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article imageJudi Dench as M takes on US censors

By Mathew Wace Peck     Nov 8, 2013 in Entertainment
Judi Dench has made a surprise return to her 007 role as MI6 chief, M, to take on the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), as part of a Harvey Weinstein’s appeal against an R rating for his new film.
Last month, Weinstein made it known that he would be challenging the R rating awarded to Philomena, which stars Dench and Steve Coogan.
A clip from the short film — in which M dispatches a secret agent to take on the MPAA — debuted yesterday (Thursday) on CBS This Morning. Weinstein was also on hand to defend his film.
Dench first played M in the 1995 007 film, GoldenEye, in which Pearce Brosnan played James Bond. She continued in that role up to and including last year’s Skyfall — with Daniel Craig as Bond — M’s re-appearance being a surprise following the deadly events involving the character in that film.
Two F’s and you’re out!
As related by the Hollywood Reporter, the producer said, “There are two f-words in the movie – you’re allowed one F. This is The King’s Speech. The movie is the gentlest, most wonderful true story, filled with humor and joy. They should just put PG-13 strong language on this and make an exception.”
Weinstein said that the language in the film was “not gratuitous” and added that removing the second F-word would be akin to “asking the director to change the intention [of the film]”.
As BBC News reports, Weinstein outlined his case for a PG-13 rating for the film:
Our research shows us that, especially down south and in the Midwest, the PG-13 rating is very important for adults. There’s a certain group of people who do not want to go and see an R-rated movie. Usually, they’re church families, and I think this is a movie that church families would profit by seeing. I think they’ll love the movie – it’s very entertaining.
Philomena tells the true story of a Catholic woman (played by Dench) and her search for the son (Coogan) she was forced to put him up for adoption in Ireland decades earlier.
Speaking about the “M” video itself, Weinstein explained, “With the blessing of Barbara Broccoli and the Bond team, M has returned from the dead to fight this battle. The [R rating] appeal is on Wednesday, and M has risen from the dead.”
This isn’t the first time the Weinstein Company has come to blows with the MPAA. For instance, earlier this year, the studio was forced to rename the Lee Daniels-directed movie, The Butler, after the censors pointed to a 1916 short film of that name. Hence, incorporating the director’s name, the White House-set drama about ???? became Lee Daniels’ The Butler.
The appeal against the MPAA rating of Philomena takes place next week, on Wednesday, 13 November. Ahead of then, according to the BBC, the full version of the “M” video, which co-stars Coogan, will receive its premiere on the comedy website Funny or Die.
Directed by Stephen Frears, Philomena is due to be released in New York and Los Angeles on Friday, 22 November, with screening nationwide to follow from Wednesday, 27 November.
Previously, as already reported, the Weinstein Company ignored the MPAA’s decision and opened the film in those two cities without a rating. However, subsequently, the studio agreed to remove the offending language, leading to the edited version of the film receiving a PG-13 rating.
More about Judi dench, Motion Picture Association of America, James bond, Philomena, Mpaa
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