Anderson Cooper | GLAAD | Vince Vaughn

Director Ron Howard: 'Gay' Joke Will Remain In 'The Dilemma'

Earlier this month Vince Vaughn defended the "electric cars are gay" joke his character utters in the trailer for the upcoming Universal Studios release, The Dilemma. After receiving criticism from many, including GLAAD and Anderson Cooper, Universal axed the joke from the trailer. Now director Ron Howard is defending the joke and guess what? He's decided to leave it in the final cut of the movie, which will be released in January.

Howard tells the LA Times:

Vv "So why was the joke in the movie?  Our lead character of Ronny Valentine has a mouth that sometimes gets him into trouble and he definitely flirts with the line of what's okay to say.  He tries to do what's right but sometimes falls short.  Who can't relate to that? I am drawn to films that have a variety of characters with different points of view who clash, conflict and learn to live with each other. THE DILEMMA is a story full of flawed characters whose lives are complicated by the things they say to and hide from each other. Ronny is far from perfect and he does and says some outrageous things along the way."

He adds: "I believe in sensitivity but not censorship. I feel that our film is taking additional heat as an emblem for many movies and TV shows that preceded it that have even more provocative characterizations and language. It is a slight moment in THE DILEMMA meant to demonstrate an aspect of our lead character's personality, and we never expected it to represent our intentions or the point of view of the movie or those of us who made it."

No word yet from Anderson Cooper but GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios issued a response immediately after hearing Howard's decision to keep the joke in the film.

“At a time when so many in our country are speaking out against the bullying of gay youth, Universal was right to acknowledge the offensive nature of this 'joke' when it removed it from trailers. Unfortunately, by leaving it in the movie, they are now contributing to the problem. The conversations started as a result of the community’s response to this slur will help schools, media and parents understand the impact of the word ‘gay' being used as a pejorative. Hopefully in the future, Universal and Ron Howard will recognize the power of their words and use their films to bring people together rather than drive us apart."

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Comments

  1. Didn't Ron Howard also de-gay "A Beautiful Mind"?

    Even if this instance is being held as emblematic of a larger problem, is it really such a brave stance against censorship to keep a line with "gay" as a joke/slur? Couldn't the dialogue stay in character and not have to target a still discriminated minority?

    Posted by: Mike | Oct 30, 2010 6:35:23 AM


  2. bad taste, bad timing. its not the end of the world, but sh#t like this is more of the same. divorced from reality hollywood producers consult divorced from reality hollywood gays for their permission, forget reality, forget the kids who have the sh#t kicked out of them every day, its worth the joke im sure. ron, you're better than this.

    Posted by: eb | Oct 30, 2010 6:36:34 AM


  3. I LOVE GAY-CAll ME 4 SEX@ 00233 207688491.kiss.am in ghana.

    Posted by: Isaac | Oct 30, 2010 7:21:16 AM


  4. For gods' sake, it's a line in a movie, it's not advocating violence. Do we really have to sanitize the life experience of every person growing up in America (and elsewhere) today?

    Posted by: Dan | Oct 30, 2010 7:22:27 AM


  5. Listen Andy(Towle) and Steve Pep: In HBO's show "Weeds", the young character Shane says the same thing to his mom about a Toyota Prius. "It's gay", he says, after she trades a Land Rover for the best seller hybrid.

    Posted by: malo | Oct 30, 2010 7:34:01 AM


  6. @DAN, yes we do. it takes just a few synaptic connections to right a wrong. perhaps we might lose a simple-minded chortle here or there, but the lives we save may be our own. don't be an idiot. think ahead.

    Posted by: nic | Oct 30, 2010 7:46:52 AM


  7. @MALO,
    so?

    Posted by: nic | Oct 30, 2010 7:49:02 AM


  8. Ohh take a stand Opie. I am glad for journalist like Anderson and Maddow now in mainstream primetime bringing these issues to light. if his character is soo outrageous - why fall back on a lame line like that? Howard is so breeder.

    Posted by: mike | Oct 30, 2010 7:49:37 AM


  9. I agree with Ron Howard. I think it was appropriate to remove it from the trailer. I know when I saw the trailer (before the controversy) The line in question sort of felt like a slap in the face. However, within a full length movie as a whole - and a comedy at that - I think it fine. Ron Howard makes a great point about it extending the character. The line is said during a sales pitch in a corporate setting. Common sense tells the audience that use of the joke in that setting is probably a bad idea. The incident totally shows how out of touch he is. Art (yes this IS art) has to offend sometimes in order to clearly send the intended message. So, sorry if it's an unpopular point of view.

    Posted by: Ryan | Oct 30, 2010 7:51:29 AM


  10. While I see a place for language that is offensive in film for various reasons, I fail to see a need when it is not relevant to the character's persona or character development. What bothers me the most is that in films that do have gay characters, they "toned down" or eliminated, but bring on the stereotypes and pejoratives.

    Posted by: Kelehe | Oct 30, 2010 7:52:41 AM


  11. little opie never grew up. hey, paw, can you buy me a brain?

    Posted by: nic | Oct 30, 2010 7:54:22 AM


  12. having seen the trailer, i doubt that the 6 people who will see the film will give a crap either way.

    and @ryan, everything can be art; but that doesnt make everything good art. this movie isnt sending a message, its a date night movie that will disappear into a walmart dollar bin in a few months.

    Posted by: eb | Oct 30, 2010 7:55:02 AM


  13. @RYAN,
    fuck you. would the movie suffer without the gay slam? it is bad art, bad judgment, bad film-making, and just bad.

    Posted by: nic | Oct 30, 2010 7:59:53 AM


  14. @Nic,
    so it is not going to be the first or the last time that gay and lame-boring-ugly are used as synonyms.

    Posted by: malo | Oct 30, 2010 8:03:19 AM


  15. So what Ron is saying is that the audience is too stupid to understand that Vaughn's character is an asshole unless he uses the word gay.

    Lame excuse.

    Posted by: QJ201 | Oct 30, 2010 8:07:20 AM


  16. @MALO, wtf are you saying? i would hope it is the last time. you are a quisling -- a go along to get along fuck-buddy.

    Posted by: nic | Oct 30, 2010 8:11:01 AM


  17. Who cares? No one is going to watch a tedious Vince Vaughn movie regardless. If Vince was funny, people wouldn't watch it. If Vince was naked, people wouldn't watch it.

    Posted by: Natira | Oct 30, 2010 8:23:05 AM


  18. i am sick of the straight, wink-wink, nudge-nudge, ass-backward acknowledgment of my homosexuality. elbows can be sharp. in essence they (and i include ron howard in the devil's brew) are saying i tolerate you, but i don't accept you. i reserve the right to kick you in the stomach when it suits my needs or whims -- even if it is only for a cheap laugh. i have had enough.

    Posted by: nic | Oct 30, 2010 8:25:20 AM


  19. Big Deal.. I don't find it to be that huge of an insult..
    Everybody relax...

    Posted by: Dan | Oct 30, 2010 8:37:57 AM


  20. If it's good for them, it's good for us, and frankly I'm tired of being the lazy well that writers go to for a quick laugh - there's a reason that you don't see many Jew and Black "jokes" handled like this, and that's because those groups tend to get organized and pissed very quick - we, however, like to sit around and AGONIZE about everything.

    Posted by: Tigerama | Oct 30, 2010 8:40:02 AM


  21. Another Vaughn movie playing the same character over and over.

    Posted by: Name | Oct 30, 2010 8:41:46 AM


  22. Ron Howard movies are gay (by his own definition of the term). Da Vinci Code?? Come on, who cares what he makes, no one likes his movies. Adding Vaughn to his movie just makes it all the more unbearable.

    Posted by: Gary | Oct 30, 2010 9:04:47 AM


  23. I get what Ron is saying. It is kind of hard for me to wach period movies that use the N word but I get it was a part of that time. I just know that that the people who use the words are not being shown as good people. I personally don't want to see The DILEMMA. You can show someone being an ass without using hurful words and I think it is a choice.

    Posted by: Lane | Oct 30, 2010 9:06:12 AM


  24. Opie needs to ask what Floyd the barber and Gomer would think about the controversy.

    Posted by: Nick | Oct 30, 2010 9:17:10 AM


  25. I guess the part that I keep coming back to is that Ron Howard says that the joke should not have been in the trailer (EW.com states he said it was "appropriate"). I don't know much about the film industry, but I am guessing that directors don't cut their own trailers and that someone else came in and decided what the preview should look like. However, if it's apparently so integral to the character that this joke needs to stay in the movie, as it's "an aspect of our lead character's personality," then why WOULDN'T they put it in the trailer? If it's in the movie, it should be fair game for the trailer; it's not like they made up some new footage that didn't already exist to try to sell your movie. (Yes, I know that there are side issues of why someone thought that joke would be the joke to put in the trailer to convince people to see the movie, I get that.)

    On another level, and this is probably naive of me to even say... again, not knowing much about Hollywood, I do find it a little suspect that everyone in this movie went through the whole script (actors do read the scripts before they decide to do a film, right?) and that no one thought it was worth protesting. I wonder if the joke would still be in the movie if one of the actors made a stink about it. (Not thae the recent "Hangover 2" Mel Gibson scenario is comparable to this, but it bears mentioning.)

    Posted by: Harrison | Oct 30, 2010 9:27:19 AM


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