Why McG now defends Terminator Salvation's PG-13 rating

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Jul 4, 2015, 3:59 PM EDT

McG, the director of Terminator Salvation, defended the film's PG-13 rating again to a group of reporters, arguing that the film remains as intense as if it had received an R rating. The upcoming prequel/sequel film is the first in the series not to have the harder rating.

"It just became clear that the things that would take it to an R or an NC-17 would be: There goes the arm, and now the blood is squirting on my face," McG said in a group interview last Friday in Beverly Hills, Calif. "That wasn't in service of the character or the story. The elements that would have taken it to R just ended up feeling gratuitous in the editing room. There's a topless scene with Moon Bloodgood. I was trying to echo that scene in Witness where Kelly McGillis turns and says, 'I'm not ashamed' to Harrison Ford. But it just felt like, 'Oh, there's the genre stunt of the good-looking girl taking her top off.' And it felt counterproductive in the spirit of what we were looking to achieve on a storytelling level, so way to go."

Moon Bloodgood defended her deleted scene, in which her character cleans off a wound and Marcus Wright (Sam Worthington) stares at her body. "It's not gross or in your face," Bloodgood said in a separate interview. "It's just a moment where you're feeling naked, and this is my sexuality, and here I am, and I'm a strong woman and can you handle it?"

Perhaps the "gratuitous" scene will appear as a DVD extra. "I suspect it will be on the DVD," McG said. "I don't know, ask Moon. She was very passionate in sort of a third-wave feminist take on the whole thing. It was a fun conversation to have."

Bloodgood clarified that she was not exactly gung-ho to take off her shirt. "I didn't fight for it, but I didn't fight against it," she said. "I just said if it's right for the scene."

Worthington had another scene removed for violence issues. In the scene, Marcus stabs an enemy in the shoulder. "I don't make a movie for ratings," Worthington said in a separate interview. "I just make a movie to try to tell the best story I can tell. Obviously they've got their reasons why they took it out. It doesn't really disappoint me. It's part of the process."

McG added that he wanted the film to be accessible to new, younger Terminator fans, as well as to older fans who grew up with the originals. "Truthfully, I'm pleased, because I know when I was 14, 15 years old, I wouldn't want a guy busting my chops, keeping me from seeing the movie that I ultimately wanted to see," McG said. "Ultimately, we were able to make exactly the film we wanted to make without any compromise whatsoever, and it happened to garner the rating it got. Look at The Dark Knight. That's a compromise-free picture. Rating has just really never been a concern to us, and it is what it is."

Terminator Salvation opens May 21.