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September 03, 2006


Alf Omega

I can't speak for what happened on the sets of Bastard out of Carolina or Hound Dog, but I did work on the set of Lolita and I know that no laws were broken and no minors were used in scenes simulating sex. A 20 yead-old body double was used in any and all scenes of a sexual nature and any scene that even bordered on being close to intimate that involved 15 year old Dominique Swain was videotaped to provide evidence that she was never put in a compromising position adn in fact never even made physical contact with Jeremy Irons.

One may question the subject matter of the film, or find it distasteful, but it did not violate any laws.

And, for the record, while Lolita did prep in North Carolina, only bout 20 out of 120 days were shot in North Carolina. All the scenes that were shot in North Carolina take place in the story before Lolita's mother is killed and before she and Humbert Humbert begin their "relationship". Nothing of a sexual nature between the two characters was even filmed in North Carolina at all.

The rest of the film was shot in South Carolina, New Orleans and other parts of Louisiana, San Antonio, Houston, El Paso and other parts of Texas, Las Cruces, New Mexico and yes - it ended up in San Francisco and northern California on the Pacific Coast Highway. So pointing the finger at Lolita for supposedly choosing North Carolina because of lax child labor laws is to miss the mark by quite a wide margin. That just wasn't the case.

Just wanted to set the record straight on Lolita - which can now be safely excluded from this discussion.

Tre Benson

Thanks Alf for enlightening us about the Lolita movie not shooting the sex scenes here in North Carolina. I'm curious about the other states and their child labor laws.

Did you know that in post the editors had a lawyer with them in the suite overseeing all footage. Immediately destroying questionable material? This material included the scenes shot with the body double.

The reason why the attorney suggested they do away with the sex scenes is because the use of an adult in place of a minor does not allow the producers to escape the child pornography law. What did allow them to escape the law is the destruction of the evidence authorities never were interested enough to go after in the first place. It is against the law for an adult to portray a minor involved in a sex act.

Wasn't the hotel stuff shot in the mountains of NC? If not where was it shot?

What about the scene that took place at Lo's house prior to her mother dying? The scene I am talking about is the first encounter between Humbert and Lo. It involved a foot.

Thanks again Alf.

Alf Omega

The CHILD PORNOGRAPHY PREVENTION ACT of 1996, which made it illegal to have an adult portray a minor in a sexual context, was signed into law after Lolita had completed filming. Those laws weren't in existence duging the filming of the movie. Still the fact that a body double was used in any scene with an explicitly sexual context shows that even before the CHILD PORNOGRAPHY PREVENTION ACT was made into law, the producers and director of the film were already sensitive to the subject and were making attempts to handle the subject matter professionally and ethically and to render no psychological harm to Dominique Swain.

As the law was brand new, that's probably why lawyers were present in the editing room, if that's true. I don't understand why any footage of the body double would be destroyed though, because in and of itself that footage showed nothing illegal. If it were edited into the film and understood to represent a minor, then it could be illegal under that law, but not in its unedited form.

Which "hotel stuff" are you referring to? As the show was a road movie, we shot in numerous hotels, but none of the film was shot in the NC mountains. Some was shot at Chinquapin Plantation, but none of that included the Lolita character.

If you're referring to the hotel with the Sunday comics scene, that was shot in South Carolina with a body double. If you're referring to the hotel where they share a room in a large hotel, that was in Louisiana. If you're referring to the hotel where Humbert has a paranoid delusion about being chased by people in Dick Tracy masks, that was shot in Texas.

I don't remember the specifics of the "foot" scene, but all scenes at Lolita's house were filmed in Wilmington. Iirc, the "foot" scene, while perhaps suggestive, involved no sexual contact.

In any case, it's a misstatement of fact to say that Lolita chose North Carolina to base its produciton in based on anything having to do with lax child labor laws in this state. And as the film provided hundreds of jobs for local craftsmen, we're very lucky that North Carolina was chosen.

Tre Benson

Yeah it was the Sunday comics.

I'm not sure what the argument actually is anymore because I have so many of them about this film. (I really need to just pick one thing that bugs me the most and stick with it) So I looked up in the original post and saw the following "Why should North Carolina be the place Lolita, Bastard out of Carolina and now Hound Dog come when searching for a location to shoot a movie with scenes of disturbing violence against children?" I didn't see me saying anything about Child Labor Laws being the cause of Lolita being shot here. I guess I will still stick with that question I quoted. We know that with Lolita nothing pre-1996 law was shot in NC that could be viewed as being illegal. Do you know what the law was prior to 1996? We know that the producers may have selected NC for reasons other than the suspension of Child Labor Laws. What was the reason(s) I wonder.

What we don't know is why those particular movies, every one of them extremely controversial, came to Wilmington? All three of them dealing with the rape of a minor. (2 forced, one unforced but technically still a rape, the character was twelve) Perhaps it is coincidence. Perhaps its because NC is the only right to work State with a decent local crew base. After all that's what brought everyone here in the first place. State film commissioner, Bill Arnold, used to brag that labor costs would save the average production 20% if filmed in NC. (Then the union call to strike the battleship filming, then the SAG strike, then Canada. Then other states offered incentives.) I honestly can't think of examples of other movies along the lines of those three that caused such a stir.

And again you are right saying that Lolita provided a good number of jobs for local craftsmen. But so did the tobacco industry until laws enforced by pompous assed personal injury lawyers did away with all that.

This argument is about taking a look at the law. Either enforce it or take it off the books.

I am not arguing politics or morality. My argument is about the law. What does the law state? Was a law broken? Should the law be changed? That's about it. Everything else is just talk, opinions, ideas, and emotions.

With a pinch of grandstanding. On both sides I might add.

Alf Omega

We know that the producers may have selected NC for reasons other than the suspension of Child Labor Laws. What was the reason(s) I wonder.

I suppose you could ask that about any film that chooses North Carolina. Like many, the producers of Lolita chose Wilmington for a variety of reasons - the locations, the crewbase, the facilities, etc.

The fact that North Carolina is a right to work state probably played very little if any part in the decision as very little of it was actually shot in North Carolina and almost every department head was brought in from out of state, (mostly from New York) and the entire show was union from the get-go. The same is of course true for virtually every production undertaken in the state for the past 10 years - even including films in the very low budget range and commercials. They all fall under the union umbrella. And while those rates may be lower than in New York and California, so is the cost of living here, which allows you to work for those lower rates and still enjoy a quality standard of living.

We know that with Lolita nothing pre-1996 law was shot in NC that could be viewed as being illegal. Do you know what the law was prior to 1996?

I don't know. But if none of the 1996 laws were broken, I don't think any laws that existed prior to those were broken either. The 1996 legislation was the most far-reaching of its kind and in fact was later repealed by the Supreme Court for First Amendment violations. It was later amended and re-passed in 2005, I believe, but with few if any real changes. It is believed the current law may again come under Supreme Court scrutiny for similar reasons.

The reason I was addressing Lolita was because it seems that your lumping these films together as a whole creates a kind of historical foundation for North Carolina being chosen as the location for films that exploit children and push the envelope of the law, when in fact nothing of the sort happened with Lolita, not in North Carolina, and to my knowledge, while Bastard out of Carolina may also contain similar subject matter, again no laws were broken in its production. You're trying to make a case for multiple violations of the law when in fact Hound Dog may be the only legitimate case for discussion.

And again you are right saying that Lolita provided a good number of jobs for local craftsmen. But so did the tobacco industry until laws enforced by pompous assed personal injury lawyers did away with all that.

I hope the same doesn't happen to the North Carolina film industry, being bombarded by attacks from self-righteous do-gooders who attack the entire industry based on the actions of a very miniscule minority, when they know very little about the true nature of the industry as a whole and base their assumumtions on tabloid exaggerations and mistaken stereotypes.

Tre Benson

No argument from me. But keep in mind my fight is with what is legal and what is not.

I think all the rest of this, fanning of flames, is one side overstating the misperception of the other.

Do you really believe what you just said?

"I hope the same doesn't happen to the North Carolina film industry, being bombarded by attacks from self-righteous do-gooders who attack the entire industry based on the actions of a very minuscule minority, when they know very little about the true nature of the industry as a whole and base their assumptions on tabloid exaggerations and mistaken stereotypes."

I am fairly confident the industry has survived much worse than this and sees none of this as a genuine threat.

Don't get me wrong, this is a very legitimate argument about what is legal and what is not when it comes to placing children in adult situations for money, not art. Be it under a helicopter at 3 in the morning surrounded by sfx explosives, or a casting call for a 9 year old dominatrix. This unchallenged crack in the door is potentially dangerous, you have to admit it has become more and more exploitive. If this movie Hound Dog were to be used as a talking point then perhaps the issues of child advocates might carry a bit more weight. And in my mind how the discussion comes about is secondary to the real fight.

Let the tabloids reinforce the stereotypes. Who cares. Do all athletes do steroids? All super models coke fiends? Rock stars overdose? Producers big fat stogie smoking lying mobsters take advantage of everyone? This all adds to the mystique. Movie magic I guess.

But when push comes to shove none of us are as foolish as we appear, we all basically know the truth if we look for it hard enough. I suspect you have a good grasp of it yourself.


Another thing, "Alf Omega": Who cares how much of the movie was shot in North Carolina...or on the Moon? I'm from Houston myself and, while I'm disturbed to know that any of that sick movie was made here at all, all this does is illustrate that fact that the problem is nation-wide.

No one's dumping on North Carolina as the only place that this can happen... only that a lot of it has. That only means that the Tarheel State is a good place to start the ball rolling. I'd say that even if the latest outrage (Hounddog) hadn't been filmed there.

But it was. And, so far, they've gotten clean away with it in spite of state and federal laws to the contrary. This is the key damn point. If children are to be protected from sex purveyors, then let Wilmington be the "Lexington" of this new and, yes, righteous war. You can't get much more "righteous" than with something like this.

"Lolita" also serves to bring forth another of my favorite points. Depravity unchecked only leads to more and greater depravity.

Jack Valenti, the recently retired "Czar" of Hollywood, introduced the ratings system back in the early Sixties that allowed semi-porn like "Lolita" to be legally packaged for the public. Everyone knows what's followed in it's wake. Now we have "Hounddog". If this passes muster, what will follow... unchecked?

And where do we go to find the central culprits? As another great radio host likes to say, "Follow the money"!

Alf Omega

It is yet to be shown that anything illegal occurred in the filming of Hound Dog. Nothing of the kind occurred in the making of Lolita. Nothing of the kind occurred in the making of Bastard out of Carolina either, to my knowledge.

By calling attention to the fact that nothing untoward in Lolita was filmed in North Carolina, and that none of the scenes filmed anywhere broke any laws, I mean to dispell the erroneous impression you have, and as has been put forth by the purveyors of this website, that "a lot" of films of this nature have been made in North Carolina. 3 movies that are even subject to question over the past 20+ years the film industry has been prevalent in North Carolina, from the hundreds of movies that have been filmed here, hardly constitutes a trend or a cause to pinpoint North Carolina as ground zero in your crusade.

While you may find the subject matter of these films objectionable, that doesn't mean that they are necessarily illicit, pornographic or illegal.

If you want to start a crusade, do it in your community, where you may have some impact. No need to point the finger at a state 1200 miles away and attempt to vilify others when there is plenty to be self-righteous about in your own backyard.


Alf Omega:

I think I've made it abundantly clear that I haven't "pinpointed" North Carolina as the root of all evil. Far from it. The point is that one of the greatest outrages against children in moviemaking that I have ever heard of has apparently happened right there in Wilmington. That's why I'm focussing THERE... not in Muncie, Indiana.

If it had happened in Houston, I'd be no less engaged. Moreso, if anything, because I'd be right there onscene and know who to contact personally. Nor would I in any way be offended if out-of-state people, motivated with my same concerns, were to add their support. I've spoken to good people as far away as Kazakhstan who share the same attitude. God bless them. Of course, I wish a whole lot more that it had never happened- and never could happen- anywhere on Earth.

To anyone who's sifted the evidence, gained an insight into the backgrounds of the principals, reviewed the opinions of responsible journalists and competant, film-wise reviewers and commentators, studied the state and federal laws and likewise evaluated the testimonies of witnesses and others who have knowledge of this occurance and others like it... well, I'd say there's plenty of room for concern and more than enough reason to investigate it thoroughly.

A Crusade? Maybe. Considering the consequences to children of doing nothing, I'll go with that. Certainly, the subject matter of "Hounddog" is objectionable... to say the very least. "Illicit, pornographic or illegal"? There's far more than a reasonable doubt, here. If any allegation brought forth is true- just any ONE of them- then it is all of that.

This is not a matter of "self-righteousness". That's the usual lefty accusation when someone uses the dreaded words "common decency". Nor is it just a matter of respecting the laws of this nation... although that's enough. It's about protecting our most valuable resource.

As I've said previously, this is what adults are FOR. If we fail to stand up to predators and protect our kids- and if we try to wimp out of it with specious excuses- then we're no better than the parents of those three children in "Hounddog" who prostituted them on film with dollar signs in their eyes.

Again; there's more than a reasonable doubt. Well more. To try and fluff it off is more than irresponsible. It is criminal.

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