Students react to Fanning’s controversial rape scene

By on February 21, 2007

Controversy is stirring around a new movie starring Dakota Fanning.

In the movie “Hounddog,” 12-year-old Fanning plays a rape victim. Although there is allegedly no nudity, many critics are appalled at the content. Director Deborah Kampmeier called for the young actress to appear naked or to wear only her underpants in several scenes of the movie in which she engages in sexual activity, according to The New York Daily News.

Fanning, however, says that it is not a movie solely about rape.

“That’s not even the point of the film,” she told MSNBC. “It’s not really happening. It’s a movie and it’s called acting.”

The movie is about a girl named Lewellen, played by Fanning, growing up in the South during the 1950s. She is being raised by her abusive father (David Morse) and alcoholic grandmother (Piper Laurie). Despite her difficult home life, she finds comfort and joy in the music of Elvis Presley (hence the film’s title).

When asked whether or not they are interested in seeing the movie, several students had the same reaction.

“I don’t think I’d be interested in seeing the movie because I do not like that type of movie,” Kathleen Hessman, a sophomore broadcast journalism major, said. “It wouldn’t matter to me whether Dakota Fanning was in it or not. I would prefer to see another kind of movie.”

Matthew Bitley, a sophomore interactive digital design major, could not emphasize enough how disgusted he is that they could depict such explicit subject matter featuring a child.

“She’s 12″ he cried. “It’s morally repulsive. The scene could be accomplished without showing such graphic material on screen.”

Other students, however, are not as alarmed.

“It doesn’t matter who the actor is; it’s the message they are trying to get across,” Carmela Caratozzolo, a sophomore occupational therapy major, said. “If people were to have children of a certain age go see the movie, it might help them understand what goes on in the world.”

One student believes this movie could help Fanning’s career.

“It’s only going to advance her career,” Timothy Dillon, a sophomore philosophy and mathematics double major, said. “If you look at her filmography, she has worked her way up from child star to more mature roles. This rape scene should not be so controversial because you hear about rapes and murders on the news all the time so for her to take on this role shows her maturity.”

“Hounddog” premiered at the Sundance Film Festival Jan. 22, 2007. There is no information about when it will be released in theaters. This film is not yet rated.


About Sharon Ng