Topher Grace Says Depiction Of Drug Use Was Culprit In ‘Take Me Home Tonight’ Release Delay

An ’80s-set comedy starring Topher Grace, Anna Faris, Dan Fogler, Teresa Palmer, Chris Pratt and Michelle Trachtenberg sounds like a cinematic slam dunk. Sure, it’s not going to put up “Avatar” numbers at the box office, but there’s definitely an audience willing to dole out good money to see that young, hip cast party like it’s 1988. And yet “Take Me Home Tonight” (formerly titled “Kids in America“) has languished on a shelf since completing principal photography in early 2007.

Well, Grace and co. can finally breathe a sigh of relief, because the film will finally see the light of day (or, rather, the dark of theater) on March 4, 2011. MTV News recently caught up with Grace, who’s also a producer on “Take Me Home Tonight,” and asked him to talk about the film’s long odyssey to the big screen.

“[The film came from] this idea that every generation had a film that looked about 20 years back,” Grace said, adding that most ’80s flicks blatantly make fun of the decade. “We wanted to do something that felt like it was literally made in the ’80s. So, we brought this to a different studio, and they were very supportive when they made the film, so we’re very grateful for that.”

So why the holdup in releasing the film? As Grace explained, the studio was just a wee bit nervous about several scenes (such as one hinted at in the trailer below) that involve cocaine use — which he argues was just as big a part of the decade as George Michael tunes, Suncoast Video, breakdancing and suit jackets with the sleeves pushed up (all of which also make an appearance in the trailer, by the way).

“It tested really well,” he said. “It’s an audience film. It’s not drama, but there was a real hesitation because there is so much cocaine in it, and our feeling at the time was, ’You can’t do a movie about Prohibition without alcohol, and you really can’t do a movie about partying in the ’80s, at the age these kids are, without showing cocaine use.”

And so the film sat on a shelf… until Imagine Entertainment and super-producers Ron Howard and Brian Grazer swooped in to give the film a new life.

“We had fun producing, but those guys are the real deal,” Grace said of Howard and Grazer. “We learned a lot from them, and they’re probably the greatest producers of our time. So, they encouraged us to not change the cut, which I thought was a really cool move.”

Also earning kudos from Grace is Ryan Kavanaugh, the CEO of Relativity Media (the studio that is now releasing the film), who helped Grace and co. execute their vision for “Take Me Home.”

“He understood that you can’t make a movie like ’Dazed and Confused’ if it doesn’t have pot in it,” Grace said. “You just can’t; it doesn’t ring true. It’s not that real thing we talk about, and he and his team embraced it, and that’s the film we got to see.”

And, for his part, Grace is pumped for the film’s release and very proud of the final product.

“We’re so happy with the film. It’s creatively exactly what we wanted, and it’s exactly the opposite of the normal situation where stuff gets cut,” he said. “[For us] it was the opposite: We got to put stuff back in.”

Are you excited to see “Take Me Home Tonight”? And do you agree that showing cocaine use is necessary for a film about ’80s partying? Tell us in the comments!