Harvey Weinstein says that in the wake of the Colorado massacre, filmmakers need to examine how they depict violence, suggesting that directors come together to discuss how their movies influence public behavior.
If he wants to show some especially brutal movie clips to kick off such a summit, he could start with his very own slate.
Over the next few months, Weinstein Co. will release several movies that either have — or are very likely to contain — some extraordinarily violent scenes, including "Killing Them Softly" with Brad Pitt and "Lawless" with Tom Hardy, both of which screened at the Cannes Film Festival in May and are coming soon to U.S. theaters.
The independent studio also has Quentin Tarantino's bounty hunter story "Django Unchained" coming on Christmas Day. While the film hasn't been screened publicly, given the director's history and the fillm's trailer, it's clearly not a G-rated musical comedy.
In an interview with the Huffington Post, Weinstein said filmmakers "can't shirk our responsibility" about depictions of violence and that directors such as Tarantino and Martin Scorsese should "discuss our role" in how movie violence affects actual events. Weinstein himself was a producer on Scorsese's "Gangs of New York."
"I've been involved with violent movies, and then I've also said at a certain point, 'I can't take it anymore. Please cut it.' You know, you've got to respect the filmmaker, and it's a really tough issue," Weinstein said.
Directed by Andrew Dominik, "Killing Them Softly" follows low-rent hoods who rob a poker game run by Ray Liotta's Markie. Suspected of staging an inside job, Markie is nearly beaten to death by a pair of thugs, but the film's most intense violence comes in a murder committed by hit man Jackie (Pitt). Shot in slow motion, the scene shows bullets ripping through a man's hand and exploding through the back of his skull.
"Lawless" stars Hardy and Shia LaBeouf as brother bootleggers, and there are multiple grisly sequences in the film, including one scene in which LaBeouf's character is pummeled and another in which a key character's throat is slit from ear to ear, with the requisite river of blood.
Both "Killing Them Softly," which is set for an Oct. 19 release, and "Lawless," coming Aug. 29, have been rated R. The first film earned the restrictive mark from the MPAA in part for "violence," while the latter film was tagged for "strong bloody violence."