I’m so grossed out by this. Disney, you’ve done it again.
Playbill announced yesterday that a 10-year-old bundle of youtubey stardom has been slated for Little Red Riding hood in the upcoming movie adaptation of Into the Woods.
This happens to be one of my favorite Broadway plays. Literate Libran introduced it to me as one of her favorites too- the dual parts of Cinderella and the Witch have always resonated so powerfully with her. For me the strongest message is the underlying indictment on group dynamics in troubled times. Click either of those to read our thoughts about it. Much has been said about this, and I could easily go on about it much more, so naturally I wasn’t too excited when I heard it was headed for movie theaters, but whatever. They snagged Meryl Streep for the lead, and that’s usually a good sign, right? But this?
A kid sings on Youtube, gets asked to show up on a TV show, subsequently makes miscellaneous talk show appearances… and… those are her acting credentials. This child is 10. The role of Little Red Riding Hood is a coming of age story, with a very overt message about carelessly sacrificing her innocence when a predatorial “wolf” crosses her path. This child is 10. A ten year old who still shows up at every public appearance in a princess costume is supposed to portray a layered, complex balance of fairy tale playfulness and the sadder but wiser embarrassed confidence of a young woman newly smarting from the regrets of a bad relationship.
Check out Danielle Ferland below from the OBC:
“Nice is different than good.” Pretty clever, no?
I thought about also including a clip of Sophia’s breakthrough appearance on Ellen, but she’s singing a song with illicit lyrics about having sex, and in case you’ve forgotten, this child is 10 (actually, she was 8 when that was done) and I think the world will be a better place with fewer blogs posting videos of little children belting out smutty rap lyrics.
Folks, really, how is this not the epitome of exploitation? The pink dresses, ever present to remind us how tiny she is? Have I mentioned she’s 10? Never mind that normal 10 year old girls don’t go trooping around in sparkly plastic crowns, she’s got the cutie-pie image to foster. Never mind how completely unfit she may be amongst her peers; as long as it’s garnering TV spots, why not keep it up? On the same token, I’ve never overheard a fifth grade girl mournfully lament her adolescent choices (because, of course, fifth graders haven’t experienced adolescence yet). A friend of mine commented that it’s a bit discouraging to see how this type of thing is pushed on children at younger and younger ages, but really, however informed a kid may be about the facts of life, ten means she’s still got her teen years ahead of her. Adolescence hasn’t even started yet, and therefore she has not yet earned the right to reminisce about it.
I could ask what kind of lousy parent would pretend like this is good for their child, but the subject of the fame-obsessed parent pimp has been discussed to death, and we all know it’s vile. Can we maybe just start having stagemom of the year awards?
We could call it the “Don’t go in there” Award (little Office joke there). That’s actually pretty apropos.
I could also ask why the movie itself was necessary at all, but that’s something we all know too, right?
Although their original ideas are often fun and watchable enough, those are just the revolving door prime-time stuff. Disney feature films are most often hijacked pieces that the public has already grown to appreciate. I’ve learned by now to just avoid the ones about stories I like unless I want to have the original tainted (I’ll never forgive them for the butchering they gave the Hunchback of Notre Dame), and this will certainly be one to avoid.
I just feel sick and sorry for the child who is so obviously being herded into the child-star-who-does-scandalous-things act, especially considering that she’s got that along with the preschool-dress-up-princess image to maintain. This is one seriously messed up situation.