The Elle filmmaker believes films can’t be challenging if they’re lower certificate

Paul Verhoeven has made a career directing some memorable films, some of which earned such a label due to their sexual content: Basic Instinct and Showgirls to name but a couple.

The Dutch filmmaker, who has been promoting his latest film Elle, has revealed how he believes Hollywood is letting itself become bogged down by films with lower certificates in a bid to generate larger audiences.

He told AFP: “If you say it has to be PG-13, there are a lot of things you cannot do. You cannot be provocative, you cannot be controversial, you cannot be sexual, erotic, in a direct way

“It all has to be suggestive, elliptic and whatever. And so then the movies become neutral and the movies are not challenging you in any way.”

Verhoeven, who also directed films RoboCop and Total Recall, went on to state he relocated the shoot of Elle to France after being turned down by several Hollywood-based actors who believed the role to be too controversial; the film follows a woman – played by the acclaimed Isabelle Huppert – who embarks on a dangerous game with the man who raped her.

“I escaped to France because I couldn’t find anything that was for me challenging,” he said. “Why bother, you know?”

Verhoeven described Huppert as “the most fantastic actor I’ve ever worked with, on a level that I did not know existed.”

Elle, which was released in the US last week, will be released in the UK 10 March 2017.

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