Trailer: Dakota Fanning in 'Hounddog'

Hounddog, a Southern Gothic tale which debuted at Sundance in 2007 and was quickly tagged as “The Dakota Fanning Rape Movie,” has finally been picked up for a summer 2008 release by Empire pictures, reports The New York Post, who’ve also come up with the trailer for the film. Fanning (age 12 during the shooting) plays a 9-year-old who suppresses the trauma of a rape by a neighbor boy in part by obsessing over and mimicking Elvis Presley. The rape scene in question lasts about 30 seconds, shows no nudity, and uses cutaways of falling rain between shots of Fanning’s face, hands, and feet.

The indie film, written and directed by Deborah Kampmeier, was met with controversy on many fronts leading up to the Sundance premiere. The picture was filmed in Brunswick County, North Carolina, and a criminal investigation there, which included a screening of the film and interviews with the cast and crew (including Fanning) concluded that there were no violations of state laws concerning child exploitation or obscenity.

The director, who calls Hounddog a story “about motherlessness, the cycle of abuse, the triumph of this girl’s spirit, and the power of female sexuality,” vehemently denies any allegations of exploitation of the child actor and chose to ignore the outcry over the rumored content in the film before it’s premiere. Said Kampmeier, “Our decision was to not respond to any of it ’cause everything that’s been written or said about us is false. But at a certain point it was so upsetting to read lie after lie and be powerless to change the public perception. I finally had to stop focusing on that and get back to the film.” (Premiere)

Fanning has also shrugged off the controversy, saying, “It’s really no different than playing any other character. I’m still not playing myself. I get to experience different things people go through without going through them myself, which is no different from watching a news story and learning from that…It’s no darker than Hide and Seek or Man on Fire. I still am going through difficult things in those films as well, and nobody seemed to talk about that.” (CHUD)

No doubt that the petitions, boycotts, and public furor will be reignited come this summer when Hounddog goes from a one-time festival shot to appearing on at least 500 screens nationwide. The 2008 cut of the film is said to be different from what was screened at Sundance, and is somehow shooting for a PG-13 rating, but that may not help it’s chances much. A pan from Salon in 2007, one of many bad reviews coming out of Sundance concluded, “‘Hounddog’ should be boycotted. Not because it depicts the sexual exploitation of children but because it’s a turgid, overripe mess.”

Hounddog, which also stars Robin Wright-Penn and David Morse, is scheduled for a July 18th release.

Tags: ,

Posted by Ted Zee on March 17th 2008 | Home Page | 1 Comment Subscribe to this site's feed

One Response

  1. Gratuitement Says:

    This web site certainly has all the information and facts I
    wanted concerning this subject and didn’t know who to ask.

Leave a Comment

Please note: Comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.