Bruno 'too gay' for the censors

First cut gets kiss-of-death ratin

The first cut of Sacha Baron Cohen’s Bruno movie has been give the dreaded NC-17 rating after proving ‘too gay’ for American censors.

The MPAA panel gave the movie the adult-only certificate because of the number of sex scenes, according to Hollywood industry website The Wrap.

They are said to be upset about a scene in which Baron Cohen’s gay Austrian fashionista appears to have anal sex with a man on camera, and another in which he sneaks naked into the tent of an unsupsecying member of his hunting party.

Unlike Britain’s 18 certificate, NC-17 films are box-office poison in the US, and chains such as Blockbusters refuse to stock DVDs with the adult certificate – greatly damaging their chances of making profit.

But distributors Universal say it’s early days yet, and the film could be re-edited to attain the lesser R-certficate.

In a statement, they said: ‘The process of rating Bruno is only in its earliest stages and the film has not yet been rated

‘On its first submission the film did not receive an R but it is far too early to say that there is any struggle to get there as the process is only at its inception.’

Cohen’s previous film, Borat, also received a provisional NC-17 rating after its first screening to censors, but was later made into an R.

It has also been an established tactic to submit material unlikely to pass the ratings board, which can then be sacrificed so more important scenes can be kept in.

Preview scenes from the film were aired at the South by Southwest festival in Texas earlier this month.

One reveals the premise for the film: Bruno and his boyfriend decide to ‘do a Madonna’ and adopt an African baby (which arrives via a cardboard box). But the couple quickly break up, and Bruno then spends the movie trying to win custody by showing how heterosexual he is.

But in one scene, Bruno takes part in an ultimate fighting bout, which ends in a passionate gay clinch, to the revulsion of the unknowing audience.

The film is set for release in the US and the UK on July 10. Britain’s censors have not yet passed a verdict on the film.

Published: 30 Mar 2009

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