Sundance is abuzz this morning over a sex scene, featuring Katie Holmes, that mysteriously disappeared from Jason Reitman's Thank You For Smoking
in between its Toronto premiere and Sundance screening. Most people on the ground here don't believe, as various tabloids are reporting, that Tom Cruise had anything to do with the scene's excision, but it is odd that the director himself isn't taking any responsibility for it. Claiming he was "in shock" when he saw the sex scene-less version projected on Saturday night, Reitman told the LA Times
that a projectionist had accidentally snipped off the scene whilst changing reels. As implausible as that sounds – even the shortest scene would live on several feet of film stock, making any kind of accidental snip both unweildy and conspicuous – there doesn't seem to be another credible explanation at this point. I did not see the film in Toronto, but my sources tell me that the original scene wasn't graphic in any way – certainly not as graphic as anything Nicole Kidman did whilst co-starring opposite then-husband Cruise in Eyes Wide Shut
– and considering that Holmes herself appeared topless several years ago in the Gift,
any squeamishness on the part of Holmes' fiancee would just be really, really crazy. When I saw Smoking
here at Sundance, I actually sort of admired the lack of hardcore action in the innuendo-laden film – I thought Reitman was trying to be Preston Sturges. Guess not. But what do you think is going on here? If nothing else, isn't it a little funny that this not-inherently controversial film finds a way to cause some kind of silly hoopla everywhere it goes? Here's one more scrap of "evidence": when the film screened again on Sunday, the scene in question had not been replaced.