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Dakota Fanning Rape Scene and Disney's 'Peter Pan' Premiere
by Scott Holleran
Dakota Fanning
February 5, 2007

Burbank, California—The furor over 12-year-old child actress Dakota Fanning's festival-screened movie, Hounddog, has so far stalled gaining a distributor for the picture. Whether her parents made an error by allowing her to play in a rape scene, the movie's status signals spreading religious influence in Hollywood.

Citing child pornography laws, the Catholic League, outraged that a rape scene uses shots of Fanning, called for government intervention, though there is no evidence that a law was violated. Also objecting to Hounddog is a religious group known as the Christian Film and Television Commission that runs a Web site (www.movieguide.org) dedicated to promoting what it calls "biblical principles." The site's mission statement asserts an intention to influence entertainment executives. If controlling Hollywood content is the group's purpose, as far as Hounddog is concerned, the Christian commission may consider its mission accomplished.

One may dispute the merits of a child in a suggestive scene, which raises a legitimate point about what constitutes rational parenting, and the list of child-inappropriate pictures in which Fanning appears is numerous, including the putrid The Cat in the Hat, ghoulish Man on Fire and the horrific War of the Worlds, none of which incurred religionists' wrath to the point of blocking distribution.

The long-standing Christian crusade against Hollywood's pictures is arbitrary. They abhor Hounddog sight unseen while they fall silent over religiously themed horror movies such as Pan's Labyrinth, in which the main character is a girl repeatedly subjected to extreme violence during the movie. Imagine last year without the thought-provoking Little Children or the insightful and humorous Little Miss Sunshine, which featured child actors in disturbing scenes. Would they make it past a Judeo-Christian morals committee?

Maybe studios passed on Hounddog, which also stars David Morse and Piper Laurie, because it's a dud, or perhaps they have been spooked by the faith-based bunch. Time will tell if the picture's demise means Hollywood kneels to fundamentalists, but a studio pipeline being choked by religious groups is ominous for movies and box office.

The El Capitan in Hollywood
Photo Credit: Scott Holleran
Screen Notes

A proper children's movie on all counts—Walt Disney's Peter Pan—premiered in digitally remastered form last week at the El Capitan movie palace. Timed to promote Buena Vista Home Entertainment's March 6 Platinum DVD release of the 1953 animated adaptation of J.M Barrie's stories, El Cap's premiere took flight with a panel discussion and a surprising twist on the Disney studio's Sleeping Beauty castle logo in lights, with help from a live-action Tinker Bell. The show, which runs with the movie, appears through Feb. 15.

Peter Pan's panel featured the actors who voiced blue-dressed Wendy Darling (Kathryn Beaumont) and top-hatter John Darling (Paul Collins) and those who were rotoscoped in motion for Tinker Bell (Margaret Kerry) and one of the mermaids (June Foray). The panel, hosted by producer Don Hahn (The Lion King) included Disney animator Eric Goldberg (Aladdin).

The premiere included a well-choreographed routine of acrobatic and modern dance moves to a horrendous hip-hop cover recording of "Second Star to the Right" and a performance clip of a charming new song for the DVD written by Richard Sherman, who introduced the piece. Two brief DVD excerpts featured Walt Disney and Bobby Driscoll (Peter Pan). A neat addition to the El Cap evening is a three-course candlelight dinner with the movie—in time for Valentine's Day—for $23.

Dinner next door at Disney's Soda Fountain and Studio Store includes soup or salad, steak, chicken or spaghetti, baked potato or vegetable and a heart-shaped dessert. You also get a special collectible pin and a complimentary photograph. There are two seatings; for information, call (323) 817-1475.

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RELATED LINKS
Index of Scott Holleran's Columns
El Capitan Web Site
Disney's Soda Fountain and Studio Store

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