Last week, I was desperately needing to watch The Colbert Report, but had no luck finding the remote, so I flipped through the channels manually. Even though I needed my Colbert fix, something on CNN caught my eye. It was a report on Daniel Radcliffe, and as a die-hard Harry Potter fan, I stopped flipping and watched.
Seventeen-year-old Radcliffe is starring in Equus, a play about a young man who has sexual fantasies about horses, which is being shown in the London’s famous West End. The promotion pictures are considered “racy,” but what is racy about a guy without a shirt? In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, he had a bath scene and no one made a big deal about that. Maybe it’s the fact that he will do full frontal nudity on stage during the play that is provoking people.
Parents are in an uproar over this. Take a complaint from an English paper, the Daily Telegraph, for instance. “We as parents feel Daniel should not appear nude. Our 9-year-old son looks up to him as a role model. We are very disappointed and will avoid the future movies he makes.”
There is an obvious way for their child not to see Radcliffe naked – don’t take him to see the production. A play about a disturbed young man who has an unhealthy obsession with horses is not meant for children. The official Web site for the play even has a parental guidance warning that states “some scenes may be unsuitable for children.”
“I’m fine about it. Equus is an iconic play. The nude scene is part of it. I can’t do it with my pants on. That would be rubbish,” Radcliffe said to contact music. “We’ve done the scene a couple of times in rehearsal. I had no particular qualms. There’s nothing that would stop me getting my kit off if that’s what the work demands.”
Harry Potter is a pop culture icon that is much bigger than Radcliffe. He has the right to show an older audience that he can be a serious actor as well.
“Daniel does not want to step away from Harry Potter, but he does want to show he is a rounded actor capable of very different roles,” said Vanessa Davies, Radcliffe’s spokeswoman, to Britain’s Daily Mail.
He probably doesn’t want to be another Mark Hamill, who is known by most for his role as Luke Skywalker from the original Star Wars trilogy.
Dakota Fanning is another young actor who has been getting controversial buzz. Her character is raped in her new movie, Hounddog. There have even been petitions online for the arrest of Fanning’s mother and agent. However, the young starlet brings up some good points when defending her movie and her parents.
“It’s no darker than Hide and Seek or Man on Fire. I still am going through difficult things in those films as well, and nobody seemed to talk about that,” she said in an interview with Chud.
In movies, death is depicted all the time, but no one is ever actually killed – simply put, the act is not really carried out. The same is true of rape scenes, especially when children are involved.
“It’s important for people to remember that when you are crafting a film, you are putting images next to each other,” writer and director Deborah Kampmeier said to Reuters. “It’s not like we had Dakota acting out the rape; we didn’t.”
The media – and everyone else – needs to cool down about young Hollywood being risquÃ©; they have the right to work on whatever they want. The protesters are actually helping the show and movie gain publicity. Promotion of any kind can bring success to a project – according to In The News, Equus has already pre-sold more than half a million tickets.
Candace Kaw is a sophomore majoring in mass communications.