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BERLIN – Joseph Gordon-Levitt will cut out the most graphic sex scenes from his directorial debut, Don Jon’s Addiction, in order for the film to qualify for an R rating in the U.S., the actor-director said Friday.
“Yes, we expect we have to do that, and I’ll be getting started on it as soon as I get back,” Gordon-Levitt said at a press conference at the Berlin International Film Festival, where Voltage Pictures’ Don Jon’s Addiction is screening in the Panorama section.
Questions about whether the at-times graphic romantic comedy — in which Gordon-Levitt plays a modern-day Lothario addicted to pornography — would have to be toned down for U.S. release have been swirling since the film premiered in Sundance.
Relativity Media snagged U.S. rights to the film, which also stars Scarlett Johansson, Julianne Moore and Tony Danza, from Voltage after a fierce bidding war. But the size of the Relativity deal — $4 million upfront and a guaranteed $25 million P&A spend — made it clear an R rating likely was essential if Ryan Kavanaugh‘s company was to have any chance of making a profit.
To achieve that, the festival version of Don Jon’s Addiction will have to be neutered. But the director said he didn’t think cutting out the egregious images would affect the story.
“I think it is important that those images are in there, but what precisely you see isn’t that important,” Gordon-Levitt says. “What’s important is the rhythm of the film, the repetition of what the Don Jon character does, over and over.”
And while pornography and sex addiction are key themes in the film, Gordon-Levitt stressed that Don Jon’s Addiction was “really a love story” that aims to explore ideas of intimacy and the media’s obsession with sex, packaged in the form of an edgy comedy.
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