'Iron Man 3' Director Shane Black On The Struggles Of Not Writing The F-Word In A PG-13 Movie

Shane Black is best known as a screenwriter of many R-rated action comedies released in the 1980s and 1990s. So when Black came face to face with writing a superhero film for kids, how much of a struggle was it to keep Iron Man 3 from an R rating?

When Black was asked about this at the junket press conference, he responded with the following:

You know, the F word, tempting as it always is, especially in film environments, was pretty easy, because I had done a film for kids previously, called The Monster Squad... That was ages ago, so coming into this, I got to go back and say "I remember what it was like when I went to the matinee to stand in line for Empire Strikes Back or Star Wars or those types of films. I'd get excited all over again about that type of adventure, that you could appeal to a family, but it was still edgy. We didn't want to pander. We didn't want to make a kiddy film, but we knew very well that we couldn't go beyond the boundaries of PG13.

That's not to say Shane didn't push it a little in the first couple of drafts. In the first draft Black had Tony Stark saying "f***" five times. Co-screenwriter Drew Pearce and the producers actually had to have a sit down conversation with Black about this issue, that he wouldn't be allowed to say "f***" in a PG-13 movie.

When you would write for television... When I was coming up in this business, you would just say f*** anyway and you would just know they'd take it out later. Basically there was no problem with that. I have no problem with tailoring material to the audience that it's intended for, as long as you keep the edge. As long as you don't condescend to that audience, I think it's spot on.