When Clint Eastwood talks, you listen. Despite his old age, the veteran actor has played some of the most badass characters of all time, and that intimidation factor has to come through in person. So when Clint Eastwood's latest film, The 15:17 to Paris, received an R rating, the director took it upon himself to get the rating overturned. The Hollywood legend represented his film on behalf of the studio and won the appeal to give The 15:17 to Paris the much more commercially viable PG-13 rating.
The Classification and Rating Administration originally slapped the film with an R rating for the violent and bloody train attack that the film is focused on. This attack and the film are based on the real life event in 2015 where three U.S. servicemen prevented a terrorist attack on a train going from Amsterdam to Paris. While the attack is at the center of the film, Clint Eastwood's latest will also focus on the lives of the American heroes leading up to the harrowing event. So no doubt Clint Eastwood emphasized the larger story of these men's lives and how a moment of violence should not subject the film to an R rating. Clint Eastwood is a man who needs no introduction, so I imagine the appeals board was extra inclined to hear his case. I'd also like to think that Clint Eastwood put on a cowboy hat and did his best Bill Munny at the appeal hearing. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Classification and Rating Appeals Board reviews 800-900 films each year, with under 12 a year being appealed.
The 15:17 to Paris will now be available to a wider audience and have a better shot at box office success. This true story of uncommon heroism seems to be Clint Eastwood's new favorite type of story to tell. He followed up his smash hit American Sniper with the miracle on the Hudson film, Sully. What makes The 15:17 to Paris especially interesting is that the three men who thwarted the terrorist attack in real life will be playing themselves in the film in what I'm sure must be a strange experience. The three men, Anthony Sadler, Alek Skarlatos and Spencer Stone, along with Jeffrey E. Stern, co-wrote the book The 15:17 to Paris: The True Story of a Terrorist, a Train, and Three American Heroes, which the film will be based upon.
While Clint Eastwood is fighting for a PG-13 rating and winning, Hollywood has been going through reconsideration of ratings impact on box office. R ratings were once considered something of a death touch, but they are now like a badge of honor. Films like Logan, Deadpool, the upcoming Hellboy and perhaps even Quentin Tarantino's Star Trek bear the mark and assure fans that they are not getting a safe version of something. But here it does sound like The 15:17 to Paris didn't really need the R rating, and now more people will get to experience the real life story.