Inside Move: Cultured ‘Pearl’

Building a safer 'Harbor'

If you’re watching the Japanese version of Disney’s “Pearl Harbor,” or catch the film anywhere overseas, expect to find a more culturally sensitive version.Instead of hearing Kate Beckinsale say “World War II changed America forever,” listen for “World War II changed America and the world forever.”

For obvious reasons, Alec Baldwin won’t be saying “I would kill as many of those bastards as possible” in the Japanese version of the pic; the line has been excised.

Similarly, in the U.S. a line about “a few less dirty Japs,” will play in Tokyo as “a few less Japs.”

While it’s not unusual to make minor changes in films for foreign release when scenes or idioms simply won’t translate, tailoring a film to a territory based on cultural sensitivity issues is unusual. But Disney isn’t taking any chances.

Producer Jerry Bruckheimer says Disney’s overseas marketing campaign will be playing up the love story and downplaying the battle.

Indeed, the most used poster in the international campaign will be one of Beckinsale and Ben Affleck in an embrace; in the States, the most popular posters re-create the U.S. war bond effort.

While developing the epic, Disney showed a draft of the “Pearl” script to John Tateishi of the Japanese American Citizens League, who made a few suggestions to Bruckheimer that were incorporated in the shooting script.

The pic hit U.S. shores May 25 in more than 3,000 theaters. It opens in Germany on June 7 and in Japan on July 14.