While “Iron Man” and “The Incredible Hulk” sit on the lighter and more family friendly side of the superhero movie fence this Summer, it’s long been thought that “The Dark Knight” would be the only film of the type really pushing the PG-13 boundaries. Not so it seems.
An interesting article in The New York Times about “Hancock”, the upcoming Will Smith comedy/drama, reveals that the film has been submitted twice to the ratings board and tagged each time with an R. The studio has made clear that it wants the $150 million film rated PG-13 to reach an intended broad audience.
Amongst other things found objectionable for example, director Peter Berg revealed that the film contained scenes of a statutory rape up until three weeks ago. Another scene, vettoed before filming began, had Hancock getting drunk with a 12-year-old – that was changed to a 17-year-old in the final version.
Nevertheless, Berg says that the film “remained surprisingly sexual, violent and true in spirit to an original script”. Vincent Ngo’s early draft, first floated around studios a decade ago, was considered “brilliant, but unfilmable”.
The current film is now undergoing a tug-of-war of sorts between the filmmakers who want to keep the darker and more dramatic meat of the story – and both the studio execs and ratings boards who want something that will pull in as big an audience as possible.
Helping soothe this is the film’s marketing campaign, which apparently plays up the lighter and more comedic moments of the film. Berg admits that “The ad campaign for this movie is much friendlier than the film.” Sony chief Amy Pascal says “It’s scary in that it goes farther than we’ve gone before.”