Harvey Weinstein Wants To Re-Cut THE KING'S SPEECH For PG-13 Rating!

In the month of February there is perhaps no harder working individual in the movie industry than Harvey Weinstein. Providing of course that he has a film nominated for Best Picture. For the time being however Harvey is on a financially motivated mission to try and do something about The King's Speech awkward R-Rating in the States. The Hollywood Reporter say that the producer has been in talks with director Tom Hooper to re-edit his 14 times Oscar nominated historical drama with the aim of targeting a PG-13 or even a PG rating. In England the film's 12+ certificate has enabled a mass of families to attend the picture and consequently The King's Speech has spent three weeks at the top of the UK Box Office charts and has seemingly been seen by everyone. The new version likely wouldn't be completed until after the Oscar broadcast and Weinstein expressed the following about his motives:
€œThe British numbers are huge because the rating lets families see the movie together,€ Weinstein told the Times. €œTom and I are trying to find a unique way to do this that keeps his vision of the movie.€
I've highlighted the latter part of this quote because it certainly raises important artistic questions about what they plan to edit. The ridiculous reasoning for the R-Rating in the first place is the heavy repetition of light cursing that the protagonist uses in key moments of the film. The cursing is entirely appropriate as it helps to show the King's pent up frustration and is also used as an important plot device as when Colin Firth's King George VI swears his speech therapist realises that he doesn't stammer. Thus the therapist (brilliant played by Geoffrey Rush) attempts to build on this discovery. When swearing litters a film for the sheer sake of it I can understand the cause for concern because it is promoting bad language that could clearly influence young people. (Not that we have naive young people anymore but that's a whole other kettle of fish.) However surely you have to look at the given circumstances and see that in this film the bad language is clearly character driven and whilst humorous does not show such words in a positive light. To just blatantly edit out these important moments of the film for the sake of a lower rating that would undoubtedly increase the film's DVD sales state-side is about as artistically discriminating as it gets. Weinstein must also be planning to spend a fortune in a bid for Oscar glory this February if he is seriously anxious about a film that has almost quadrupled its production budget in the United States. But then of course the history of The Weinstein Brother's Oscar lobbying is stuff of legend. Through vigorous financial campaigning they transformed obscure actors Matt Damon and Ben Affleck into Oscar Winning Screenwriters who were suddenly in great Hollywood demand, they floored the Oscars with an art-house movie (The English Patient) and famously spent $5 million on campaigns that helped Shakespeare in Love win Best Picture. Fact is, Harvey Weinstein has no problems getting his wallet out during Oscar month and maybe he is thinking ahead to getting some of that money back with an audience friendly rating. If you look at The King's Speech near 20 million gross in the United Kingdom with the 12+ rating and then times that figure by ten (the usual UK/US equivalent sum) you start to realise why the cunning Harvey Weinstein thinks he could potentially be sitting on a pot of gold. This of course discounts the fact that The King's Speech is a picture that is far more likely to prosper in our country than any other given its very British tone and nostalgic content. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KZrodohlN0 On a side-note I saw the film recently and whilst glad to see the film nominated I don't think it belongs anywhere near the Best Picture prize unlike the official OWF word. It was definitely riveting and very well written with first rate performances from everyone involved but the film was not visually cinematic and I thought it had the strong feel of a well crafted thinking man's made for television drama. Which reminds me of another film that contained a similar vibe that controversially defeated Saving Private Ryan at the 1998 ceremony.....

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