Shame Officially NC-17, and Other Stories You'll Be Talking About Today

fassbender_shame320.jpgHappy Wednesday! Also in this edition of The Broadsheet: Carey Mulligan on her part of earning Shame's controversial rating... Sylvester Stallone gets sued over The Expendables... The End is nigh for Warner Bros.... Shakespeare supporters protest Anonymous... and more.

· You can't really call this "news" after everything that's been written and otherwise rumored about Shame, but as presumed, the MPAA ratings board has officially issued an NC-17 for Steve McQueen's acclaimed new film about a sex addict (played by Michael Fassbender) in New York City. Distributor Fox Searchlight expected it all along and will attempt to make it the first NC-17 picture ever nominated for an Academy Award. Good luck! Sincerely -- after 21 years, it's time. [Deadline]

· Speaking of Shame, Carey Mulligan says her full-frontal nude scene "wasn't uncomfortable": "It was a very small set and a very small crew, so it didn't feel like I was doing it in front of that many people." Ha! I saw her topless from the front row of a recent stage production in NYC. Live! Mere feet away! The Half-Mulligan! There were hundreds of us! Anyway. I'm just saying... Honestly, I don't know what I'm saying. [LAT]

· A screenwriter named Marcus Webb filed suit in New York on Tuesday, claiming that Sylvester Stallone lifted the concept and plot of his blockbuster The Expendables from Webb's unproduced -- but registered, copyrighted and circulated -- screenplay The Cordoba Caper. Aha! So Webb is the responsible party! Get him, everyone. [Reuters]

· Warner Bros. has picked up The End, a spec script chronicling three interweaving tales of people facing the imminent end of the world. [Deadline]

· Meet the clowns protesting the London premiere of Anonymous by removing Shakespeare's hallowed name from road signs. Sigh. Can't they protest Hostel 3 or something genuinely offensive? Suggestions welcome. [BBC via NYT]

· Regardless of your affinity for Pearl Jam, this interview with the editor of Cameron Crowe's recent band documentary provides revealing insight to how your grunge-rock anniversary sausage is made. Or most any authorized music doc, for that matter. [The Awl]


  • AS says:

    Cool! Now no one will get to see it! Thanks McQueen, I'm sure that vag shot was sooooo necessary, wouldn't want to compromise your artistic integrity by cutting it.

  • Nathalie says:

    Actually I'm pretty sure it's NC-17 because of the many, many naked shots of Fassbender.

  • Yes and no. Without spoiling anything, there is one specific, long, utterly inessential scene near the end that probably sealed the deal.
    I don't think the NC-17 will prevent the film from being seen theatrically by those interested in seeing it, but all the Fassbender peen and Mulligan nudity notwithstanding, I do believe it could have been avoided by a more scrupulous filmmaker.

  • Chris G says:

    Henry & June was nominated for an Oscar... i think that was the only nomination for an NC-17 rated movie... Showgirls unfortunately missed out.

  • Cinematography! You're right, thanks for the correction.

  • The WInchester says:

    At least I don't have to worry about a woman bringing in her two toddlers and sitting uncomfortably in front of me the whole time like I did with Drive.
    (She finally decided that the hammer scene in the strip club was the tipping point and left, but still)

  • Oh, I'd be _piiiiiiissssssed_.

  • Noah James says:

    So I guess FOX Searchlight don't mind making a fraction of the box office they would've made with an R, since it restricts the number of theaters willing to play it.

  • My impression is that Fox Searchlight wants to smash that standard. It's 2011, it's a movie for adults, and it still wouldn't play in Peoria even cut to an R. They'll either do one of two things: Work to destigmatize the NC-17 for both box-office and Oscar's sake (my bet), or sink the movie entirely to keep Clooney and _The Descendants_ front and center, particularly in the Best Actor category (a much more cynical bet, but not to be ruled out).
    Bottom line, there is a lot to gain for the film(s) and distributor(s) who stand up to the MPAA and prove there's a market among grown, adult moviegoers whom the ratings board nevertheless thinks it has to protect.

  • Alan says:

    Does Ellen Burstyn's performance in Requiem for a Dream count? I know the movie was ultimately left unrated, but it was given an NC-17 from the MPAA before that decision was made.

  • It doesn't count. Given the choice, Artisan released it unrated. Searchlight went into this as an MPAA signatory knowing full well the rating was inescapable.

  • Noah James says:

    Makes sense. I just know how studios - even studios dealing with independent films - feel about the uphill battle making money off of NC-17 films. But I hope what you are saying (the first theory) is their goal. If that's the case, I think VOD needs to be utilized. Tower Heist tried to pull that off, but since theaters would get hurt by the movie designed for mass appeal (though for $60, I don't know if it would've done that much damage). But with Shame already small box office impact - combined with playing with a restricted number of theaters - VOD could provide a way to cater to audiences who wouldn't be exposed to it otherwise. That is, if FOX Searchlight WANTS people to see this film.

  • The VOD thing is actually a brilliant point, but only to the extent Searchlight can convince exhibitors this is a commercial film in the first place. We're not talking about _Black Swan_ here. Nevertheless, if theater chains say, "We're not showing it, it's NC-17," why _shouldn't_ Searchlight counter with a VOD run in the weeks after NYC/LA? It's not like the theater owners who rejected it could have a legit beef, right?
    I like it!

  • Noah James says:

    Glad you approve! Also, you know the run will be limited in the NYC/LA theaters anyways (it'll make the bulk of its BO amount in the first 3-4 weeks, even with positive word of mouth) - so what better way to keep it available to Academy voters than VOD up to the nomination submissions?