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Scott Mendelson

Scott Mendelson

Posted: March 26, 2011 10:09 AM

Would the MPAA Prefer a Female Character Not Be 'Into' Sex Scene?


There's a choice quote in this Emily Browning interview over at Nylon Magazine, which was reported by Cinemablend that merits a mention. Its implications are kinda shocking. The crux is the discussion of changes that Zach Snyder had to make in order to ensure Sucker Punch (review) would win a PG-13 from the MPAA, which apparently took seven tries. I'll let Browning lay it out:

I had a very tame and mild love scene with Jon Hamm. It was like heavy breathing and making out. It was hardly a sex scene... I think that it's great for this young girl to actually take control of her own sexuality. Well, the MPAA doesn't like that. They don't think a girl should ever be in control of her own sexuality because they're from the Stone Age. I don't know what the f**k is going on and I will openly criticize it, happily. So essentially, they got Zack to edit the scene and make it look less like she's into it. And Zack said he edited it down to the point where it looked like he was taking advantage of her. That's the only way he could get a PG-13 (rating) and he said, 'I don't want to send that message.' So they cut the scene!"


I've often defended the MPAA when films are given harsher ratings for breaking clearly-outlined rules (if you have more than one 'f-word', you get an R, period). I've long argued that the real enemy is the major theater chains that won't screen NC-17 or unrated movies, as well as the major networks and newspapers that won't carry advertising for them. But this is a clear cut case of the MPAA in the wrong. So, just to clarify, according to Browning, it appears that the MPAA had serious issues with the idea that Emily Browning having consensual sexual relations with Jon Hamm, but they had less of an issue with the idea that Jon Hamm was taking advantage of Emily Browning. Let me repeat that one more time: according to the Browning, the MPAA was more comfortable with the idea of a young girl being taken advantage of than with the idea of a young girl making her own choices in regards to her own sexuality. I don't even need to further editorialize here.

 

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