Film censorship in the U.S. is all about sex, not violence, and he finds it incomprehensible, actor Kevin Bacon said yesterday.
"I don't get it," Bacon told a Toronto film festival press conference for Atom Egoyan's Where The Truth Lies, one of last night's Galas.
In what plays as a murder mystery and expose -- with explicit sex scenes -- Bacon co-stars with Colin Firth, Alison Lohman and Canadian ingenue Rachel Blanchard.
Last week, U.S. censors confirmed an NC-17 rating for the film because of its sexual content. The rating is the kiss of death for the film's box office.
"I don't get it," Bacon said, "when I see films (that) are extremely violent, extremely objectable sometimes in terms of the roles that women play, slide by with an R, no problem, because the people happen to have more clothes on."
Bacon raised the possibility that the U.S. censors at the Motion Picture Association of America -- who take advice from a Catholic priest and an Episcopalian minister before rendering decisions -- imposed the NC-17 because of the possibility of a homosexual subtext to the relationship between his and Firth's characters.
"If that scene didn't end with a homosexual act, would the ratings board have given us an NC-17? I don't know. I can't answer that because I'm not behind the closed doors."
Egoyan, still angry about the MPAA decision, confirmed that he too believes it was made because of homophobia. "Otherwise, it makes no sense."
Egoyan said the scene "between Kevin and Colin is an essential piece of drama. It would be inconceivable to remove it from the film ... So I do consider it a really violent act of censorship. I have no qualms about that. I was very upset by what happened last week."
Getting the NC-17 rating has generated a lot of publicity, producer Robert Lantos said, but that is useless in the U.S. if the film's release is restricted, relegating it to a small number of theatres.
"It is a stigma that you don't want to have over your work in America," Lantos said.
"It is the mark of a leper."