Immigrant saga cuts 'honor killing'

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The National Iranian American Council has claimed a "mutual victory" after persuading writer-director Wayne Kramer and one of his stars to remove a family "honor killing" scene from the Weinstein Co.'s immigrant drama "Crossing Over."

In the original script of the film — which stars Harrison Ford, Sean Penn, Ashley Judd, Cliff Curtis and Ray Liotta — an Iranian-American woman is killed by her brother after having an affair with a Latino man. The act is sanctioned by their father.

An Iranian-American actor who read the script but wasn't associated with the film casually mentioned the plot point to NIAC assistant legislative director Emily Blout. Concerned that the depiction was "highly unlikely and potentially inflammatory," she contacted Kramer and one of the stars during the film's Los Angeles shoot. NIAC president Trita Parsi said the star wished to remain anonymous, but all parties began "a constructive dialogue from the outset."

In the final version, which Parsi said required reshoots and script changes, there is no discussion of "honor" in any killing. He said it was agreed that the group would not disclose the plot revision in the final film.

" 'Honor killings' are accepted in some Middle Eastern cultures but not accepted in Iranian culture," Parsi said. "They sometimes happen in remote areas of Iran, but there are no cases of Iranians doing this in the U.S."

Said Weinstein Co. spokeswoman Sarah Rothman: "We are pleased the filmmakers and NIAC were able to resolve this issue in a way that addresses NIAC's concerns and maintains the creative integrity of the film. While we believe strongly in freedom of expression, we also believe in the importance of constructive dialogue between artists and the communities they seek to portray."

"Crossing Over," which examines tensions among several Los Angeles immigrant groups, is scheduled for release in December.
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