Based on Rupert Holmes novel, Where the Truth Lies stars Colin Firth, Kevin Bacon, Alison Lohman, and Rachel Blanchard and was given an NC-17 rating by the MPAA ratings board for some explicit sexuality.
Atom Egoyan on How the NC-17 Affects "Where the Truth Lies: You know, Ive never been in the situation before so Im really guided by what my distributors have told me. My understanding is it severely limits the distribution, the wide release of the film. It means certain newspaper chains wont advertise the film and it means that certain theaters wont show it, as well. I dont have direct experience with it having never been there before, but it seems to be a real issue. Im very disappointed as a result.
Atom Egoyan on the Appeal Process: We presented two different versions because we wanted to have an R rating. In fact, contractually I was obliged to present an R rated film. But you know, we trimmed it and tried to accommodate them but the crucial scene in question couldnt really be altered. It was shot as a master and there were no alternate sort of angles, and I couldnt remove that scene.
My distributor agreed that it was essential to the movie so we ultimately have had to go out unrated. The good side of that is that weve been able to also reconstruct the film. Its in the original form and nothing has been removed. But it does mean that it will probably be a limited distribution.
We Can Chop Up Bodies and Blow People Away But Cant Show the Human Body in a Sexual Manner... Its incomprehensible to me. I dont understand it. No one is going to watch this film and feel that its extreme. Its dramatic, you know? I think those are very dramatically loaded moments, but I dont think theyre shot in an exploitive way. For the life of me I cant answer that. Its been very frustrating. Theres nothing else we can do at this point. You cant appeal the decision after its gone through this process.
The Only Upside to the Whole Ratings Fiasco: Egoyan was able to put out the cut he wanted audiences to enjoy, but thats really the only advantage to emerge from the whole ratings affair. Egoyan says, I firmly believe that this shouldnt have ever been an issue. Yes, its a relief that it finally gets to be my cut, but I also think its a shame that not as many people will see it as the film was intended to be made to be seen by.
Atom Egoyon on the Process of Adapting Where the Truth Lies: I think that the main thing is to identify what moves you about the story, and to also give yourself the license to reformat or to maybe enhance certain aspects that you think will really identify those themes. In this case, this idea of our relationship to celebrity and how we both admire but also want to [expose the real person].
[Alison Lohmans characters] relationship to these two figures in the book was very much rooted in the present. This idea of having Karen as a young girl on the telethon was not in the book. Her whole relationship as a young girl to them, adoring these two figures, was something that was an invention. But I gave the first draft to Rupert and he was very excited about that. He felt that that really did give it another dimension. So you have to give your permission.
In my case, having done three adaptations now, Ive always sought the writers approval. Many directors wouldnt do that, but I just have a real respect for the world that they created. Ive wanted to celebrate that, but Ive also felt in each of those cases that there was something else that I needed to explore. Often the writer may not agree until such time as they see the film in its completed form.
I remember, for instance, with The Sweet Hereafter, the whole use of the Pied Piper as a narrative devise was something that Russell [Banks] really didnt get at the script level. But when he saw the final film, he was very pleased with that. Ive always tried to keep a relationship with the writer because Ive got such a profound respect for what theyve given as a gift. And so you want to serve the book but also serve your own instincts.