Released on November 21, 2001 in the United States, Spy game almost never found its way to theaters. In question, the terrible attacks of the World Trade Center, which occurred 2 months earlier and which led the productions to review the films to come to avoid shocking the public. This is exactly what happened to Tony Scott’s feature film which, towards the end, foresaw a bombing scene in Beirut.
In his book “Tony Scott, the Last Samaritan”, Aubry Salmon reports that “At first, Universal is even considering canceling the release of Spy Game until further notice.“. Faced with the threat, the director agrees to return to the editing room to change the sequence.”In the end, I questioned the whole footage at the edit table, but you can’t make everyone happy“says Tony Scott.
The case is not easy indeed, the director does not want to lose the truth of the scene: “So I reconceptualized the sequence by making it more linear“he continues.”Finally, I think I improved it by doing this. Everything is shown from Brad’s point of view [Pitt] […] which brings the audience back in the movie until the end. “A post-reshuffle test screening reassures the executives who agree to release the feature film. Despite everything, the sensitive subject of the film and the proximity between its release and the attacks is not without consequences and Spy Game does not win the expected success.
The film is not the only one to have undergone changes as a result of this event. The Friends series was also impacted and a scene from episode 3 of season 8, broadcast on October 11, 2001, was deleted. The sequence features Monica (Courteney Cox) and Chandler (Matthew Perry) at the airport on their honeymoon. On the point of passing the security, the latter sees a sign indicating “no jokes about the bombs”. The comedian on duty obviously can’t help but make a questionable joke, which earns the newlyweds taken to the interrogation room.