Dakota Fanning 'Rape Scene' Controversy

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    PEOPLE's critic Leah Rozen reports from Park City:

    A big collective shrug was the reaction following the first public screening at the Sundance Film Festival on Monday night of Hounddog. That's the movie that had been labeled controversial due to the fact that 12-year-old actress Dakota Fanning portrays a girl who is raped by an older youth.

    The Catholic League and other child protection advocates denounced the film, saying that the filmmakers should have cast a young-looking adult rather than a child actress.

    The scene in question is so restrained, however, and so far from exploitative, that objections are likely to fade once the movie is more widely seen. (It is still seeking a distributor.) Fanning is shot almost exclusively from the shoulders up in the scene, her face expressing her character's terror, plus a few quick shots cut in of her hand or leg trembling.

    What moviegoers might object to is the film itself. A swampy tale mired in southern gothic stereotypes, Hounddog meanders mightily in telling how its young heroine overcomes rape, lousy relatives and an obsession with Elvis Presley.

    On the positive side, there are all-stops-out performances by Fanning and costar Robin Wright Penn (who also served as a producer).

    Director-screenwriter Deborah Kampmeier, who said she spent 10 years trying to get the film made, said during a Q&A session after the premiere that she hoped the film would help bring the problem of child rape into the open and focus discussion and attention on the crime.

    Penn, who joined the project six years ago, said, "This film is about survival."

    Personally, I have a huge problem just hearing about women and children being violated, so, watching it in a movie is even more disturbing for me.

    What do you think, should they of cast an adult for the scene ?
     
  2. I agree...although I certainly am not an expert in psychology, one would think even acting out such a traumatic event would not be in the least mentally heathly for even the seasoned actor let alone such a young one:s .

    But then I remember when Brooke Shields stared in Pretty Baby. It caused such controversy because she played a child prostitute...and she turned out fine?:shrugs:
     
  3. I don't see anything wrong with it....she's old enough to understand the difference between reality and make believe (and she's also an actor).

    From that article it doesn't sound like she's actually having to act out an entire rape scene (which would be a little extreme for a child I think).
     
  4. When I first heard about this scene, it was made to seem like it would be incredibly graphic - and I had a problem with that. Who one earth would want to see that? Films are supposed to be entertaining, artful, thought-provoking or insightful. Watching a child getting raped is none of those. It is quite possibly the most terrifying thing I can imagine watching. I would never ever go to see that movie.

    However, the scene - so I hear - has turned out to be pretty tame, albeit disturbing, not very graphic.

    Dakota Fanning, from what I know about her, isn't your ordinary 12 year old. She is a very talented young actress, and is very mature for her age. However, she is still a child, and who is to say how this might affect her in the future.

    I'm still not going to watch this film. Not as protest, I just don't want to see that.
     
  5. I think they should have hired an adult to play the role. She is 12!!! As an actress, I can tell you that although she was just acting, she still has to put herself in that role to understand what the character went through, and since she is so young she may have difficulty seperating herself from the person she is playing and herself...some adult actors have problems with this too.

    I know she is a very mature 12 year old, but playing roles like these at such a young age could affect the person she will become as an adult. Hopefully they won't.
     
  6. She's 12 ! Her parents should know better. Not a movie I would go see.
     
  7. I think people are missing the point that this is a movie. If you are uncomfortable seeing the sceen then just don't see the movie.
     
  8. I think it's interesting that a 12 year old doing a scene like this (which we're told is not that graphic) has caused an outrage yet I could name about 100 other movies that I bet most people have seen that show children acting out violence, using drugs, etc. and nobody says anything about that....
     

  9. ITA!
     
  10. From what I have read, although it was a rape "scene", they don't show anything graphic. It is more implied.
     
  11. Sure it is a movie... but people get ideas from movies- find something more acceptable. I would not want to see it at all, and really- think it is wrong for a 12 yr old to even have to 'act' that out in any way, shape, or form
     
  12. i'll still watch this movie....
    drew barrymore was younger than DF when starred in a cute role in ET and after that she's going ballistic!!! although she turn up ok when grew up later.

    i don't think it affects DF in any way about this role, she's a smart kid, adn she acts wayyyy better than older teens like lilo or hillary duff.
     
  13. For me also it is disturbing even hearing about children being abused let alone seeing it re enacted on the big screen. However, I think that we have to remember that this is film making, the rape scene may seem realitic to us as an audience and may touch a cord but that isn't what the actors experience, I'm sure they took steps to try and safeguard Dakota during the whole process! And while I do think that these issues are grown up for a child of 12, these things are happening around us all of the time! It is a sad reality and I for one think that this type of movie can bring about awareness regarding the issues of Sexual abuse in children! I don't know if I am going to see the film or not but in terms of it's content I don't think it should be boy cotted based on that alone!
     
  14. I think, if a child actress is going to be in a scene like that, her parents need to make sure that she's physically and mentally ready.


    To be fair, though, how many people here, besides me, watch Law & Order SVU? How many child victims are in each episode? You don't hear outrage over those shows, right?

    The scene wasn't graphic, and I'm sure the producers and the directors made sure filming this scene wouldn't harm her in any way.

    I don't think I'll be watching this movie. Not out of protest, but because I don't think this is the type of movie I'd want to see.
     
  15. You took the words right out of my mouth. I recently saw blood diamond, and it had kids characters being extremely violent....I don't see anything wrong, it's a movie...