James Gunn, one of the directors signed on to last year's "Horror Does Comedy" original content series on XBox Live, says Microsoft rejected his first film and "cut the living shit" out of the second.
To be fair, Gunn calls "Humanzee" the "most balls-out, fucked-up thing I've ever shot." But he says the XBL folks promised him and other directors "complete creative freedom." Unfortunately, that probably meant, "As long as it's roughly the same quality and half as provocative as Scooby Doo and Scooby Doo 2," (which Gunn wrote.)
"Humanzee," the second film mentioned in Microsoft's announcement of the Horror Does Comedy series, was flat-out denied. It couldn't even be edited down to Microsoft standards. So Gunn took that back and instead made "Sparky & Mikaela," set in a pre-, post-, or semi-apocalyptic world in which a voluptuous woman and an anthropomorphic raccoon team up to fight crime, despite their species' longstanding hatred of and history of violence toward each other.
But S&M was too daring for the suits in Redmond, writes Gunn.
As long as it was PG-13, with no sex, they said it would be all right. So that's what I shot. But they saw it and, again, freaked out. Obviously they had no fucking idea what PG-13 was, as they wanted me to cut the words "penis" and "vagina." They made me cut a piece of very fake poop and a bunch of other stuff. And then, when they were done making me cut things, they took the final cut and cut it up themselves even more before airing it.
To sum things up, Warner Bros was a bastion of creative freedom on SCOOBY DOO 2 in comparison. I'm not exaggerating or being facetious. Microsoft/XBox was by far the most dreadful, non-talent friendly company I've ever worked for.
Gunn goes on to say XBox Live's "original content plans are DOA, precisely because of situations" like that one.
People on XBox are playing Grand Theft Auto 4, getting blowjobs from hookers and shooting them in the heads afterwards! ... But Microsoft wouldn't let us get close to the extremity of that material, so I don't know how in the world they planned to create their own successful original content. ... I really think XBox could have been their own Network, as well as a gaming console, DVR, and way to buy movies. I saw them as the future. But because of the small-mindedness of the Microsoft executives, who preemptively censored a lot of our scenes for fear of freaking out stockholders, they crushed the potential for something that would have kept them relevant for a long time to come.
My Painful Xbox Experience [James Gunn, thanks Brett!]