Saturday, January 20, 2007

(Simulated) Sex (With Children)

Dakota Fanning in HounddogWhen I first heard the uproar over Dakota Fanning's sex scenes in "Hounddog" I thought it was just more uptight ultra-conservatives stomping their feet looking to quash another artistic effort just because it's edgy. But, the person leading the effort doesn't seem irrational. He is Paul Petersen, who has had a long career in TV and movies and started as a child actor (
IMDb profile), and runs the website A Minor Consideration ( The New York Times quotes Peterson:

...Ms. Fanning should never have been allowed to play the victim in a rape scene, no matter how much she wanted to or how sensitively it was filmed, and that her doing so violated the letter of federal child-pornography law.

"Nothing excuses it," he said. "The plain cold fact is this is illegal, the statutes are what they are, and Hollywood chose to ignore it. If they'd made the character 15, and hired a 19-year-old, they wouldn't have heard a peep out of me."

He makes a fair point. Fanning replies to all the controversy with:

"You know, I'm an actress," she said. "It's what I want to do, it's what I've been so lucky to have done for almost seven years now. And I am getting older. February 23 is my birthday, I'll be 13 years old. And I will be playing different kinds of roles. I won't be able to do the things I did when I was 6 years old when I'm 14. And that's what I look forward to -- getting to play new roles that aren't too old for me and aren't too young for me, that are just at the right time."

She makes a fair point as well. "Hounddog" will play at the Sundance Film Festival and is already being referred to by festival goers as 'the Dakota Fanning rape movie'.

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