Joseph Gordon-Levitt to cut steamy sex scene from his directorial debut ‘Don Jon’s Addiction’

Movie Talk

Speaking at a press conference at this year's Berlinale, Joseph Gordon-Levitt said he would cut graphic sex scenes from his directorial debut, “Don Jon's Addiction,” to secure an R rating. “Yes, we expect we have to do that and I'll be getting started on it as soon as I get back,” the actor-director said.

“Don Jon's Addiction,” a romantic comedy about a New Jersey man (Gordon-Levitt) whose preference for pornography over intimacy is challenged by two women (Julianne Moore, Scarlett Johansson) he encounters, debuted at Sundance last month. Critics were largely positive about the film, though many eyes popped at the sex, which includes a number of extremely steamy scenes between Gordon-Levitt and Johansson.

Relativity Media, who paid $4 million upfront to acquire “Don Jon's Addiction” for distribution, also committed in the same deal to a guarantee of $25 million in prints and advertising. With the difficulties in exhibiting NC-17 films, the assumption is that this deal is contingent on Gordon-Levitt being able to deliver an R-rated cut of the film to the MPAA.

While the ratings board is notoriously lenient with regards to violence, sex is another matter, with arbitrary limits on the number of times acts can be repeated, what parts of the body can be shown, and so on. A film dealing as extensively and frankly with both pornography and sex as “Don Jon's Addiction does” may have to undergo heavy alteration to pass muster.

In spite of this, Gordon-Levitt is confident that any mandated cuts to the sexual content will not affect the film's quality. He describes the film as “really a love story” and that the themes of intimacy and the media's obsession with sex will read regardless of the explicitness of the depiction. “I think it is important that those images are in there but what precisely you see isn't that important,” the actor-director said, adding “What's important is the rhythm of the film, the repetition of what the Don Jon character does, over and over.”

No U.S. release date has yet to be announced for “Don Jon's Addiction,” but the rumored September-October release dates for European territories would indicate the film would bow in North America around that time as well.