Celebrities came for a cause that’s turned into another cause with Tuesday’s Gotham screening of “Bully” at the Paley Center for Media.
“I was bullied, never severely,” Georgina Chapman said.
“It brought me back to New Jersey,” said Meryl Streep. “I was 8 years old and up a tree and my nemesis was below me and hitting my legs with a stick until they bled. It was very ‘Lord of the Flies.'”
Similar admissions were echoed by “Bully” director Lee Hirsch (“I was a very frequent punching bag”) and Julie Taymor, who answered with a laugh that she’d been a “recent” victim of bullying. “That’s all I’m going to say!”
The MPAA’s R rating for six “fucks,” which distributor Weinstein Co. appealed and lost by one vote, has prompted a subsequent battle so school kids can see the film without parents.
David Boies and Theodore Olson, the lawyers who led the overturn of California’s Prop. 8, have joined the cause.
“How ridiculous and unfair this rating is. There is no rational basis: You can maim them, you can torture them, you can kill them — and still get a PG-13 rating. But if they say a couple of bad words you can’t. This is a film that’s got bad words in it because bad things are happening,” he said. “The safety of children is something that everybody has to stand up for. I hope for heaven’s sake they find some rational basis — before we have to sue them.”
Olson joked, “David, do you really want to discourage this lawsuit?”
Katy Butler, the Ann Arbor, Mich., high schooler whose online petition to change the rating has nearly 450,000 signatures, attended the screening, which also brought out Tom Brokaw, Katie Couric, Tiki Barber, Archie Panjabi, Martha Stewart and Michael Stuhlbarg.