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Anyone who was around for the early 2000s likely remembers Ben Stiller’s ZoolanderThe film might be the story of a fashion model-turned assassin, but to audiences, it’s a classic comedy from one of the genre’s fondest eras. However, while the film had a massive star at its helm, getting some parts on the screen took some creativity. 

‘Zoolander’ is a cult-classic film

Zoolander tells the story of a young supermodel named Derek Zoolander, who gets caught up in a game of international espionage. Along the way, he walks the runway, rubs shoulders with several celebrities, and tries to save the world from Will Ferrell’s evil Mugatu while resisting the urge to kill the Malaysian prime minister after a brainwashing ordeal.

While the film is an action-comedy, its bizarre brand of in-your-face humor made it a timeless hit. Stiller didn’t just star in the movie — he also helped write it and get it off the ground. To this day, it is one of his biggest hits with fans. However, while the film eventually reached the cultural lexicon, it didn’t come without some hiccups. 

The scene that the MPAA wasn’t thrilled of

Ben Stiller wearing a headband in a scene from the film 'Zoolander', 2001.
Ben Stiller wearing a headband in a scene from the film ‘Zoolander’, 2001. | Paramount Pictures/Getty Images

Zoolander pushes the limits of its PG-13 rating in more ways than one. Its portrayal of a hypersexual model who leaves a life of extravagance means that some of the jokes might cross the line for an audience that would inevitably be many teenagers. While the film has several innuendos and questionable lines, one scene almost gave it the dreaded R-rating.

 R-rated comedies are nothing new. Some of the best comedies ever have blue jokes that could never appear in a PG-13 movie. However, for a film to be rated R, they often push the limits to the point where there is no doubt of its rating. While Colander wasn’t a puritanical look at the modeling world by any stretch, one scene drove the MPAA crazy

During one scene in the finished film, Owen Wilson’s Hans suggests an orgy. According to Stiller, the scene was meant to parody some of the over-the-top sexual scenes that Hollywood is known for.

The MPAA saw it differently and slapped an R-rating on it. It took five more edits for the movie to get a PG-13 rating. However, when the sequel dropped years later, Stiller nearly took it to another level. 

A star-studded affair


Ben Stiller Hilariously Forget His Line in ‘Zoolander’ and It Led to a Classic Phrase

Zoolander 2 was hyped for years before Stiller finally brought back the role. When the film premiered in 2016, however, it went out with a whimper.

While the original movie remains a legendary comedy of modern Hollywood, audiences and critics alike were not fans of the sequel. However, the film almost featured a scene that may not have saved it but certainly would have been unique and memorable. 

Stiller always intended to bring back the sexual deviancy that drives the first film, but he wanted to add a star-studded cast to it. While the film already boasted Kanye West, Justin Bieber, and several other big names from the day, Stiller wanted to look higher to get an unexpected laugh from an unlikely place.

He planned on asking former First Lady Laura Bush if she wanted to appear in the scene. After saying the thought aloud, however, he claims to have gotten cold feet. 

“Actually, I just asked her if she would be interested; she politely declined, and then I was so glad I didn’t have to ask her to be a part of this group of people Hansel’s having a relationship with.”

Group’ is the keyword here,” Lauer clarified. “You [almost] asked Laura Bush to be part of an orgy scene in ‘Zoolander 2.'”

“Yes. That is correct,” Stiller said with a laugh. “When the reality … came out of my mouth I realized I was insane.” (Per Today)

Perhaps it’s good that the former First Lady didn’t get involved. However, while the first Zoolander remains iconic, it almost hit the theaters in a far raunchier way.