Which Book Does Steven Spielberg Admit He 'Softened' in Movie Form?


Steven Spielberg is likely a man of few regrets, but even the Oscar-winning director is appearing dubious about one of his major works. In a new interview, Spielberg admits he "softened" the sensuality of one of his film's source material to preserve a PG-13 rating. And maybe the film suffered for it. Care to guess which opus he's talking about?

In a talk with EW, Spielberg opines about exploring -- or rather, not exploring -- the relationship between Shug Avery (Margaret Avery) and Celie (Whoopi Goldberg) in his adaptation of Alice Walker's The Color Purple. The film drew 11 Oscar nominations at the time (and famously won none), but Spielberg claims he caught flak for skimping on the intimacy between the characters.

"There were certain things in the [lesbian] relationship between Shug Avery and Celie that were very finely detailed in Alice's book, that I didn't feel we could get a [PG-13] rating... And I was shy about it. In that sense, perhaps I was the wrong director to acquit some of the more sexually honest encounters between Shug and Celie, because I did soften those. I basically took something that was extremely erotic and very intentional, and I reduced it to a simple kiss. I got a lot of criticism for that."

But does he actually regret making the relationship less sexual? Big no.

Asked if he'd do it differently now, Spielberg says, "I wouldn't, no. That kiss is consistent with the tonality, from beginning to end, of The Color Purple that I adapted."

I want Spielberg to compensate for this slight with a naughty scene in Lincoln. Maybe Mary Todd gives roadhead to Abe in the stagecoach where he wrote the Gettysburg address. "A score for the fourscore!" says Peter Travers.

• Steven Spielberg Says He Softened Lesbian Sex in The Color Purple [The Advocate]


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