The Weinstein Co. will challenge the MPAA's decision to assign an R rating to its upcoming transgender drama 3 Generations.
TWC was told that the film, which stars Elle Fanning, Naomi Watts and Susan Sarandon and was directed by Gaby Dellal, received the rating due to language and some sexual references.
In its bid to downgrade the R rating to a PG-13, TWC has enlisted attorney David Boies, who is the company's go-to lawyer for high-profile cases (Boies also represented TWC in its battle with Warner Bros. over the use of the title The Butler).
The MPAA offered a statement in response to TWC's promise to fight the 3 Generations rating. "Under the Classifications and Ratings Administration (CARA) rules, the ratings board and appeals board maintain confidentiality and do not comment publicly about the process for movies under review," MPAA spokesperson Chris Ortman said. "Any filmmaker who objects to the given rating can choose to go to the appeals board."
TWC has a long history of challenging the MPAA's ratings, sometimes successfully. The Michelle Williams-Ryan Gosling starrer Blue Valentine initially received an NC-17, but it was knocked down to an R. The company's best picture Oscar winner The King's Speech also received an R, which remained in place, but TWC managed to get a PG-13 rating for an alternate version.
Boies helped get the rating changed on the documentary Bully. Initially given an R for reasons similar to 3 Generations, TWC challenged the rating because it wanted the film to be more accessible to its intended teen audience. The film eventually received a PG-13.
"This film is a beautiful and touching story about family and identity," said Watts, who stars in the film as the mother of the protagonist Ray, played by Fanning, and who also is an executive producer. "It is important for teenagers to see it and the R rating doesn't reflect today's society. 3 Generations doesn't have a bad bone in its body. It's an expression of love, acceptance, strength and honesty - values that could not be more necessary right now."
Added TWC co-chairman Harvey Weinstein: "Gaby, Naomi, Susan and Elle made this movie to share its message of acceptance and inclusion with all generations. The fact that an R rating would prevent high school students from seeing this film would truly be a travesty. The MPAA and I were able to come to an agreement on Bully, and I am confident that we will be able to do so again."
The film follows Ray, a teenager who has struggled with the body assigned to him at birth and is determined to start transitioning. His single mother Maggie must track down Ray's biological father (Tate Donovan) to get his legal consent to allow Ray's transition. Dolly (Sarandon), Ray's lesbian grandmother, is having a hard time accepting that she now has a grandson. The film follows their journey as each character confronts his or her own identity and learns to embrace change while ultimately finding acceptance and understanding.
"3 Generations is an important movie for everyone to see, especially transgender youth who are feeling isolated or fearful and their families," said Sarandon. "It's ridiculous to have an R rating, which would prevent this audience from seeing the film."
Added Dellal: "As a mother and a filmmaker, I want to speak to kids, to parents and to grandparents everywhere in a common language of love and inclusion about a subject matter that is not only real and complicated, but one that is important and alive today. There are kids all over this country that are still too fearful to speak out and to step out; they're too alone to fight, lacking the kinds of support that would let them feel free to be themselves. Our story wants to humanize this family experience, and to take the mystery out of the secrets. I hope the MPAA will reconsider this R rating and encourage children to see this story and feel connected."
April 6, 12:45 p.m. Updated with the MPAA's statement.