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De Palma Backing Down on 'Snake Eyes' Rating? Perhaps

July 25, 1998|ERIC HARRISON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Brian De Palma isn't talking, and neither is Paramount, but indications are that the outspoken director has bowed to pressure from the studio and the Motion Picture Assn. of America to make cuts in his new movie "Snake Eyes."

De Palma blasted the MPAA last week and said he would not trim the film to get a PG-13 rating, maintaining the cuts would damage the movie. He said he would appeal the ratings board decision to give it an R rating without the cuts, despite a lack of support from the studio.

But an MPAA spokeswoman said this week that the appeal has been dropped. And De Palma's assistant said he could not come to the telephone because he was "in the editing room."

Officials for Paramount, who denied last week that they were being unsupportive of De Palma, did not respond to requests for information about the status of the movie.

The action thriller, which stars Nicolas Cage, opens nationwide Aug. 7. Compared to the gory and erotically charged movies De Palma made in the 1970s and 1980s, "Snake Eyes" is tame. The ratings board insisted, however, that unless De Palma were to trim a brutal fight scene and one bloody shooting and delete one use of an expletive, the film would be rated R.

An R rating would have limited the audience for the action film. Most of the summer's big action movies, including "Armageddon" and "Godzilla," had PG-13 ratings.

Rob Friedman, vice chairman of Paramount's motion picture group, said last week the film was "on the borderline" between an R and a PG-13 rating. He said he was concerned that publicity over the ratings dispute would give people the impression that "Snake Eyes" was a throwback to De Palma's earlier violent works, which frequently were threatened with what was then called an X rating.

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