Melissa Rosenberg: Breaking Dawn, Ratings, and More

MelissamicFilm has an interview with Melissa Rosenberg where she discusses writing each of the Twilight movies, Dexter, and writing to meet a rating.

“LL: If an adaptation felt to you like an R rating, but the studio wanted you to bring it in at a PG-13, would that be doable?

MR: Oh yeah. It’s completely doable. You don’t sacrifice story by cutting language. Nor do you sacrifice story by showing less blood or gore, or whatever it is that’s bringing you to an R rating. It doesn’t hurt it. When Dexter was aired on CBS they had to re-cut some of it for network television and all they had to do was cut some language. There’s more blood and gore in an episode of C.S.I., though of course Dexter is more disturbing. Not because of what you see, but because of what’s implied. I don’t think you take away from suspense or character by altering a few things like that.

LL: Having read Breaking Dawn, where things get ratcheted up a notch, do you still go for that PG-13 rating?

MR: Oh yeah, absolutely. That’s your audience. In this series you don’t sacrifice anything. There are some movies that wouldn’t play at PG-13, like The Hangover, but this is just not one of them for me. Again, if you’re capturing character, emotion, and emotional journey, you’re OK.”

See the rest on Film.

One thing that is not covered in the article is an issue that for whatever reason repetitively comes up. Breaking Dawn will not go to screen with a rated R rating because contractually it can’t. It would have to be recut to get a PG-13. Part of the deal for Summit to have the rights to the film is no more than a PG-13. You can still have blood and guts (ER’s final season anyone), and steamy romance (Remember Me and the Notebook) without broaching the R-rating.

Via RPattzNews



    • Call me crazy but I think it can be done and done fairly well. A lot of movies are PG-13 and are violent and graphic. Lord of the Rings anyone?
      So, Im more afraid of what they are going to do with the actually story than losing content of certain scenes. The rating is the least of my worries.

    • i really hope they dont water the birth scene down too much. its sooo intense in the book and im just hoping that intensity comes across in the movie.

  2. I would really love to hear jacob and renesme’s story…stephanie meyer’s should definitly make that her next trilogy..

  3. It’s not actually Rosenberg’s role in the final movie that worries me as much as the later parts of the process. (Unless of course she’s cutting whole scenes and subplots, but…) What comes to mind is the first Twilight movie, the kissing scene, which is actually a second version because the first edit was, according to Stephenie Meyer, ‘too steamy.’ Now, in my mind, the scenes that would cause controversy in BD can be done really quite well while staying in the confines of the PG-13 rating IF you look at extreme examples of what has been allowed in PG-13 movies in the past. Like others here have mentioned, the love scenes in The Notebook or Remember Me, or the violence in Lord of the Rings – these have made the rating without compromising the story. However, if they’re staying on the safer side of PG-13, where a scene with two fully-clothed teenagers barely making out can be deemed ‘too steamy,’ then I don’t know… Come on, Steph, you wrote the story, all we ask is that you let it get to screen the way you wrote it! lol

    Not to mention, ratings are so arbitrary to begin with. Here in Canada, the ratings are slightly different, USUALLY less strict. However, I was laughing when I noticed that here, Remember Me is rated 14A BUT so is The Runaways! REALLY?!?! hahaha

    • I believe Stephenie Meyer’s objection to the kissing scene in Twilight was not its general “steaminess” but the fact that it was the first scene like that and that she wanted to have a gradual build up of “steaminess”.
      That said, doesn’t this interview with MR show just how sick and twisted the whole rating business is? First of all, a film is made so it passes for a certain rating i.e. studios make films with the rating committee (or whatever this is) in mind and their criteria. Second, blood and gore, apparently, is less problematic for young people’s well-being than love….wtf? Third, MR holds the opinion that you don’t take anything away from the film by cutting a bit of language or showing less blood and gives the example of Dexter being more disturbing than CSI, even though it shows less gore. Again, why do we have a rating system if it doesn’t do the job? Why does a disturbing show get a PG-13 rating if it actually is disturbing for kids?
      On a personal note, I do think that one can take away a lot of a film by “just” cutting language, blood, nudity or sex. It all depends on what you want to do, of course. I just hope that whoever directs Breaking Dawn is brave enough to push some boundaries and not let the film end up as a boring, white-washed reproduction of words on a page.

  4. I agree! I can’t wait for the birth scene. I recall reading the pages of that scene for the first time and thinking, “What is happening to my Bella?” NO! I just couldn’t picture the torture, the gore. Then I re-read, and again, and a 4th time… Now this scene is just a really fascinating part of the journey into vampire land. I pray they capture it right! I know they can.

    • I agree! It wasn’t until about the 3rd time I read BD that I finally “got” that birth scene… I can’t wait to see it play out on screen. I remember seeing an interview recently with KStew where she said she was a little nervous about playing out that scene! Hopefully they don’t cut anything out of the movie, and they do it right by making it a 2 parter……

  5. I think it can be done tastefully for a PG13 rating. Let’s not forget that most of the lovie-dovie stuff Steph wrote is mostly fade-to-black when the good stuff starts. All of you just made it dirtier than it was in your mind 😉

  6. I know call me sick haha .. But I loved the birthing scene and the scene where she starts feeling sick. It just shows Stephenie’s writing skills because I really felt like I was there.

  7. I´m afraid they won´t stay true to the book, so I think in the first night of their honeymoon Bella and Edward should discuss the national dept and Renesmee should come with the stork 😉 At least we´d have something to laugh.

  8. The thing that makes BD harder to meet pg13 is because it has BOTH sex and gore. If you think about the examples given for extreme pg13 they are either violent (gore) OR romantic sex scenes. Where as BD would have both and I think that makes it more difficult.

    • Brittanylovestwilight says

      Are you sure you got the page number right? Bella remembers telling her father about the engagement. hahaha

      • I had to read your comment a few times to understand, but I think I see what you meant. JJ meant meet the PG-13 rating, not page 13 of the story 🙂

  9. I don’t believe the problem will lie with the honeymoon scenes as much can be implied. I imagine Bellas back will be shown as she is walking into the water and head shots will be shown as they are standing there. To me the biggest problem may be the birthing scene itself. Edward has to chew his way through her stomach. That does require nudity. Breasts will be exposed (you can hide her pelvic region). It isn’t going to be set up like a normal delivery room for a C Section with all the blue curtains hanging around. She is giving birth via emergency C section (ok a little different granted) but it is going to require some very tricky camera angles in order for this to stay PG13. No matter what they do some of us just aren’t going to be pleased because it will be lacking the full effect we get in the book and they won’t or can’t risk a higher rating. Catch 22.

    • well, if they show boob they won’t have their PG-13 rating. Remember what happened with The Notebook, anyone?

    • When they do the scene, they will probably have Bella wear a shirt to hide her breasts.

      • Yea I’m sure they can get away without any explicit nudity, she can very easily be wearing a sports bra or something during the birth. Wouldn’t it be covered in blood anyway?

  10. I think it is very possible to stay PG13 and still have the love scenes and the “gore”. Anyone who has seen Titanic I’m sure will remember the sex scene in the car as well as the woman holding her baby floating lifeless in the water….

    Something else from that interview bothers me a bit though, here is the quote…

    “I’m sure I’ll be offered all sorts of romantic teen dramas as I move forward, because I’ve now written plenty of them, and I won’t be doing that again. It’s not of interest me.”

    I’m wondering how she can deliver something that is well written and will please the fans if she has no interest in it??

    • Exactly. Thats my problem with MR she has this way about her. Almost like, “do I HAVE to finish this story?” I just feel like she thinks she a fantastic screenwriter and she is above this whole thing. Thats just the overall vibe I get fro her. Im sorry but adapting a screenplay, not too hard to do considering she already has the material!!

    • I’m with you, she should bow out and let someone else take over. I’ve never been a fan of hers, it’s too bad she didn’t figure out her position on these types of movies earlier.

  11. Ugh…I hate Melissa Rosenberg. I’ve wanted her gone since I saw the hatchet job she did on Twilight.

    But…we’re stuck with her for some reason. Why do we change directors like dirty underwear but stick with the same smelly old screenwriter??

  12. I am just excited that she will not be cutting out any of the storyline. I want it to be just like the book. I can’t wait to see how the wedding plays out and how Bella will look in her wedding gown. The scene at the wedding reception where an angry and rejected Jacob almost starts a Vampire/Werewolf war is going to be priceless! To me the most difficult thing that she is going to have to deal with is the “imprinting” thing. How will she get pass that without making TL/JB look like a child molester? Mean while Summit and the new director are going to have to deal with “Renesmee”. I don’t know how in the world they are going to pull that off. The wedding and honeymoon will be easy to film. Have anyone seen some of the eclipse kissing scenes with Kristen and Robert? Those look real steamy.

    • not to mention how they’ll get across the fact that Bella is basically on fire on the inside while being perfectly still on the outside to spare Edward the agony of watching his love burn…

  13. i found this article very informative, as i had been wondering a lot about the rating adaption…hoping they wouldn’t cut the story to get the pg-13. glad to know it’s in the hands of someone who won’t compromise the story!:)

  14. p.s. i wish they would have asked her opinion on making the story into two movies! maybe they already did somewhere and i’m not aware.

  15. Rosalie Hilton says

    I think they can keep it PG-13 with the right camera angles and such. I hope it can be done because most of the Twilighters are under the R age limit and then it won’t do as well. But I guess they can buy the DVD.

    • It can’t be rated R. It’s in the contract. Stephenie didn’t want anything above PG-13, because she doesn’t watch rated R movies. So the only problem is visually seeing what we “see” when we read the book, without receiving an R rating.

    • 90% of the Twilighters I know are between 15 and 40. Some of the fans are under R but certainly not most of them!

  16. i loved Breaking Dawn! My favorite book of the whole series! I hope they get all the romantic, tense, gorey aspects right! I wanna see the wedding, honeymoon, birth, transformation, and the little things…like Kate and Garretts cute banter, Bella being a super detective, her hunting with Edward and the baby, and the cottage given to them! There are so many little yet important things to get across i hope they go the 2 flick route to get it right! Last of the series hold nothing back or spare no expense lol like Jurassic Park! 😛

  17. OK… I’m going to put this out there. While I am completely in obsessed with Twilight, I’m also obsessed with other fantasy creations, such as the TV show Supernatural. Don’t lie, I KNOW there are more of you out there that lust after Dean & Sam as much as Edward & Jacob! 😉 In that show, within the course of a 45-minute episode, they have horror, gore, “thematic elements”, AND sex! And it’s on network television! It’s hot, it’s scary, it’s suspenseful, even gross sometimes. Which tells me that it’s unbelievably possible to make BD hot & juicy & dark & gory & still get a PG-13 rating. That is, as long as it’s written & directed with a certain finesse. Now, let’s all join hands & say a little prayer to the sparkly Twilight gods that Melissa R. doesn’t slice & dice too much, & that a visionary & insightful & genius director takes the helm on the project that we are all holding our breath for.

  18. Twilight Nymph says

    Why can’t they just do it, like they do with other films. Take the PG-13 version out in theaters and then release the theatrical and Unrated version on DVD. I mean it wouldn’t be breaking the contract right because it would be unrated. That’s my opinion if you ask me, makes things simpler.

  19. pullshapesss says

    why hasn’t melissa rosenberg been fired yet?
    she’s the worst thing to happen to this series.

    in someone’s more capable hands, maybe everything said in these movies wouldn’t sound like horrible slang from an era no one remembers.

    that being said, it’s only too easy to make breaking dawn a pg-13 movie. there’s really not much that’s super hardcore besides the birth scene.
    and we’ve seen worse than that on prime time tv.
    anyone ever watched law & order or heroes?

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    […] Twi­light Lex­i­con (Via RPattzNews) Tags: Breaking Dawn, Interviews, Melissa Rosenberg, Robert Pattinson This entry was posted on Monday, April 5th, 2010 at 11:45 pm and is filed under Breaking Dawn, Interviews, Robert Pattinson. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site. […]

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