Posted on Monday, February 28th, 2011 by Russ Fischer
Harvey Weinstein has created a new, more family-friendly PG-13 cut of The King’s Speech, but the film’s director Tom Hooper, the proud owner of a shiny new Best Director Oscar, hasn’t yet seen the cut. Within the context of creative enterprise this is an interesting representation of the cross purposes of storytelling and business, but after the resounding endorsement of the current version of the film (four Oscars, over $100m domestic box office) is the whole idea of a different edit just a weird coda to the film’s success story?
THR asked the director about the new at the Governor’s Ball last night after the Oscar ceremony and his response was to the point: “I haven’t seen it yet.” In other words, the alterations were made without his participation, not that such a thing is any great surprise given Harvey Weinstein’s well-documented tendencies to make changes to films.
New Best Actor Oscar winner and star of the film Colin Firth, who has a different relationship to maintain with Harvey Weinstein, was more outspoken about a new edit of the film:
I don’t support it. I think the film has its integrity as it stands… It serves a purpose. I’m not someone who’s casual about that kind of language. I take my children to football [soccer] games. I hate hearing that kind of language in their ears, but I won’t deny them the experience of a live game… But in the context of the film, it couldn’t be more edifying, more appropriate. It’s not vicious or insulting. It’s not in the context that might offend… I still haven’t met the person who’d object to it.
We still don’t know when the PG-13 version of the film will be rolled out to theaters, or how the advertising will change to represent the new edits. (I’m hoping for sparkly stickers slapped on the poster to proclaim “Now with 90% less profanity!”) We also don’t know which version of the film will end up being the primary DVD release. As long as the original ends up being on disc, then this last-minute cash grab on Harvey’s part will be able to stand as what it is. If the PG-13 version is the primary home video release, however, expect to hear some outcry from the director.