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R Rated Snakes

Published August 11, 2006 in Movie Interviews
By Fred Topel | Image property of New Line Cinema.
Snakes on a Plane Snakes on a Plane
The F word isn’t the only thing that makes Snakes on a Plane R-rated. There are plenty of gory snake bites and even some nudity, all added during five days of reshoots after internet fans insisted New Line shoot the film for an R rating. Director David Ellis did not understand the thinking behind a PG-13 request, but he fulfilled his obligation, then returned to finish the job.

Snakes, Ellis and the MPAA All on a Plane


“It was an R-rated film when I signed on,” Ellis said. “Then they decided that they felt they could get a broader demographic, but not necessarily the right demographic as far as I was concerned. Then they decided it had to be PG-13 and we made that movie, delivered that movie to them and when they saw it, they immediately said, ‘Okay, we get it. It’s got to be an R’ so they gave me the money to go back out and shoot for five more days and increase the nudity, increase the violence and the gore and how people get killed. In PG-13, you have to cut away right away as something happens. Then we got to put all the great lines that Sam gets to say in the movie because you get one fuck with PG-13.”

For a badass motherf***er like Samuel L. Jackson, reacting to snakes without swearing felt stupid. “We were all kind of going, ‘Come on man, for real? We can’t say that either.’ We only get two f*cks in a PG-13 movie and it has to be in a non-sexual context. You can’t say ‘God dammit’ ever. ‘Oh sh*t,’ maybe. Maybe once. So when the snakes are biting people do we see that? No, not really. [I said,] ‘Your making a mistake here, we need to do this right. Plus, you already pissed people off with that Pacific Flight 121 sh*t.”



Violence and swearing makes sense, but how do you fit nudity into Snakes on a Plane? Ellis explained there was already a natural scene that only had to be extended. “It wasn’t gratuitous because we always had the scene in the first attack that happens in the movie,” Ellis said. “This really cute young couple who’s coming back from Hawaii goes into the bathroom to smoke a joint. And so they unhook the smoke detector and they start smoking the joint and then they start making out and start to disrobe. That’s when you first see the snakes that have been up above in all the wiring start to approach this hole. The bad guys unleashed a pheromone that’s circulating in the air system that is what happens when female and male snakes mate, so it’s driving these snakes freaking crazy. And they’re the first people to get bit but nobody knows about them because they’re inside the bathroom and the stewardess is hearing these moans and screams and they just think it’s the mile high club. They’re actually being attacked by snakes, so when we were able to go to an R rated film, then we could show a little bit more frontal nudity on the girl and stuff than we could on a PG-13 rated film.”

Snakes on a Plane opens to theatres on August 18th.

For the trailers, more interviews, movie stills, posters and more movie info, go to the Snakes on a Plane Movie Page.

Stay tuned for updates.


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Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of New Line Cinema.
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