Poor Terry Gilliam has had a rough time of it over his many years as a filmmaker. He’s made some of the most colorful and distinctive genre classics of his age, such as 12 Monkeys and Time Bandits, but for every success he’s had more than his fair share of trouble. He famously butted heads with Universal over the ending of Brazil, and his next film, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, was a massive flop that barely got a domestic release from Columbia Pictures. His The Man Who Killed Don Quixote is a master class in Murphy’s law, and The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus was struck by the tragic death of Heath Ledger, forcing his part to be recast (by three different actors). So if the biggest speedbump The Zero Theorem hits on its way to theaters this September is having its appropriately odd teaser poster banned by the MPAA to protect our innocent eyes from Christop Waltz’s bare backside, well, I guess that’s not that bad, all things considered. But it’s still pretty dumb.
Gilliam shared the poster — and the news of its banning — on his Facebook page, saying:
Zero Theorem off to a good start in the US thanks to the Motion Picture Association of America’s censors. They have banned our teaser poster because of a bare butt. Your thoughts, please.
Well, I have a lot of thoughts, but the foremost is that it’s rare these days to see official movie posters that don’t fall into the usual visual clichés, so how about we appreciate the fact that the Zero Theorem poster doesn’t look like something I’ve seen a thousand times? I mean, assuming we can all get over our case of the vapors spurred by the sight of a dude’s unclothed butt. It’s not like his ass is even the focal point of the poster. It’s tiny. I’m far more interested in trying to figure out what’s being represented in the picture. And hey, at least they don’t have him contorted into the standard “looking back over the shoulder” female action pose. Although, to be fair, I think that would be hilarious.
It’s the second nudity-related line in the sand the MPAA has drawn of late, following up on the hissyfit they threw over the Sin City: A Dame to Kill for poster below, featuring Eva Green in a slinky see-through robe. Quick, cover young Timmy’s eyes!
The Zero Theorem stars Waltz as Qohen Leth, a computer genius working on a formula to determine the meaning of life. He’s overseen and interfered with by a mysterious figure known only as Management (Matt Damon). Below is an earlier Zero Theorem poster which demonstrates that Leth does, at least part of the time, wear pants.
Gilliam’s The Zero Theorem hits VOD on August 19 and theaters a month later, on September 19.