Despite the controversy stirred up by a "gay" joke in the trailer for the upcoming movie "The Dilemma," director Ron Howard has insisted the quip will stay in the film.
The drama began a few weeks ago when the flick's original preview, which features Vince Vaughn's character dubbing electric cars "gay" during a pitch meeting, landed on the Web and in theaters. The joke popped up around the same time a wave of suicides by teens who had been subjected to anti-gay harassment made headlines, and the line was later excised from the trailer.
While Howard said he understands why the joke was removed from the preview, he recently told the Los Angeles Times that the wisecrack will remain in the film.
" 'The Dilemma' is a comedy for grown-ups, not kids. It's true that the moment took on extra significance in light of some events that surrounded the release of the trailer and the studio made the decision to remove it from advertising, which I think was appropriate. I believe in sensitivity but not censorship," Howard wrote in a letter to the Times. "It is a slight moment in 'The Dilemma' meant to demonstrate an aspect of our lead character's personality, and we never expected it to represent our intentions or the point of view of the movie or those of us who made it."
Howard also explained that an aspect of Vaughn's character is his affinity for courting controversy and pushing boundaries.
"Our lead character of Ronny Valentine has a mouth that sometimes gets him into trouble and he definitely flirts with the line of what's okay to say," he said. "He tries to do what's right but sometimes falls short. Who can't relate to that? I am drawn to films that have a variety of characters with different points of view who clash, conflict and learn to live with each other. 'The Dilemma' is a story full of flawed characters whose lives are complicated by the things they say to and hide from each other. Ronny is far from perfect and he does and says some outrageous things along the way."
Vaughn has also defended the film's content in the wake of the teen suicides and subsequent public outcry.
"Let me add my voice of support to the people outraged by the bullying and persecution of people for their differences, whatever those differences may be," the actor said in a statement to E! News earlier this month. "Comedy and joking about our differences breaks tension and brings us together. Drawing divided lines over what we can and cannot joke about does exactly that; it divides us."
What do you think about the gay joke in "The Dilemma"? Let us know in the comments!