WTF: 'The King's Speech' Might Bleep F-Bombs, Rather Than Cut Them

It's the second WTF post for The King's Speech in the past week. It's been a mostly great run for the movie, as it has swept the big guild awards: producers, directors and actors all gave it top prizes over the last seven days. But Harvey Weinstein is considering cutting the film to score a PG-13 and consequently broaden the audience. At issue is a series of curse words, including several 'f***'s, uttered by Colin Firth playing King George VI, as he attempts to overcome his stutter.

Director Tom Hooper doesn't support cutting the film — no surprise — but he does say that it might be bleeped. What the *bleep*?

Speaking to EW before the DGA awards on Saturday, Tom Hooper said,

I wouldn't support cutting the film in any way. I think we looked at whether it's possible to bleep out the f—s and stuff, but I'm not going to actually cut that part.

He said that no final decision has been made about creating a PG-13 friendly edit, but reiterated, "I'm not going to cut the film."

Beeping the curse words has got to be a joke, though, right? Maybe not: co-star Helena Bonham Carter said,

I don't think it needs to be cut down. I think every 13-year-old knows [the words], I think every 8-year-old [does]. It's the whole point of it. It's not to be offensive. I think they said they were going to put the bleeps.

If such an intrusive mode is going to be put into action, why not just overlay the offending sections with TV-edit dialogue from other movies? The King's Speech could use a good 'melonfarmer'  or two, and maybe Colin Firth screaming "this is what happens when you find a stranger in the Alps!" Or maybe the edit could be modeled after old-fashioned 3D movies, with earplugs handed out to audiences and notes flashed onscreen urging audiences to put them in just before the big scene?

Meanwhile, Harvey Weinstein explains his thoughts about the rating to Deadline. (That interview is also pretty rich with discussion of the relationship between Harvey Weinstein and Scott Rudin — the two have famously clashed more than once, and it's difficult to tell where Mr. Weinstein is kidding and where he's not.)

Well, [the R rating] hurt us. I think the movie could do even bigger box office than $100 million if we could free ourselves of the rating. The rating is really difficult. The movie is outdoing us in the UK for one simple reason: the rating in England got overturned to essentially a PG-13. Mom, Dad, and the kids are all going to see the movie in England just like True Grit, which is a PG-13 film. You're getting everybody seeing True Grit. I've got four daughters, and all four would never be caught dead at a Western. But because there's a 14-year old girl and the movie is rated PG-13, they all went with six of their girlfriends. But my daughters can't see The King's Speech because it's rated R. I showed it to my daughter anyhow, and she loved the movie, and so have her girlfriends. I've heard from so many educators that this is crazy. I believe the MPAA is sympathetic to the movie, but the rules are the rules. And look, I won with Blue Valentine. I can't go back, hat in hand, again.  We were hoping that, as happened in England, the MPAA would see the movie in context and change the R to PG-13. That's what happened on Blue Valentine. They rated the movie NC-17, we didn't make any changes to the movie, and they reduced it to an R. But we didn't get the contextual rating we wanted. Tom's got a couple of ideas that don't involve cutting that will serve the same purpose. I'll leave that as a bit of a mystery as we examine it further. We are trying to find every way possible to have the film seen by as wide an audience as possible.