In his battle to overturn the NC-17 rating of Blue Valentine, the gritty relationship drama starring Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams, The Weinstein Company co-head Harvey Weinstein tells EW he has already assembled lawyers to appeal the rating to the MPAA. Weinstein says he’s tapped Alan Friedman, who helped TWC win an R rating for Zack and Miri Make a Porno following a rare reversal by the MPAA, and David Boies, who represented Al Gore in Bush v. Gore and teamed with former Solicitor General Theodore Olson to challenge California Proposition 8 ban on gay marriage.
According to Weinstein, the MPAA issued the dreaded NC-17 for a single scene that depicts Gosling’s character performing oral sex on Williams’. “That was good acting,” says Weinstein. “Maybe too good.” (A rep for the MPAA cited its policy not to comment on individual films until a rating has been accepted.)
Weinstein also questions the MPAA’s standards. “How did Piranha 3D get an R and Blue Valentine gets an NC-17?” he asks, citing the August horror film released by TWC’s own Dimension label (run by his brother, Bob Weinstein). “If [Piranha 3D] got an NC-17, I’d be the first going, ‘All right, we gotta cut some of that stuff.’ It’s ridiculous — a penis got coughed up in the movie by a piranha! They show more in four scenes [in that movie] than we do in [all of Blue Valentine]! And ours is a serious love story. I don’t understand it.”
“We’re going to have to overturn this,” Weinstein says of the NC-17, which could seriously limit the movie’s commercial and awards prospects. “This is serious stuff. This could really hurt the movie.” Regardless of the outcome of his appeal, Weinstein says he has no intention of cutting writer-director Derek Cianfrance’s film to get an R rating. “Derek doesn’t want to do it, I don’t think there’s any reason to do it, and of course I’m worried that if we don’t get the R it could jeopardize the business of the movie and more importantly my actors … because they are eminently nominatable.”
For more on Blue Valentine, be sure to pick up next week’s Entertainment Weekly on stands Nov. 12.