Harvey Weinstein is known for being a fighter, grappling with everything from filmmakers to the ratings board to floor-candy in his long career of ensuring articles about him say things like he’s “known for being a fighter.” After recently earning the ire of Bong Joon-ho, who was reportedly “furious” that the producer, once nicknamed “Harvey Scissorhands” for his rampant cutting of Asian cinema for American audiences, had trimmed as much as 20 minutes from Snowpiercer—Weinstein is reportedly already at it again with another foreign director over his editing demands, this time Grace Of Monaco’s Olivier Dahan.
Speaking to AlloCine (via The Playlist), Dahan has complained that Weinstein is now demanding a “sanitized” and “Hollywood” version of his Grace Kelly biopic—a film that, seeing as it stars Nicole Kidman as a pretty movie star princess, seems fairly "Hollywood" already, but whatever. Dahan didn’t elaborate on the specific nature of the cuts, but it’s worth noting that, as with Snowpiercer, technically Weinstein’s only financial involvement with Grace is as its U.S. distributor, making his demands seem fairly unreasonable, were they not already such an established part of Weinstein’s own personal mythology.
At the same time, Weinstein has also entered a more familiar battle over Stephen Frears’ Philomena, which recently received an R rating due to “two non-sexual uses of the f-word,” according to those rigorous guidelines protecting the moviegoing public against everything but horrific violence. As with past protests over Bully and The King’s Speech, The Weinstein Company will fight the rating it believes will hurt the film’s chances at a wider audience and awards consideration, believing it has both an Oscar contender and potential family hit in the film where Judi Dench’s titular character tracks down the illegitimate child she gave up for adoption long ago, with the help of a journalist played by Steve Coogan. One person close to the project described Philomena to The Hollywood Reporter as “a wholesome movie that deserves to be seen by everybody,” adding, “It's not even Judi Dench's character who says the word” in a way that may appeal to the ratings board but certainly not to us.
Of course, while saying “fuck” was argued to be crucial to presenting the brutal reality of Bully, and part of the protagonist's emotional catharsis in The King’s Speech, it’s unclear why it’s so important to keep it Philomena, beyond the while, Weinstein principle of the thing. Unless it turns out Philomena’s child is named “Fuck,” in which case, by all means yes, they should try to keep that.
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