MT: Yes, the movie itself is not yet rated, but it would be rated R. But when we went to screen just the trailer the theatre said, “Well, this is a Hard R for the sex, we can only play it in front of certain R rated audiences.”
Q: You thought that was unfair?
MT: That our trailer would shock so many people is what I find bizarre, but that’s not the Laemmle’s fault, that’s society’s hang-up. They’re just very aware of their audience, they know what will rattle their audience, and they can’t show a trailer like Prince of Swine’s in front of an audience it would shock. But the Laemmle have been absolute angels to me, they’re a real friend of the indy filmmaker and a mecca for revolutionary indy films like Prince of Swine. The Sunset 5 is the best theatre for a cutting edge revolutionary film like Prince of Swine, probably in the whole country.
MT: Wild sex, in two words. And the theatre is just doing what the MPAA would do, I absolutely understood their reasoning and agreed with it. They have to operate by social norms. It’s those social norms I think are insane and corrupt in this case.
Q: Like what?
MT: Well there’s practically no violence in the movie. In law terms it never leaves the civil realm. But movie wise, a hard R is equivalent to the criminal realm, Prince of Swine has been pushed out to the edge where the hard violence is, that’s what a hard R means.
Q: But you were restricted for sex, not violence?
MT: We were restricted for wild and rough sex, if it were just the amount of sexual content we would be a soft R. There’s a lot of sex in Prince of Swine, there’s very little nudity, but you can have a lot of sex and still get a soft R. It’s when the sex becomes intense or hard that you get the hard R. That’s what really blows my mind, something like Sex and the City, or Sex and the City 2, with all its frivolous crap, to my mind that’s portraying sex in a way that’s really harmful to society –
MT: Enabling gold-digging, associating sex with money in a woman’s mind, especially unconsciously, that makes it even more powerful. That's not what feminism is about, it's not what we should be about. Also, just the frivolousness of it, I’m actually not a huge fan of frivolous sex –
Q: How is Prince of Swine different?
MT: Well, there’s two veins to the story that got us in trouble. The first is the love story, and that’s just two people in love, having passionate, all out sex, like two animals who mate for life. There’s nothing sleazy about it, on the contrary, that’s the most beautiful and moral thing in the world in my opinion. Maybe it’s not for children, maybe you have to be an adult before you can appreciate that, but honestly, I think it’s a healthier depiction of sex than all this soft porn titillation you see on TV, the teasers, cheap innuendo, and all the packaging of vacuous, vapid sex, like it’s some new car or lipstick or something. We show sex and love as what they are – something that rocks your world, something worth fighting for, something that changes your life, is transcendent and redemptive and sacred.
Q: And that got you in trouble?
Q: I’m genuinely afraid to ask.
MT: Well the other vein is this monstrous producer who genuinely hates women, having sex with a teenage prostitute. It’s entirely consensual and that’s what’s so horrifying. The producer is unloading all his hatred of women on her and she’s already so jaded it has utterly no effect on her, she could be listening to MTV (which she often does during sex).
Q: So that’s the one that got you banned?
MT: The point is both of them got us banned equally – there is no difference from a ratings perspective. Jordan and Greg at the Laemmle, these are very sophisticated guys, they’ve seen it all artistically, they know the difference, but at the same time they know society will make no distinction – so what does that say about American society?
MT: That we’re a bunch of F’ing children about sex, if you ask me. I mean, grow up. And this is West Hollywood, one of the most sophisticated places in the country. Can you imagine how bad it is in Orange County? From the country that brought you Proposition 8 and impeached Bill Clinton for cheating on his wife. Good God, Clinton ran a budget surplus twice, anyone who runs a surplus even once, they can cheat with the whole country for all I care, I'll still vote for them. We are so screwed up as a country. I mean, ya' know, Bush Jr., never cheated once I bet. Lot of good that did us this decade. I mean, please, I beg you, cheat on your wife, if it'll keep you from invading Iraq and trashing the economy. We beg you, go F an intern, it's a small price to pay, for the good of the country.
Prince of Swine opens at the Laemmle Sunset 5 in West Hollywood on the Sunset Strip at Crescent Heights, Memorial Day Weekend, for a limited engagement, May 28th to June 3rd.
Get tickets for Prince of Swine online at the Laemmle Sunset 5 or the Prince of Swine website http://www.princeofswine.com/ (discounts available for advance and group purchasers).
Visit Prince of Swine at http//www.princeofswine.com.