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Kevin Smith Challenges MPAA Ratings System With Porn Star in Tow…And Wins

Kevin Smith.jpgKevin Smith, everyone’s favorite oddball indie director, challenged the MPAA rating system for his new pic, “Zack and Miri Make a Porno,” and won a reduction from NC-17 to R.

The director of such hits as “Clerks,” “Jersey Girl,” “Dogma” and “Chasing Amy,” is no stranger to taking on the MPAA.
When “Clerks” first came out it, too, was given and NC-17 rating that Smith was able to alter to an R. And his Ben Affleck film “Jersey Girl” was shifted from an R to a PG-13.

With “Zack and Miri…,” Smith cast Seth Rogen and Elizabeth Banks as roommates who decide to make a porn film to get themselves out of debt.

“We didn’t set out to make an NC-17 film. That’s just commercial suicide,” Smith told The Associated Press.
The original rating would prohibit anyone under the age of 17 from ever seeing the film.

Now, teens can go with a parent — if the parent dares.

The Weinstein brothers are putting it out under their eponymous label, which is not only separated from the Weinstein’s original Miramax label, but is luckily no longer tied to Disney, which would no doubt love to be behind a porn film.

katiemorgan.jpgCo-star Katie Morgan, who has some fairly graphic sex scenes with Jason Mewes, is a well-known porn star.
The MPAA revised the rating after its appeals board viewed the film and decided it wasn’t as dirty as an NC-17 rating might convey.

“They felt it was rather sexually graphic. My point is, it was comically graphic. All the sex in the movie with the exception of one scene is very cartoonish, very campy,” Smith said. “It wasn’t designed to titillate.”

The appeals board, a separate panel from the ratings board, viewed the movie Tuesday, and Smith presented his arguments.
See the Associated Press story below:


Kevin Smith wins appeal for ‘Porno’
Director gets R rating for comedy
By ASSOCIATED PRESS
Filmmaker Kevin Smith has won an appeal to lower the rating for his comedy “Zack and Miri Make a Porno” from an adults-only NC-17 to an R.
Motion Picture Association of America spokeswoman Elizabeth Kaltman said Tuesday the rating was revised after the group’s appeals board viewed the movie.

“We didn’t set out to make an NC-17 film. That’s just commercial suicide,” Smith told The Associated Press.

The NC-17 rating would have prohibited anyone younger than 17 from seeing it. With an R rating, those under 17 can see it in the company of an adult.

“Zack and Miri,” due out Oct. 31 from the Weinstein Co., stars Seth Rogen and Elizabeth Banks as best friends and roommates who try to make a homemade porn flick to dig themselves out of debt.

Smith said the MPAA ratings board objected to two sex scenes involving co-stars Jason Mewes and Katie Morgan. After the movie’s initial NC-17 rating, Smith said he trimmed those scenes as far as he was willing to go but was unable to convince the board to lower the rating.

“They felt it was rather sexually graphic. My point is, it was comically graphic. All the sex in the movie with the exception of one scene is very cartoonish, very campy,” Smith said. “It wasn’t designed to titillate.”

The appeals board, a separate panel from the ratings board, viewed the movie Tuesday, and Smith presented his arguments. It was the third time Smith successfully talked his way down to a lower rating: His 1994 debut “Clerks” initially received an NC-17 rating that was reduced to an R on appeal, while his 2003 film “Jersey Girl” was reduced to PG-13 after first being rated R.

Smith said the title alone should be enough to caution audiences about the contents.

“Anybody not inclined to see a movie with `Porno’ in the title is not going to see it, so it kind of regulates itself to a degree,” Smith said. “And anybody who is going is not going to be surprised by what they see.”

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