, the writer, encountered as a boy in the 1940s -- discovering he didn't stammer on curse words was hugely helpful to him overcoming his speech problems."
To remove the scene does take out an amusing moment, but also one of the key steps in King George's fight to control his stutter. So, maybe they'll go the weekend-television route and just insert a rousing use of "fudge." That sounds perfect for a potential multi-Oscar winner, don't you think?
Is Weinstein's plan the right one? What do you think of the use of language in 'The King's Speech,' and how will the film be affected if those moments are removed?