Producer's Diary

May 2004

"2:30 P.M. Well, the MPAA started watching A Dirty Shame in L.A. 10 a.m. PST, so they should be nearing the end of the rating-appeal hearing. Right now it’s NC-17, which is absurd. You can watch eyeballs getting squished in Kill Bill, but you can’t make a joke about felching. John Waters is out there with Carolyn Blackwood, the legal and business affairs rep from New Line. John wrote us a nervous e-mail yesterday outlining their strategy. When they announce their verdict, he wrote, “I’ll find out their home addresses and ritualistically slaughter the entire board. That’s my morning tomorrow. How’s yours?” John calls: the appeal got rejected. “The hardest thing to fight,” he says, “was when the MPAA lady said, ‘Seventeen-year-olds, seniors in high school, and all college students will be certainly allowed to see this movie with an NC-17 rating.’ What do you say to that?” I call Ted Hope, my producing partner on the film, to strategize. It’ll be New Line’s choice whether to fight, but soon Variety will get the story and it’ll be out of our hands. “If we’re going to come out swinging,” I tell Ted, “we need to do it on our own terms.”

-Christine Vachon. A Killer Life: How an Independent Film Producer Survives Deals and Disasters in Hollywood and Beyond.