M’s mission succeeds: Philomena gets PG-13 rating

Not the University of Michigan president

Judi Dench in Skyfall

Judi Dench’s last (?) assignment as M was a success.

The veteran actress (sort of) reprised her role as M in a video meant to pressure the Motion Picture Association of America into relenting on its decision to give the film Philomena an R rating. Whether it was Dench’s video or not, the campaign was a success, according to A STORY IN THE LOS ANGELES TIMES.

An excerpt:

This time, Harvey Weinstein seems to have gotten what he wanted.

It was less than a week ago that his Weinstein Co. declared war — yet again — on the Motion Picture Assn. of America, slamming the organization for assigning the studio’s upcoming release “Philomena” an R rating. Now, just a few days later, the MPAA has downgraded the rating to a PG-13 — prompting the Weinstein Co. to send out a news release touting its victory in the appeal.

“Philomena,” which stars Judi Dench as a woman trying to locate a son she was forced to give up for adoption 50 years earlier, was initially given an R because it included two utterances of the F-word. To speak out against the MPAA’s decision last week, Dench filmed a FunnyorDie video assuming the character she played in the James Bond series, MI5 chief M.

Of course, M (who Dench played in seven 007 films from 1995 through 2012) was chief of MI6, not MI5. In any event, both Weinstein and his star got what they wanted. A PG-13 rating generally makes it easier to attract an audience than an R-rated one.

UPDATE (Nov. 14) In a CBS NEWS VIDEO, Harvey Weinstein is saying, not surprisingly, that he cleared having Judi Dench reprise the M role before that video was produced. Weinstein tells the anchors of CBS’s morning show that he called Sam Mendes, Barbara Broccoli and Daniel Craig.

Previous posts:


February 2013: THE M OF TWO WORLDS

Judi Dench’s (M)oonlighting over the years

Playing M in seven James Bond movies has given Judi Dench the opportunity to get additional jobs portraying the character.

The newest example was the Weinstein Co. having Dench appear in a video dubbed “A Special M.essage” to protest an R rating for the film Philomena. The beginning plays off how her M was killed off in Skyfall by saying, “Just when you thought I was dead.”

The video was part of a broader effort by Weinstein Co. to try to get the movie a PG-13 rating, according to A STORY on the Deadline: Hollywood website. Dench plays the title character OF THE MOVIE.

However, this is hardly Dame Judi’s first case of (M)oonlighting. In 2011, she played M, making Daniel Craig’s 007 see things from a woman’s perspective. The public service spot was produced by Barbara Broccoli, the co-boss of Eon Productions.

In the 1990s, Dench was again in character as M in a video that was part of a LIcense to Thrill ride at an amusement park near Cincinnati.

February 2013 post: The M of two worlds