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Bye Bye Birdie

“Flipping the bird” is the polite expression to describe what actor Stephen Dorff is doing in the key art for Gramercy Pictures’ upcoming release “S.F.W.”

The provocative poster for the movie was executed by artist Robbie Conal, famous for his political street posters that spring up on available surfaces all over Los Angeles. Now his “S.F.W.” poster, with the words “Expletive Deleted,” is plastered all over L.A., and the Motion Picture Assn. of America is saying that while it has approved art for the film, nothing with a raised middle finger was submitted.

“It is an obscene gesture and we have turned down images like that in the past,” said the MPAA’s Bethlyn Hand. Consequences to Gramercy of using unapproved artwork would be the loss of the pic’s R rating from the MPAA.

Gramercy evidently realized this, and placed a box saying “S.F.W.” over the digit in question in the artwork submitted Friday to the MPAA.

When reached in his West L.A. studio, where he was “deep into Newt hair” on his next street poster depicting the new Speaker of the House, Conal said he was asked to do the artwork for “S.F.W.,” his first movie poster, by Gramercy VP of advertising Samantha Hart

Hart says, “Advertising is not only about selling a movie. It’s about representing a movie.” She says she chose Conal because “he has a rock ‘n’ roll sensibility and he’s as gritty and non-Hollywood as the movie,” a black comedy about the effects of sudden fame on a trio of Gen-Xers.

Hart admits she had to push hard at Gramercy for the Conal poster. Defending the middle finger that has now been holstered, Hart says the image “represents the character of the movie. It’s no worse than showing him with a gun in his hand.”

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