Scooby-Doo Was Originally Given An R-Rating, Had To 'CGI Away' Cleavage

Long before he became the shepherd of Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy, James Gunn earned a paycheck -- a significant paycheck -- as the writer of a live-action take on the animated classic, Scooby-Doo. On the fifteenth anniversary of that comedy's release, Gunn took to Facebook and posted a nostalgic memory-lane jog that revealed all sorts of fascinating trivia, none more eye-popping than the fact that the MPAA gave his first pass on Scooby-Doo, a family-friendly film, an R rating. Gunn explained:

I had written an edgier film geared toward older kids and adults, and the studio ended [up] pushing it into a clean cut children's film. And, yes, the rumors are true -- the first cut was rated R by the MPAA, and the female stars' cleavage was CGI'd away so as not to offend. But, you know, such is life. I had a lot of fun making this movie, regardless of all that. And I was also able to eat, buy a car, and a house because of it.

This actually calls to mind the very funny Scooby-Doo spoof that Kevin Smith worked into his own Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back, where his beloved stoner duo gets picked up by obvious Scooby stand ins. And bad language was allowed:

More than anything, I'd be itching to get my hands on James Gunn's original draft of an edgier, potentially R-rated Scooby-Doo. The finished product starred real-life couple Freddie Prinze Jr. and Sarah Michelle Gellar, as well as Matthew Lillard as Shaggy and Bloodline phenom Linda Cardellini as Velma. Scooby was a CGI creation, and the movie -- as well as its sequel -- were sweet and goofy and definitely aimed at kids. At the same time, this clip from the 2002 movie seemed to suggest that SOME cleavage still made the cut:

This ended up being a win-win for both parties. The Scooby-Doo movies made money (though the first was far better than the sequel), and as James Gunn points out in his Facebook memory, he made friendships that lasted a lifetime:

I made some very close friends along the way - mostly Linda, one of the people I love most in the world, but also the wonderful Matthew Lillard, and, later, through Scooby-Doo 2 (yes I did the sequel) my great pal Seth Green.

And he got the Guardians of the Galaxy, which also got a sequel. Like I said. Win win.

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. He's frequently found on Twitter at @Sean_OConnell. ReelBlend cohost. A movie junkie who's Infatuated with comic-book films. Helped get the Snyder Cut released, then wrote a book about it.