Monday, March 30, 2009

Bruno movie too sexy (or disgusting) for censors; Ron Paul's appearance apparently not the problem

The forthcoming Sacha Baron Cohen movie, in which the actor attempts to seduce Congressman Ron Paul into a homosexual liaison, has been hit with an NC-17 rating by the motion picture censors.

The movie has to have an R rating under its contract with Universal, so Cohen has to rid his movie of the objectionable parts.

Will this mean Our Congressman's unwitting appearance in the film might be cut?

Probably not.

Two scenes from the movie that may have been "over the line" depicted the movie's main character, Bruno, "appearing to have anal sex with a man on camera. In another, the actor goes on a hunting trip and sneaks naked into the tent of one of the fellow hunters."

By contrast, Congressman Paul amscrayed out of a hotel room before "Bruno" could go too far, though "Bruno" did drop trou, which kinda freaked the congressman, as we (and Slate) reported here.

The Bruno movie website said Cohen (pictured above) is appealing the tenative rating given his movie.

The difference between an R and an NC-17 in terms of financial reward is vast. "Borat," which cost a piddling $18 million to make, took in $261 million in worldwide box office. Universal paid $42 million for the English-language rights to "Bruno," but will spend far more than that in marketing the film. Major Hollywood studios almost never release films with NC-17 ratings.

Cohen is currently appealing the decision while simultaneously struggling with cutting the film to suit the ratings board. But the ratings board, a secret panel of parents appointed by the studio-owned movie association, is notoriously inexact about what it requires to move from an NC-17 to an R.

Baron Cohen has butted heads with the MPAA before. Borat was given an NC-17 on its first go-round, and still ended up with a hilarious, outrageous scene in which he wrestled naked with his obese driver, ending up with his face in the man’s genitals and anus.

The spokesman said that Baron Cohen had shot a lot of material, and would be able to cut it without a problem. “With the quantity of material available, I cannot foresee a problem,” said the spokesman. “It's not even April and the film comes out July 10 so it's nonsense to say there's a struggle of any kind."

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