Soderbergh, Clooney win ''Solaris'' butt battle. The ratings board reverses its decision on appeal and lets the sci-fi drama keep both its PG-13 rating and its two glimpses of Clooney's backside

By Gary Susman
November 14, 2002 at 05:00 AM EST

Steven Soderbergh’s upcoming sci-fi epic may revolve around the planet Solaris, but the recent battle between the director and the movie ratings board over the film has revolved around the moon. Specifically, George Clooney’s. The Motion Picture Association of America’s (MPAA) panel initially refused to give ”Solaris” a PG-13 rating because it contains two shots of Clooney’s bare backside. Soderbergh refused to cut the butt, and rather than accept a commercially restrictive R rating, he appealed the board’s decision. On Wednesday, E! reports, the MPAA relented and granted the film the more teen-friendly rating while saving Clooney’s butt.

”Solaris,” a remake of Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky’s 1972 classic, contains one shot of a bottomless Clooney dancing with wife Natascha McElhone, filmed in relative darkness and from several yards away. The other contested scene shows the couple lying on their stomachs in bed, talking, also in a darkened room.

”We trimmed down most of the sex scenes, and we are not taking out George’s butt, which is basically all that remains — and which is actually pretty nice,” a source close to the film told E! last week. ”You can show women’s breasts and butts and still get a PG-13; why can’t we?” the insider argued. The director himself told the Los Angeles Times last week, ”We’ve seen scenes like this on network television. Believe me, there is nothing here that is worse than what has been on ‘NYPD Blue’ on ABC.” With the ratings board’s decision, the film can now be released Nov. 27 as planned, without any changes in prints or marketing. Meanwhile, moviegoers should be glad Soderbergh didn’t cast Dennis Franz in the lead.

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