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Kiddie Rape Film Stirring Controversy

WWW- Maybe the most controversial film heading to this month’s Sundance Film Festival concerns the rape of a 12-year-old girl while Elvis Presley is heard singing in the background.

“HoundDog,” written and directed by Deborah Kampmeier, is already getting more advance attention than “Chapter 27,” the film about Mark David Chapman murdering John Lennon.

That’s because the character played by 12-year-old actress Dakota Fanning, who made her mark six years ago in “I Am Sam,” is raped on-screen.

Kampmeier doesn’t show the actual rape, but it’s quite clear, from sources who’ve seen the film that, as scripted and directed, the scenes in question are going to cause as big if not bigger uproar than when Brooke Shields played a pre-pubescent prostitute in Louis Malle’s classic “Atlantic City.”

In a terrific piece in the new Premiere magazine, Fanning’s agent, Cindy Osbrink, tells writer Henry Cabot Beck: “I’ve been working with Dakota since she was five, and this is something we haven’t seen her do. Something that really challenged her talent. ‘HoundDog’ was one of the best experiences of her life, a story that needs to be told, and she tells it with her soul as no one else can.”

Apparently there are already a number of Web sites protesting this film, and lots of comments on the Internet Movie Data Base lamenting the potential exploitation of Fanning. What could do the movie in, though, is the soundtrack of Elvis Presley records. It’s unclear whether the Presley estate will approve the licensing of the ultimate pop idol’s voice as the film’s backdrop, or even if the writers of the song ‘Hound Dog’-Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller-won’t do something to keep their famous composition out of it.

No producers are credited yet for “HoundDog,” by the way, but the Premiere article does cite Jean Gatien as having raised funds and lists her as “daughter of New York club owner Peter Gatien.” For the record, Peter Gatien-implicated in the famous nightclub murder of Angel Melendez that was depicted in the Macaulay Culkin movie “Party Monster”- was deported to Canada in 2003. He’d pled guilty in 1999 to not paying $1.9 million in taxes and spent 60 days in jail, after he was acquitted of federal drug charges in 1996. His many New York clubs, like Limelight and the Tunnel, were the scenes of constant drug raids during their heyday.


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