‘The King’s Speech’ Director And Cast Opposed To Re-Editing The Film For A PG-13 Rating

With “The King’s Speech” pulling ahead in the Oscar race, Harvey Weinstein may be even more anxious to have the film re-edited to reach a wider audience.

Last week it was reported by the Los Angeles Times that Weinstein, whose Oscar-friendly studio The Weinstein Co. released the film, wanted to find a way to trim an intricate scene of the currently R-rated movie in which King George VI (Colin Firth) lets a string of expletives fly under the instruction of his speech therapist (Geoffrey Rush).

Weinstein argued that the success of the film in Great Britain was due to a lower rating, as he told the LA Times, “The British numbers are huge because the rating lets families see the movie together,” he said, adding, “[Director] Tom (Hooper) and I are trying to find a unique way to do this that keeps his vision of the movie.”

But, it seems Hooper may have no intention of changing his vision after all. Hooper, who bested “The Social Network” director David Fincher in an upset win at the Director’s Guild of America Awards on Saturday (January 29), spoke to Entertainment Weekly about the possible re-cut.

“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,” Hooper said of the scene in contention.

While he did confirm no official decisions have been made, only that TWC was only considering the action, when asked whether he thought a PG or PG-13 rating would broaden the film’s audience, Hooper replied once again, “I’m not going to cut the film.”

It seems Hooper isn’t alone in this feeling. Some of his “King’s Speech” cast (who won the Screen Actor’s Guild Award for Outstanding Performance By A Cast in a Motion Picture on Sunday, January 30) have spoken out against the re-edit idea. Best Supporting Actress nominee Helena Bonham Carter told EW, “I don’t think it needs to be cut down.”

The actress then argued, “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. [The film] is not violent. It’s full of humanity and wit. [It’s] for people not with just a speech impediment, but who have got confidence [doubts]. Everyone who has a sense of inadequacy, which is practically everyone.”

Her co-star, Best Supporting Actor nominee Geoffrey Rush, made a similar argument that the scene is not only vital to the plot, but inoffensive in its use of the language (or “gobbledygook” as he called it.) Rush told The Hollywood Reporter, “If you cut it, then you’re going cut one of the key thrills of the film.”

Both actors make valid points about the scene, which if anything, provides a moment of levity for both the characters and the audience. Also, would it make as big a difference as Weinstein is hoping for? American audiences will no doubt be more curious to see the Best Picture front runner, but does the cast’s appeal hold the same weight here? Moreover, would it be by the 17-and-under set he’d be changing it?

“Speech” continues to pull in steady box office numbers, as it brought in an additional $2.8 million at the box office this weekend, bringing its total so far to $63 million. That’s roughly $30 million less than its main Oscar competitor “The Social Network”–a film with a subject matter arguably more appealing to younger moviegoers–made during its entire run in theaters.

Do you agree with “The King’s Speech” cast and crew that the movie should be left as is or should they edit it to reach a wider audience? Give us your thoughts in the comments section and on Twitter!