Seabiscuit Sex Scene Cut
HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (SP) — Yesterday, DreamWorks Pictures announced that it would be changing the final cut of its upcoming release, "Seabiscuit", by deleting a scene in which the title character, a horse, and co-star Tobey Maguire, engage in explicit sexual relations.
Above: Deleted scene in which Tobey Maguire is pleasured by Seabiscuit.
The film is an adaptation of the best-selling novel "Seabiscuit: An American Legend" by Laura Hillenbrand, which chronicles the true story of a champion race horse that became a cultural icon during the Great Depression.
"When I read the book," explained Gary Ross, the film's director and screenwriter, "I could definitely sense the underlying sexual tension between Seabiscuit and jockey Red Pollard [played by Tobey Maguire]. I felt that by bringing these impulses to the surface, the audience would find it to be a much more satisfying experience."
However, DreamWorks executives disagreed. "We test-screened both versions," said producer Frank Marshall. "While audience members found that the love scene was very tastefully done, they just weren't sold on the idea that these characters were really in love with each other."
Maguire, who previously collaborated with Ross in the film "Pleasantville", was full of praise for the way that Ross directed the difficult scene. "I had never done a love scene with a member of the animal kingdom before, but Gary really had a way of making me feel comfortable," he said. When asked if he would ever consider doing another inter-species love scene, Maguire responded, "Only if it was true to the story, and to the character."
Veteran film director David Lynch can sympathize with Ross. Although Lynch's "The Elephant Man" did not technically include any moments of bestiality, Lynch was forced by Columbia Pictures to remove a scene in which the protagonist, played by John Hurt, was pleasuring himself. "It's so demoralizing," Lynch said, "to spend several years of your life invested in a project, only to have your vision not realized on the screen due to the delicate sensibilities of some studio executive."
Comedian Tom Green can also relate to Ross's experience. Green was the writer, director and star of the film "Freddy Got Fingered." While he was permitted to retain a vast amount of sexually explicit material, including one scene in which he digitally masturbates a horse, he was forced to remove a scene in which the character played by Rip Torn is sodomized by an elephant. "I think that the scene was very important to be able to understand the motivation of Rip's character, and Rip gave such a beautiful, nuanced performance," said Green.
Above: Seabiscuit had spectacular speed, but was also a brilliant tactician.
However, some people are of the view that there's no place for bestiality in contemporary cinema. Tipper Gore, the social activist responsible for introducing parental warning labels on CDs containing potentially offensive lyrics, and the wife of former U.S. Vice-President Al Gore, is vehemently opposed to the depiction of inter-species sex on the big screen. "It's this sort of filth which has led to the proliferation of violent criminal activity by young people in our society," she said.
U.S. Senator Orin Hatch (R.-Utah) agrees. "The portrayal of deviant sexual behavior in the film industry has led to the steady erosion of traditional family values," he said.
Film critic Roger Ebert doesn't see what all the fuss it about. “David Cronenberg explored the notion of 'autoeroticism' [between people and their motor vehicles] in his film 'Crash' several years ago,” said Ebert. “Why then should we have any more of a problem with a sex scene involving a horse, which, after all, was the primary mode of transportation prior to the twentieth century?"
Above: Julia Roberts was one of many Hollywood stars who auditioned for the role of Seabiscuit.
Fans anxious to see the steamy love scene between Seabiscuit and Tobey Maguire will have to wait until the film's release on DVD, early in 2004. Meanwhile, Ross is considering a pair of projects for his next directorial effort. One is a big-screen adaptation of the long-running television series, "Lassie." The other is what Ross calls a "re-imagining" of the Disney classic, "The Black Stallion."