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'Casanova' director surprised by R rating

NEW YORK, Nov. 29 (UPI) -- Swedish director Lasse Hallstrom says he is surprised "Casanova," his new film about the legendary lover, has earned an R rating in the United States.

"On one hand, I guess a Casanova story that is rated PG-13 might appear lame, but I don't understand at all why a family couldn't go see this one. It's just the American Puritan (attitude,)" Halstrom told UPI in New York recently.

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Asked if the ratings board offered any specific reasons for the R rating, Hallstrom said it wanted him to change a scene in which Heath Ledger appears to be enjoying some under-the-table shenanigans with a young woman at a ball.

"We didn't want to take that out," Hallstrom said. "Actually, I tried to make it PG-13 with a couple of small cuts, but the (table scene) and the suggestion of something else there was too shocking.

"They're afraid of that moral majority," he laughed. "I guess it's what happened after the Super Bowl and Janet Jackson. If it hadn't been for Janet Jackson, it would have had a PG-13 rating."

"Casanova" is in theaters next month.

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