CinemaCon stars sound off about film violence, ratings

05:00 AM, Apr 19, 2013

Vin Diesel, left, Paul Walker and Jordana Brewster, cast members in the upcoming film 'Fast & Furious 6, ' answer questions at CinemaCon. Chris Pizzello, AP/


Written By by Scott Bowles, USA TODAY

LAS VEGAS — Children and violence was a hot, if uncomfortable, topic during the CinemaCon gathering of theater owners this week.

The National Association of Theater Owners took the film industry to task for producing too many R-rated movies, even though they see less return on investment. And the Motion Picture Association of America is redesigning its ratings box to get parents to read about the sex and violence in the movies that are dominating cineplexes. USA TODAY asked the stars and filmmakers gathered for CinemaCon’s celebrity awards night if Hollywood is too violent:

Justin Lin, director of Fast & Furious 6, out May 24. The film is not yet rated, but the studio intends for a PG-13 rating.

I’m on the phone, it seems, every day with the MPAA,” Lin says. “So I’m not sure what I should say. But I do think it’s good to have this discourse with (the ratings board). We should have more of that, parents included, so they know what their kids are seeing.”

Morgan Freeman, promoting Now You See Me (May 31), rated PG-13.

I think the R-rating is being misused,” he says. “Just because certain words are in a film, should that get you an R-rating? If you’re a 14-year-old kid, there’s nothing you haven’t heard. And if he has an X-box, there’s nothing he hasn’t seen. The ratings aren’t always appropriate. I went to see King Kong, the original, when I was 6. Now that should have been an R-rated film. That scared the crap out of me.”

Joseph Gordon-Levitt, director of Don Jon (Oct. 18), not yet rated.

First of all, I love G, PG, PG-13 movies. One of my favorite movies of all time is Dumbo,” Gordon-Levitt says. “But I wanted my movie to be rated R. Life is rated R. And if you want to reach that broad audience, capturing real life, that rating is appropriate. Having said that, my mother was involved in everything I read, the movies I saw, the TV shows I watch. In the end, I think parents have to be heavily involved.”

Chris Pine, star of Star Trek Into Darkness (May 13), rated PG-13.

I find the ratings system can be a little strange,” he says. “You can have a little bit of sex or nudity, and suddenly you’ve got an NC-17 rating. But you can show all of this violence and bloodshed, and somehow that’s OK. I mean, look at what kids see in Grand Theft Auto (video game). It’s a tough issue. But in the end, we all have to be accountable for what we’re making on screen.”

• Hailee Steinfeld, star of Ender’s Game (Nov. 1), not yet rated.

I’d like to think I’ve seen everything, but then I’ll read something and know I haven’t,” said the 16-year-old. “I still have my parents OK my scripts and probably will until I’m 32. I’m fine with them looking over the script for what’s appropriate.”