M Returns from the Dead to Battle MPAA


If you haven't seen Skyfall you probably shouldn't be reading this spoiler... Judi Dench's "M" bought the farm at the end of the last James Bond installment, but the star revives her beloved character (with the blessing of the 007 producers) to fight again, this time with the MPAA on behalf of her new film Philomena, which has received an "R" rating. Watch the amusing Funny or Die video, featuring funnyman Steve Coogan as a lesser double-0 spy on M's roster...

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The MPAA gave Philomena its restrictive rating for its inclusion of two F-words, but producer Harvey Weinstein is appealing the rating this week for a "PG-13" on the grounds that the choice of wording is warranted in the context of the film and that the movie otherwise has no crude content. An "R" rating can limit box office potential, especially to the target audience of this particular project.

This is definitely not the first time Weinstein has gone up against the MPAA's strict rulings, having contested everything from the lack of permission to use the title The Butler despite a title conflict by another film -- a silent short from 1916 -- to contesting the "R" and "NC-17" ratings of such films as The King's Speech, Blue Valentine, Bully, Fahrenheit 9/11, Kids and Clerks.

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Based on a true story, Philomena follows the story of an older mother's search for the boy she gave away at birth -- conceived out of wedlock, a pregnancy frowned upon by her Irish-Catholic community -- and forced to sign a contract that wouldn't allow for any sort of inquiry into the son's whereabouts. Years later, she sets out to find him and enlists the help of a BBC reporter (Coogan) to cover the story. Directed by Stephen Frears and co-starring Michelle Fairley, Barbara Jefford, Anna Maxwell Martin, Mare Winningham, Sophie Kennedy Clark and Peter Hermann, Philomena opens in limited release on November 22 and expands to more theaters on November 27.