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Steven Spielberg Admits That He Softened Lesbian Sex In “The Color Purple”

Steven Spielberg Admits That He Softened Lesbian Sex In "The Color Purple"

And this should come as absolutely no surprise to anyone who’s read Alice Walker’s original novel… but just in case you haven’t… Mr Speilberg says, “yeah, I toned things down, now what?

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, which I haven’t read, and can’t find online yet, Speilberg is said to have given an extensive overview of his body of work, including addressing some of the criticism he received from black audiences for his work on The Color Purple.

Here’s a sample:

There were certain things in the [lesbian] relationship between Shug Avery and Celie that were very finely detailed in Alice’s book, that I didn’t feel we could get a [PG-13] rating… And I was shy about it. In that sense, perhaps I was the wrong director to acquit some of the more sexually honest encounters between Shug and Celie, because I did soften those. I basically took something that was extremely erotic and very intentional, and I reduced it to a simple kiss. I got a lot of criticism for that.

For that and more… I’m sure most of you have read the book and seen the movie, and will recall the entire ordeal leading up to, and after the film’s release in 1985.

This brings up that age-old conversation we’ve had repeatedly on S&A about whether stories about a particular group of people (whether connected via race, gender, sexual orientation, or some combination of them all) should be told/directed by filmmakers who come from within, or identify with that group.

Asked if he’d change anything if I could do it all over again, Spielberg responded:

I wouldn’t, no. That kiss is consistent with the tonality, from beginning to end, of The Color Purple that I adapted.

If anyone has the latest issue of EW, I’d like to know more of what Speilberg says about the film, if anything.


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