Michael Winterbottom said that title cards preceding the ending credits of his new film “Greed” were censored ahead of the movie’s release by the head of Sony Pictures International.
Winterbottom’s film is a satire of the world of high fashion designed to call attention to the wealth inequality between the richest fashion moguls and the lowest level employees who make the clothes. In an interview with The Guardian Monday, Winterbottom says that Sony Pictures International head of production Laine Kline refused to allow the director to include a series of title cards at the end of the film that criticized specific, individual brands.
According to The Guardian, a test screening of “Greed” in March ended with facts about how much workers in Myanmar and Bangladesh earned working in factories compared to the net worth of the owners of fashion brands H&M and Zara. Winterbottom says that Kline refused to allow the film to be released with the cards or replacement ones made for subsequent test screenings.
“He was like: I don’t care it’s the most popular bit. We’re not going to have mention of individual brands in those cards or individual billionaires. Because we’re worried about the potential damage to Sony’s corporate relations with these brands,” Winterbottom quoted Kline as having told him.
A representative for Sony Pictures Classics, which is releasing the film domestically, did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment. Sony declined to comment to The Guardian.
The Guardian notes that the film’s script did not detail the specific content of the ending title cards. Winterbottom did not specifically write them down because the exact facts and figures are constantly changing. However, Coogan’s character is heavily inspired by the British retail billionaire Philip Green, and Winterbottom defended the information mentioned on the cards as “public knowledge” and in speaking out hoped that Sony might reconsider.
“Well, that would be good. The impact of the film was bigger when we were being more specific, more dynamic, more impactful, more clear. But I’m not expecting them to,” Winterbottom said. “You want to make people feel angry and frustrated and to want change.”
Sony Pictures Classics acquired the U.S. distribution rights to “Greed” following its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival.
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