Justin Long Pitched A Scene Too Grotesque For The Director

Justin Long pitched a scene in Barbarian, where "the Mother" feeds him a dead rat like a mother to a baby bird, but it was too gross for the director.

By Britta DeVore | Published

justin long

While we may be awaiting the arrival of the sure-to-be cult classic horror feature, Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey, this fall has treated us to several other gore-filled titles including Terrifier 2 and Barbarian. While both had their fair share of major gross-out moments, Justin Long, who starred in Barbarian has revealed that one scene of the horror flick was left on the cutting room floor after its director Zach Cregger dubbed it to be too disturbing. During both, an interview with Vulture as well as at a Q&A panel at the film’s Comic-Con 2022 debut, Long said that the scene in question depicted the character known as “the Mother” regurgitating a rat and feeding it to him baby-bird style. 

In an already troublingly memorable scene, audiences watched with their jaws dropped as Mother forced Long’s character AJ to “latch to her breast” in an attempt to breastfeed him. But, when AJ won’t belly up for his meal, that’s when Justin Long says the almost most disturbing scene in Barbarian would’ve taken place. As he puts it, a rat is “scurrying by” when Mother “bites its head off and masticates it and baby-birds it into my mouth.”

Justin Long goes on to say that for him and the other actors, the moment was not a fly-by-night one and that it was penned into the Barbarian script, with everyone fully aware that “it was gonna happen.” However, after cameras had rolled, director Zach Cregger made the final decision, believing that it would be “a bridge too far gross-wise.” Known as one of the original founding members of comedy quintet The Whitest Kids U’Know, Cregger’s known for his shock value takes in his projects, making his decision to cut the Barbarian scene a surprising one. 

justin long barbarian

Even without the rat scene, the Justin Long, Georgina Campbell, and Bill Skarsgård-led Barbarian is still filled with plenty of disturbingly shocking moments with the main characters attempting to break free from their terrifying captor. In a nightmarish situation, Tess (Campbell) is double booked in an Airbnb with stranger Keith (Skarsgård) but decides to stay despite her initial gut feeling. When the two discover that under the house lies a set of tunnels leading to a hidden lair where a terrifying female monster-woman lives, all hell breaks loose, and they find themselves fighting for their lives. 

While the Airbnb guests are discovering their upsetting situation, the home’s owner AJ Gilbride (Long) is getting fired from his acting gig after sexual assault allegations come to light. Packing up his things and heading home, the despicable AJ finds more than he thought he left behind when he returns to his house and discovers the monster living in the basement – as well as her captives. Through twists and turns, Zach Cregger directs an absolutely mind-blowing horror feature with Justin Long and the other cast members making Barbarian a memorable instant classic

As if the film wasn’t nightmare-inducing enough, we now have Justin Long to thank for allowing our imaginations to run wild with rats as we can pick over that Barbarian scene in our heads. If you haven’t yet caught it, you can stream Barbarian on HBO Max now.