‘The Dark Knight’ Cinematographer: “It’s kind of shocking that it ended up being PG-13”

Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight” is now 10 years old. I wrote about this important anniversary earlier this summer, but it seems like the op-eds just keep on coming.
Vulture has published an article on that now infamous pencil trick scene, which had Heath Ledger’s Joker making a pencil "disappear" by jamming it into a gangster’s head. The film's cinematographer Wally Pfister, speaking to Vulture, believes that that scene alone should have gotten the film an R-rating.
It’s kind of shocking that ‘The Dark Knight’ ended up being PG-13,” Pfister said. “All of Chris’s movies would be PG-13 to open it up to a wider audience. Somehow, he always had some magic with the MPAA. Lo and behold, he has the pencil and I’m like, ‘You are not getting the PG-13 with that. There’s no way this is going in. He’s driving this pencil through a guy’s head!’ And I was wrong.”
“Chris was always right, whether you liked it or not,” Pfister continued. “You’d be like, ‘Fuck you, you were right again.’ With this pencil trick, I thought, If it has the right amount of levity, we’ll sell this and it won’t come off as being violent but it’ll come off as being a magic trick and it’ll come off as being a punchline. And it was!”
You can read the whole playbook on how they managed to pull-off that pencil scene [via Vulture.]