Casting Standards for Church Films

Back in 2005, after posting my original review for The Other Side of Heaven, I received an email from a sister in the Church:

I was greatly distressed to learn last week that the young woman who portrays Jean Groberg in “The Other Side of Heaven” has just made a movie (not released yet) which has scenes where she is nude, involved in perverted sex, and uses drugs. I am so disappointed in her. That is why the CHURCH is so careful in choosing the actors/actresses for its films. The CHURCH tries its best to see that wrong associations can never be made.

An interesting email on a number of levels. That “young woman” would be Anne Hathaway, of course, and the movie referred to is probably Havoc, which didn’t make much noise at the time of its release in 2005. However, it led to other “adult” roles for Anne in subsequent years, including Brokeback Mountain — which I suspect would have generated a similar reaction from this sister.

At the time, of course, Anne was known primarily for being Disney’s Princess Diaries and Ella Enchanted girl and seemed a suitable candidate by anyone to portray the future wife of a LDS General Authority in a Church film. Obviously, it was impossible for the Other Side of Heaven filmmakers to make her sign a contract that said, “after agreeing to portray Jean Groberg in a film, you must continue to ACT like Jean Groberg forever after…”. It’s not as if filmmakers have any control over roles actors and actresses will take in the future.

Read the rest of this story at motleyvision.org/ldscinema/
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