Dakota Fanning - Robin Wright Penn - David Morse Piper Laurie - Cody Hanford - Jody Thompson Afemo Omilami - Isabelle Fuhrman - Ryan Pelton Ron Prather - Christoph Sanders - Jill Scott Frank Hoyt Taylor - Sean Andrew Wallace
(DIRECTOR'S WORDS: Dear reader - please note - there is no nudity or explicit violence in this scene. All nudity and violence is implied. Occasional flashes of lightening illuminate the scene but most of this scene is in darkness and therefore the information is heard rather than seen. When the lightning flashes occur, they enter in streaks through cracks in the wood siding of the shed, so that even when there is light it is limited to selected areas of the space that are carefully chosen, keeping everything else in darkness and primarily revealing faces or symbolic objects.)
The controversy comes because of claims that the rape scene is too graphic for the participation of a 12 year old, and there’s additional outrage about reports of other scenes where Fanning is running around in her underwear. Fanning said that the brouhaha was actually a bunch of hooey. “It was gossip, a rumor, like a lot of things about people are. It’s really a beautiful story and I really hope that a lot of people get to see it and I hope that a lot of people learn from it. I had a lot of fun doing it. 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 an emotionally moving movie, and I hope people enjoy it.”
Director Deborah Kampmeier:
“I think to some extent what they’re accusing me of is putting Dakota through some ordeal or a simulation of rape, but that’s not the case,” says Kampmeier. “The scene was never run through from start to finish; it was shot in increments, over and over, never in a single take. The construction creates the impression of the violence, but doesn’t represent the feeling on the set or something that might have traumatized Dakota, especially since there had been so much rehearsal.
“Exactly how I was going to film the rape scene was articulated quite specifically in the script, and her mother, her agent, and her teacher/child welfare worker were all present for the filming of the scene, which was carried out exactly as we discussed it. There was so much I had to hide [during filming]. I had to hide the fact that there is not a boy on top of this girl having sex. One of the choices I made as a director is, I shot her face. I didn’t shoot flesh against flesh, his leg touching her leg; I shot her face because I wanted to capture a soul going through this experience, not a body. The assumption that [Dakota] was violated in order to give this performance denies her talent.”