Entertainment & Arts

Judi Dench's M resurrected for Philomena appeal

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Media captionDame Judi Dench as 'M': "Just when you thought I was dead"

Dame Judi Dench has reprised her role as secret service boss M, as part of an appeal against US censors, who gave her new film a restrictive "R" rating.

In a short video, the actress resurrects her Bond character and dispatches an agent to take on the Motion Picture Association of America.

"Just when you thought I was dead," she says in the clip, broadcast on US TV.

Philomena was rated R, meaning under-17s must be accompanied by an adult, for two instances of bad language.

Its producer Harvey Weinstein, who has a history of battling MPAA decisions, explained his appeal against the rating in an interview on CBS This Morning.

"Our research shows us that, especially down south and in the Midwest, the PG-13 rating is very important for adults," said Weinstein, responding to suggestions that Philomena is not a film targeted at children.

"There's a certain group of people who do not want to go and see an R-rated movie. Usually they're church families, and I think this is a movie that church families would profit by seeing. I think they'll love the movie - it's very entertaining."

The Stephen Frears drama, which stars Dame Judi and Steve Coogan, follows a true story about a Catholic woman's search for her son after being forced to put him up for adoption in Ireland decades earlier.

'Humour and joy'

"There are two F-words in the movie - you're allowed one F," said Weinstein on CBS, explaining the MPAA's reason for the R-rating.

"The movie is the gentlest, most wonderful true story, filled with humour and joy. They should just put PG-13 strong language [certificate] on this and make an exception."

Image caption Dame Judi Dench and Steve Coogan star in Philomena

In the words of the MPAA: "A film's rating is not a judgement value, but rather an indication to parents that it contains elements strong enough to warrant careful consideration before allowing their children to view it. This instance is no different from any other film."

Weinstein called the statement "absolutely wrong", and argued that the censors seemed to pick on his studio films "more than anybody else" - though some claim his protests are actually just a form of publicity.

In 2012, the studio became embroiled in a row over bad language in the documentary Bully, while earlier this year the Weinstein Company was forced to add director Lee Daniels' name to new film The Butler, after the MPAA said there was already a 1916 short film of the same name.

The Philomena appeal will take place next Wednesday, with a full version of the video - co-starring Coogan - set to premiere on comedy website Funny or Die.

"With the blessing of Barbara Broccoli and the Bond team, M has returned from the dead to fight this battle," said Weinstein.

The film is set to be released in New York and Los Angeles on 22 November before screening nationwide and is expected to be an awards contender.

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