By Madelyn Ritrosky-Winslow
A scandalous story. The dark underbelly of showbiz. Shadowy hints of the legendary Martin & Lewis.
A ratings battle. NC-17. Colin Firth and Kevin Bacon. Nude. In a shocking sex scene.
Well, they’ve got my attention.
The film is Where the Truth Lies, and it stars Bacon, Firth, and Alison Lohman. It’s about a comedy duo in the late ‘50s and a later journalistic investigation in the ‘70s into a long-unsolved mysterious death that occurred in the entertainers’ hotel room. The movie hits screens in October.
Director Atom Egoyan and producer Robert Lantos appealed the MPAA’s initial decision of NC-17. This past Wednesday, a newly trimmed version was also rejected for the R rating. Since it will be rated NC-17, Egoyan’s original version is what will be released in theaters. The publicity the film is receiving because of the ratings controversy will probably generate some box office punch despite the NC-17 rating or because of it.
Apparently the rating hinges on the way a ménage-a-trois scene was shot. Egoyan has said that the scene is not only the film’s pivotal scene and thus requires a certain mise-en-scéne, but that he did not shoot cover shots to go to for sexual content editing because, in his vision, the scene would no longer work.
The film is adapted from Rupert Holmes’s 2003 steamy mystery novel of the same name. It premiered at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this summer, and its North American premiere will be at the Toronto Film Festival next Tuesday. Where the Truth Lies is being distributed by independent ThinkFilm.
Interestingly, one of the stars of this NC-17 rated film will appear on movie screens at the exact same time in a family-oriented film also set to be released on October 21. Colin Firth stars with Emma Thompson in Universal’s Nanny McPhee, about a strange, magical nanny, a widower, and his bunch of unruly children. It’s highly unusual for an actor to have two such different films targeting very different audiences come out at the same time.
Where the Truth Lies is scheduled to be released in New York City and Los Angeles on October 14 and in other larger cities on October 21.