THINKFilm has acquired worldwide rights to Steve Anderson‘s “FUCK,” the doc about the four-letter expletive that debuted last year at the AFI FEST and screened last week at SXSW. The film features interviews with Pat Boone, Drew Carey, Billy Connolly, Sam Donaldson, Janeane Garofolo, Ice-T, Ron Jeremy, Bill Maher, Michael Medved, Alanis Morrisette, Kevin Smith and the late Hunter S. Thompson, all talking about the word. ThinkFilm will release the movie later this year, and TV partner Showtime will air the movie in 2007.
The origins of the four-letter word, the prevalence of its usage in movies, on TV and in music, and the tightening of restrictions regarding free expression in this country are among the topics explored in Steve Anderson’s new film. In the film, Anderson considers the history of the word and its role in popular culture and throughout history.
Answering questions from the audience at his first screening at AFI FEST, just days after completing the movie, Anderson talked about his decision to make a documentary about a word. Explaining that he had often joked about the idea of making such a film, at some point Anderson said he simply decided, “Why the fuck not!”
“What really intrigued me at first was the word itself,” explained Anderson, director of the narrative feature film “The Big Empty” two years ago. Chatting with indieWIRE the next day, he added that in exploring the origin of the word, he realized that it offered a way to look at free speech. In the film, Anderson not only delves into the rumors surrounding its original meaning — some believe it is an acronym, “fornicate under command of the king” — but he also explores the work of comedians Lenny Bruce and George Carlin, the recent decision of Howard Stern to move to satellite radio, the controversial tenure of FCC chief Michael Powell, incidents such as U2’s Bono saying the word ‘Fuck’ on national television and Janet Jackson’s breast being exposed during the Super Bowl halftime show, and the recent incident in which U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney told a U.S. Senator, “Go fuck yourself,” during a heated congressional session.
The word is used more than 600 times in the movie, but ThinkFilm has a proven track record in embracing racy material having distributed “The Aristocrats” last year. ThinkFilm’s head of theatrical distribution, Mark Urman explained, “We are not only excited to be releasing it, we are thrilled to be among the few companies who CAN! Everything about the way we advertise, publicize and even discuss this film requires us to be thoughtful, original, and fresh, and for an independent distributor, there is no greater gift.”
The film was produced by Rainstorm Entertainment and Anderson’s Mudflap Films. Executive producers include Steven G. Kaplan, Gregg L. Daniel, Bruce Leiserowitz, Jory Weitz and Richard Ardi, with editing by Jayne Rodericks, cinematography by Andre Fontanelle, original music by Carvin Knowles and animation by Bill Plympton.
The deal was negotiated by Think’s VP of acquisitions Daniel Katz with Shaun Redick of ICM and Steve Kaplan of Rainstorm representing the filmmakers. The broadcast deal was negotiated by Randy Manis, Think’s SVP of acquisitions and business affairs, and Showtime’s VP of acquisitions, Larry Greenberg.
“I expect that the very fact that there is a film about the F-word will create some controversy,” explained Anderson in comments on the film’s website. “I’m 100% sure the movie will be offensive to some precisely because of the language,” but he added, “I don’t personally believe that the content of the film, when you sit down to watch it from beginning to end, is all that controversial; in fact, it’s thoughtful.”