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Hounddog rape scene causes controversy

DakotaFanning.jpgThere's been a little bit of concern over Dakota Fanning's latest film Hounddog, where a she is depicted in a rape scene. A couple of predictable sources have spoken out about the film without apparently knowning anything about how the scenes were actually shot, and there are calls to boycott the film from distribution, and even to bring criminal charges to bear.

The first story about it appeared over at Starpulse News Blog who said that the TV actor Paul Petersen said some negative things about the scene in an internet essay.

Petersen seems to have used that popular word of the press "alleged" to say some very serious accusations out about the film:

...an independent film alleged to feature Dakota, not yet in her teens, totally naked and actually assaulted on film in a realistic portrait of the rape...

In his second part he goes even further:

Dakota Fanning is the latest young actress asked to portray the victim of a sexual assault, but this time around the rape is filmed graphically and features the fully naked 12 year-old being attacked.

Wow, that sounds terrible and totally illegal. Then you start to find out about the scene from people that were actually there. Through the Starpulse story Deborah Kampmeier the director says:

"Exactly how I was going to film the rape scene was articulated quite specifically in the script, and her mother, her agent, and her teacher/child welfare worker were all present for the scene, which was carried out exactly as we discussed it. I had to hide the fact that this girl is not naked. I had to hide the fact that there is not a boy on top of this girl having sex... I shot her face. I didn't shoot flesh against flesh..."

She's not the only one who was actually there and involved to defend the scene...

Over at Amy Archerd her mother says:

"This is not an exploitive movie. It is real life and unfortunately this is what happens in real life. Dakota is very proud of it. And she is not shown nude."

Her agent says:

"Do they think we have rocks in our head? You do see her face — a lightning shot -- maybe 15 seconds."

So it seems like there's fifteen seconds of her face, she's fully clothed during the scene with no one around her. Then through the use of such amazing modern techniques such as camera work, editing, and perhaps even some special effects, they make it look like it's a bit more real than it is.

So now "family groups" and "christian groups" are up in arms without looking to the facts of the matter or perhaps even trying to understand the scene in context. There's claims that everyone who let Fanning do the scene were exploiting her, and there are even attempts to raise criminal charges against them.

You know rather than screaming about a single scene and calling for people to be arrested, I would prefer to listen to her, her parents and the director of the film to understand what happened behind the scenes and then watch the entire film in context to make my own mind up.



Uh-oh, I dont know. I dont really want to see any rape scene involving a child, simulated or not.

Now that's miles different from advocating criminal proceedings and distributors dropping the film without seeing it.

You don't want to see it for personal taste and belief, and that's totally fine. I can understand that.

Exactly. I will find it very disturbing so I will stay away from it.

Do you remember Jodie Foster's The Accused, that proved difficult to watch.

No matter how the scene was shot you'll hear people screaming because of that nature of the scene. It's disturbing, but an unfortunate reality in this world.

I think this is a huge step in Dakota's career risky and brave. Will I see the movie? I'm not totally decided yet I'm going to wait till I see the first trailer. I would like to see it simply for Dakota's performance alone.

Are you kidding, who would want to go see the movie "Hounddog".What kind of person would want to see a 12 year old chid being raped. I can not believe Dakota's mom allowed this. Bad move, shame on everyone that took part in this movie.

Well not having seen the scene or the film I can't say what the context is, how long the scene is for or what it actually depicts.

Going by what the filmmaker and her Agent say above, and other comments around the Internet it's a very relevant scene, it's handled with full protection for Fanning, it's short, doesn't show a rape as such, and her Mother agreed that she could do the scene.

I'm reserving judgement until I know more about why the scene is there and the context of the film. Everyone involved seems to have wanted to make it for a reason, I'd be interested to understand what that is.

It does border on exploitation, I can see the publicity machine now, watch the new Dakota Fanning film where the child wonder gets raped!

I mean this is what it will boil down to eventually. They will go to the shock factor and much as I love Dakota I really do think this is a bad move, no matter how tasteful for some people that rape scene is done.

I hardly think that the marketing campaign will concentrate on that, and it hasn't even mentioned it since this is the press that's highlighted the issue.

Could you imagine this being said about Boys Don't Cry or The Accused, both feature rape scenes and if you hadn't heard anything about the film before these scenes were dropped into press stories then you'd perhaps be thinking the same about those films.

The emotional part is that in this scene there's a twelve year old acting, and a very accomplished actress too, on her own with clothes on. In fact we don't even know what she acted or how. How it fits into the film, what is actually portrayed.

So putting all these if's against either of those films you'd have the same scenario.

I think it's safe to say that we, who have not been on set or met anyone involved in the film, know nothing about the scene or the film other than the few words we've heard. I would hazard a guess that those on set, involved in the production, direction and all those people looking after Fanning, even Fanning herself, have a better idea of what it all meant and what actually is involved in the scene and the film than us.

But Richard, it is not a 12 year old kid that had a rape scene in The Accused, it's an adult Jodie Foster, that's altogether a different thing. Not having seen Boys Dont Cry I wouldnt know the background to that.

I may be overreacting but like I said in my earlier post, this film is not for me, I just wouldnt be able to stomach even the idea, then again, it's just me.

No, I can understand personal choice,if the film isn't for you then it isn't for you. I have no idea if it's for me as I know next to nothing about it and perhaps it has something to say to us.

Much like The Woodsman did. Describe some of the scenes and situations in that and I'm sure people are up in arms about the protrayal of characters and situations. Yet see the film in context and understand what it's about and things are very much different.

Yet there's something crucial here that's being missed. She isn't being raped. There was no one filmed ontop of her, she was on her own in the scene. She's acting, and she might well only be acting that she's under duress and someone's hurting her, who knows how it's been described to her to behave. She may not even understand what that scene is about.

Not only that, she was on her own for the scene, she's an actress, and a whole load of people more qualified than I were making sure that she felt okay.

For the final scene, I have no idea what it's going to be like or what is being portrayed, or the context. I'm just not going to say there's no way I'm going to see it only knowning a one sided press opinion of a short scene from the entire story, and the reports of the way it's been done seem to have been all aimed at making sure Fanning is okay.

The concern that some people have here, isn't whether creeps will get their jollies watching a child get raped, or seeing her naked...because she doesn't actually get raped, and she isn't actually naked.

The concern, rather, is whether a 12 year old girl, who at most is in the early stages of understanding sexuality altogether, is mentally equipped to contextualize having sexual intercourse forced upon her. In the case of Dakota, who appears to be a hell of a lot smarter and savvier than the average 12 year old based on her impressive acting abilities in other films, MIGHT be able to mentally contextualize that scene as well as the average adult female. However, many, if not most 12 year old girls or boys, couldn't...many, if not most, would not understand fully, what they are portraying, and when they go on to have sexual relationships as they get older, their first memorable sexual event, being their mimmicked incestuous raping, might not be the healthiest first reference point.

Do I think Dakota Fanning will have her mental or sexual development damaged from participating in this scene? Probably about 95% no; i'll trust her parents, her teacher, herself, insofar. However, when talking about someone a full 6 years away from legal adulthood, do we as adults have the right to even flirt with a 5% chance that it could?

THAT's the question.

I suspect this will be a great movie. I suspect that because the cast is good, the topic is intense, and despite previous posters, sometimes good art is FAR from pleasant...art isn't measured by how pleasant it is to view...it's measured by how affecting it is to view, and if that affect is channeled through an enlightening lens.

Second of all, it's not even anything NEW. We all went through this same ordeal a few years back with the underage actress from "Lolita", and before that Brooke Shields who may have been more explicitly sexualized than any starlet underage.

I will end with this. It's that 5% chance that Dakota's view of sexuality could be somehow stunted, warped, or thrown off, by what's likely her first foray into sexuality being a simulated rape scene, that is of concern. I will however, leave that executive call up to her parents, herself, and her teacher, all of who have a more informed sense of Dakota's capacity to film this scene, than you or I.

Degenza, that was extremely well written and I agree with what you've said.

However as I've said I think there's a big chance Fanning had no idea what the scene was finally going to be.

I've read about this before where child actors are asked to portray fear, or given a concept of something happening which will evoke a reaction for the camera. Then editing this together with other shots from separately filmed scenes produces a much different meaning and tone to the performance.

I think it might have been another Fanning film I saw this on, Hide and Seek, I'm not sure exactly.

Anyway, what Fanning would have been aware of is just fighting against someone holding her down, and again there probably wasn't anyone actually doing that.

Then editing other footage together the filmmakers can make it look any way they want.

Now I'm not sure if they did do this or not, but I know this is how similar scenes have been tackled with child actors before. It might be interesting to see if we can find out.

So in the end, if this was done, Fanning would have no idea what the final scene was.

Hey Degenza, welcome to Filmstalker!

I wonder what would people say about Irreversible. Some of the best movies deal with difficult themes and issues. The only censorship comes from the eye of the beholder.

Oh Peter, that film is so powerful and difficult to watch, mostly for the camera work however.

I need to write that review up!

I am looking forward to see that review!

Her mother gave someone else permission to sexually exploit her. It's called incest and it's entirely too common. Her mother should be convicted.

Sexual abuse is broadly defined as any sexual activity, verbal, visual or physical, engaged in without consent, which exploits a person in order to meet another person’s sexual or emotional needs. The person does not and cannot consent if he or she cannot reasonably choose to consent or refuse because of age , circumstances, level of understanding, and dependency or relationship to the offender.

1. sexual intercourse between closely related persons.
2. the crime of sexual intercourse, cohabitation, or marriage between persons within the degrees of consanguinity or affinity wherein marriage is legally forbidden.

I just don't understand how you can't see that there was nothing sexual in what she did. On her own in a scene, clothed, acting distressed - according to all that we know so far that's all that happened. The rest was filmed separately, without her, and then edited together!

Is this day and age so messed up that people would actually want to see this nonsense on screen for sake of entertainment? Yes, it is an unfortunate, nasty truth to our society, but it does not need to be repeated and publicized for the purpose of awareness. We are all aware that it happens and it is horrible when it does. No excuse to attract attention in this manner and exploit a young actor to such a concept. I see this serving no good purpose to young individuals who could potentially see this movie.
As for myself, would not even think of watching it and would also defer as many as I can from watching.

This is all quite sad in my opinion ..

I mean clearly its spawned off a whole interesting conversation here but its one scene that now is getting too much attention. If it appeals (the film, not the scene) then go out & see it, if not don't.

I wouldn't let some mention of some scene ruin a film for me. Making a controversy of it all is what the media do, annoyingly. I mean what actually happened on set, who was there, etc, etc .. to some extent is interesting but to a large extent is none of anybody's business.

I mean its being focussed upon this once, but should every violent/sex scene being shot also be policed? Maybe actors below the age of 18 shouldn't ever be in a film rated below 18 ... how far do you want to take it?

My say .. leave it alone .. especially when the artiste is willing & they have a loving parent right by their side. Its not our place to go judge how good at parenting a specific mother is & that's how I perceive this all.

Im only 13 and this is my first time on FilmStalker.

If Dakota Fanning wants to do this movie, then we should let her. she is 'NOT' naked or is involved in any form of real rape.

she may be only 12 or 13 but she, as i've seen her in other movies, is a great actress.

so its really up to her whether or not to play the part.

Hi Rhys, glad to see you, hope you like it and stay.

I find it very surprising that you have more sense than a lot of the other commenters here. Well said!

I see nothing wrong, the child was not nude, was not filmed being attacked and never had anyone on top of her, everyone is just pissed off because it is perfect little Dakota Fanning doing it,if it were any other child no one would be saying anything. It's not like it's the movie Pretty Baby where Brooke Shields was shown nude from the waste up no wait once again big wopty do, a 12 year olds nipples were shown it's not like it was first time and it's not going to be the last, remember the movie Lawn Dogs? No one bitched about that because the child was a no body, so get over it.

i'm curios. is this a film about awareness? or just mere entertainment evoking feelings from an audience? either way it doesn't need to be brought in this way. a child getting raped. everyone knows that horrific feelings that comes to mind even when the word rape is mentioned. i don't think it needs to be in film. it's common sense that rape is terrifying. being that the girl is practically still a baby it's very disturbing. simulated or not. and then to say maybe it was edited from certain facial expressions for final cut... that's kinda exploitive isn't it? i wonder how she'll conceive of it at the premier. i don't care how great this film will turn out, shooting a child rape scene is not worth fighting for an oscar or critically acclaimed purposes.

from some of the comments i've read, it seems like someone in here is a pedophile and they're not admitting to it.

I seen the film it shows no child porn just good acting on Dakotas behalf


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