"Hounddog," the simply awful movie in which 12-year-old Dakota Fanning’s character is raped, has no buyers. "No one wants it after the terrible reviews," one distributor told me, just as we were sitting down to see another disaster, J.P. Schaefer’s "Chapter 27." Indeed, the people associated with The Weinstein Company, IFC Films and First Look were among those who instantly agreed that they had no interest in "Hounddog." At this rate, this exercise in bad taste may wind up being a DVD collector’s item. Same thing for "Chapter 27," from which many fled before it ended in the two audiences that have seen it. Meanwhile, the producers of "Hounddog" trotted out 12-year-old Fanning yesterday to defend the film in places like USA Today and at another press conference. It’s come to that, apparently. The people who should be answering questions, however, are Fanning’s parents, and the parents of the other children in the film. Indeed, 12-year-old Cody Hanford, who plays Fanning’s boyfriend in the provocative and poorly written outing, may actually become more of the focus than even the star. In the film, his character lures Fanning’s into a barn and then watches as she’s raped. Hanford and Fanning also have numerous kissing scenes, some in which they’re half-dressed. Yesterday, Variety’s Todd McCarthy was one of several reviewers who echoed my complaints about the hoary plot, terrible dialogue and clichÃ©s marking every scene. With the above mentioned distributors out, it’s unlikely now that any major will take "Hounddog." And that’s just as well, considering that its release is sure to spark more outrage, protests and calls for investigations. The strange part is that, in the long run, the movie itself is only offensive because it’s so bad. The real culprits aren’t the filmmakers, but the parents of the young actors. Yesterday I spoke to Joy Pervis, the Atlanta agent who discovered Dakota and her sister, Elle. She’s since signed Cody and Isabelle Fuhrmann, the other child in the film. Pervis told me she’s basically in favor of the film and trusts the Fannings’ judgment. "They’re a good Christian family," she said. But plenty of publicists who’ve worked on movies with either Fanning girl have stories about their mother, Joy. "She’s a real stage mother," one of them said at the screening. "The negotiations just go on and on." But back to "Hounddog." Since I am one of the few who’ve actually seen it, let me explain something important. There is no point that I can find to the child’s rape. Once it happens, it’s never discussed. The culprit is never accused or apprehended. The child never tells her story to anyone. There’s no great moment of revelation that could possibly help someone who’s watching the film. It’s simply there for shock value. The fact that Kampmeier and the producers have somehow conned rape-assistance groups into using the movie as a public-service announcement is bizarre to me. But I guess it’s no more bizarre than using Dakota Fanning as the public defender of the indefensible.
Amen! Even though the critics said the rape scene was not that bad, it was still was, in my opinon, too much for a 12 year old girl with so much talent to go through for a role. I wonder how her mom and agent, who made her do it for a possible Oscar, feel now that her movie will most likely go straight-to-DVD only!