Director, studio at odds over 'Speech' cut

Jan. 31, 2011 at 9:28 PM
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LOS ANGELES, Jan. 31 (UPI) -- The director and a star of "The King's Speech" are speaking out against the prospect the Oscar-contender may be edited to get a PG-13 rating for U.S. audiences.

Tom Hooper, who won the Directors Guild of America feature film prize for the story about British King George VI, and Geoffrey Rush, nominated for a supporting actor Oscar for his portrayal of the speech therapist who helped the king overcome stuttering, oppose cutting vulgar language from the R-rated picture.

The Los Angeles Times reported last week studio boss Harvey Weinstein was in talks with Hooper to clean up the language in the film, with the objective of getting a PG-13, or even a PG, rating. The cleanup would be part of a marketing strategy intended to capitalize on the movie's 12 Oscar nominations, including best picture and director, and best actor for Colin Firth.

The language in question occurs during a key scene when Rush's character has the king unleash a torrent of expletives as a technique for dealing with his stutter.

Hooper told Entertainment Weekly he would not support "cutting the film in any way" and said The Weinstein Co. was considering cuts but no decisions had been made.

"I just think it's a shame considering that it's all in the context of therapeutic play," Rush told The Hollywood Reporter. "It's almost like a tongue-twister. It's gobbledygook. But it's not aggressive, it's not offensive. It's not harmful."

Helena Bonham Carter, who is nominated for an Oscar for her work in the film, told EW "every 13-year-old knows [the words], I think every 8-year-old [does]. It's the whole point of it. It's not to be offensive."

The Weinstein Company did not immediately respond to a request for comment, EW said Monday.

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