Dakota Fanning, 15, (left) plays singer Cherrie Currie. Kristen Stewart, 19, (right) plays guitarist Joan Jett in “The Runaways.” (photo: IMDB.com)
(Warning: This story contains graphic content that may offend some readers.)
Fifteen-year-old child star Dakota Fanning is starring in yet another provocative movie role – snorting cocaine in bathrooms and participating in a steamy lesbian kiss and heavily implied sex scene with her female co-star.
Her latest movie, “The Runaways,” is rated “R” and will release March 19. It premiered at this year’s Sundance film festival.
Fanning plays the role of Cherie Currie, lead vocalist of The Runaways, an all-girl hard-rock band popular in the 1970s. Former “The Twilight Saga” star Kristen Stewart, 19, plays openly lesbian rocker Joan Jett, the band’s guitarist.
According to an early version of the script, the opening scene includes a splotch of menstrual blood hitting the sidewalk. Fanning’s character is seen with blood dripping down her leg as she begins her first menstrual cycle.
Jett is a rebellious teenager who curses, shoplifts leather pants, urinates on electric guitars, smokes, pops pills, takes part in several sexually charged scenes and smashes objects. Jett teaches another band member, Sandy, how to masturbate to Farrah Fawcett.
Fanning’s character cusses often, acts out, appears scantily clad in bed with “twenty-something surfer dudes,” drinks, uses cocaine and pops prescription pills. At age 15 she is abandoned by her mother, who moves to Indonesia with her boyfriend, and her father is an alcoholic.
Actor Michael Shannon plays band manager and bad guy Kim Fowley. According to one version of the script, when he meets the girl band, he declares, “Lemme guess, you sing in a band. And it’s the greatest f—ing band in the world. And I’m the luckiest dogf—er in the world because I get to hear it first.”
Fowley wears female clothing, constantly cusses and talks about sex and warns the band, “Rock n’ roll is tough music played in tough venues. Men don’t like to see women anywhere but in their kitchens or on their knees – let alone on-stage with guitars.”
Fowley has countless outbursts filled with expletives and pelvic thrusts as he teaches the girls to express rage in their music.
“They start jamming with Fowley listening, who is seemingly coked to the gills with a bent towards pedophilia,” a Cinematical review states. “He decides the band needs, as he so eloquently illustrates with his finger pointed at a woman’s crotch, more sex.”
Dakota Fanning and Kristen Stewart in “The Runaways” (photo: IMDB.com)
Fanning’s character participates in a sex scene with her fellow female rocker. One version of the script describes the scene:
Precarious … a hand pushes a top up to expose a breast …
Unsteady … a bible on the night stand …
Tottering … white sheets unravel around a leg …
Weak … Toes curl up … roller-skate wheels spin …
Agitation … streaks of light …
A quiver … Cherie’s mouth opens …
The scene is followed by, “Whatever clothes they were wearing the night before are scattered all over the floor.”
Donna Miller special projects coordinator for Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, expressed concern that Fanning’s young fans might glamorize the starlet’s shocking behavior.
“That behavior includes a lesbian affair, sexually explicit song lyrics, risqué clothing and a pathetic character in a drugged-out existence,” Miller told WND. “In her interviews at Sundance, nowhere have I seen her denounce any of that behavior as destructive or immoral. In fact, she romanticizes her Cherie Currie character. Fanning indicates the lesbian sex scene is just a natural progression of the relationship.”
Kirk Honeycutt of the Hollywood Reporter echoed Miller’s concern about the movie’s portrayal of the band’s dysfunctional behavior: “While the film makes it clear its personalities suffered tremendously for their addictions, it all looks so glam.”
Fowley forces the girls to endure a rock-and-roll boot camp. He allows teen boys to throw bottles, bricks and garbage at them so they learn to cope with hecklers.
As WND reported, another controversial Fanning movie, “Hounddog,” sexualized a 9-year-old little girl. At the time, Fanning was only 12 years old when she played the child character who was violently raped. The movie earned a stunningly low $12,500 on its first weekend of release in theaters.
Miller said Fanning’s mother and campaign manager, Joy, is to blame for selecting sexualized roles for her daughter.
Ted Baehr, founder and publisher of MOVIEGUIDE, and chairman of the Christian Film & Television Commission, told WND, “I knew Dakota Fanning when she was just a little girl and she came to the MOVIEGUIDE awards. Her mother claimed to be a person of faith. They prayed. They talked about Jesus.”
Asked what changed, Baehr replied, “I think fame and fortune have corrupted her mother, and they have unfortunately made some bad calls that are getting worse by the second. Those decisions have become abhorrent.”
According to the New York Post, Fox Searchlight was contemplating an Oscar campaign on behalf of Fanning – leading some to speculate that the starlet could be appearing in controversial roles to garner attention and increase her chances of receiving the award. But Baehr said the view in Hollywood that actresses must play sleazy roles to prove their acting ability couldn’t be further from reality.
“We have been tracking the numbers for many years, and I can guarantee you that 95 percent of the time, when an actress starts to go down this road of doing cutting-edge parts, her career crumbles,” he said. “Whatever the Hollywood club thinks, the average mom and pop, and even the average teenager, doesn’t like that.”
He said filmmakers for “Hounddog” and “The Runaways” clearly crossed a line when they allowed underage girls to play the provocative roles.
“From the audience side, this is not a good move,” Baehr said. “From the moral side, if this were done by a group of dirty old men in raincoats in a back alley in New York, they would be arrested for pedophilia. There should be a moral outcry.”
He said Fanning destroyed her positive image in “Hounddog” and will do even more damage to her reputation with “The Runaways.” Baehr also said he believes the film was not given the proper rating.
“It should be rated NC-17,” he said. “The Motion Picture Association of America has made a mistake.”