Entertainment

Breitbart biopic slapped with ‘R’ rating, delaying theatrical release

Photo of David Martosko
David Martosko
Executive Editor

Producers of the biographical documentary “Hating Breitbart” got news last week that their film received an “R” rating from the Motion Picture Association of America. And with that move official Hollywood, long the preserve of liberal culture warriors, has had what appears to be the last laugh on the late Andrew Breitbart.

A converted conservative whose political apostasy pleased his admirers but rankled the power structure in his native Los Angeles, Breitbart was never at a loss for words. And some of those words were decidedly profane. Andrew Marcus, the director of “Hating Breitbart,” which was scheduled for release on Oct. 12, told The Daily Caller on Sunday that the film’s nationwide unveiling has been pushed back one week while he and his team approach the MPAA with a request for a re-hearing. That decision, he said, was made over the weekend.

Foul language, he told TheDC, was the only rationale the MPAA gave for reaching its rating decision.

“There’s no nudity, there’s no sex,” Marcus said. “Just the occasional f-word.”

“If anything the ‘R’ rating should be a result of the gutter behavior of the Congressional Black Caucus and their enablers in the progressive institutional left media,” Marcus added in a later email. “The hatred aimed at Andrew and the tea party was pornographic!”

But Breitbart is the one uttering a few choice adult words. During one sequence early in the film, he looks into the camera and inveighs against what he saw as a conspiracy among liberal media elites to cast conservative politicians and commentators as Neanderthal throwback villains.

“What the left has stood for with political correctness,” he says on screen, looking into the distance, “is to try and get those with whom they disagree to shut up. And the tea party movement, and Sarah Palin, and Michele Bachmann, and Allen West and all the people who have gone out there against the mainstream media and said, ‘You’re going to call us racists? You’re going to call us potential Timothy McVeighs? Fuck you!’”

Then Breitbart looks into the camera and takes a pregnant pause before half-whispering his conclusion.

“War.”

Breitbart died unexpectedly on March 1. The film is a paean to the man whom conservative activists see as a standard-bearer cut down in the prime of his focused anger at the political left. (Breitbart’s 2011 book was titled “Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World!”)

Marcus told TheDC that “Hating Breitbart” originally included nine curse words, a total he reduced while recutting the film to angle for a more lenient rating.

“I have gone as far as I can go cleaning up the language and keeping the film true to the character of Andrew Breitbart,” he said in a statement late Sunday. “It is reasonable to hope the MPAA will change our rating. We now have four uses of language, down from nine.”

Criticizing the MPAA is a dangerous game in Hollywood, and Marcus acknowledged that he is “in a difficult position as a filmmaker. I understand the MPAA’s process and believe that it is better to have a private entity assessing these decisions rather than having it decreed by a arm of the government. We have worked hard to address their concerns.”

“At the same time, however,” he continued, “I am being asked to censor the words of Andrew Breitbart who is no longer here to weigh in on that decision. The language in the film is not gratuitous; it is a part of the experiences and situations he found himself in during filming.”