Schwimmer granted an interview to the British newspaper The Telegraph while promoting his new film, "Trust," which opened July 8. "Sex sells, and unfortunately, there's this inbuilt hypocrisy in our society: We're always talking about how inappropriate it is to see an older man with a very young girl, but at the same time, all our advertising is based on that," he said.
He asserted that "both here and in the UK, we have this real emphasis on how important it is to look young and sexual, so that's the message we're sending our girls. Look at the biggest pop stars around at the moment. Everything they do is about sex."
Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Rihanna? Check, check and check.
At the most extreme edge of all this mediated sexuality is sexual violence. Schwimmer said his new passion is inspired by his relationship with two women, both child sexual abuse victims and one a later date-rape victim, which led him to take a position as a director with the Santa Monica Rape Treatment Center in Los Angeles. Schwimmer also may be growing more concerned as a new husband and father of a baby girl.
But Schwimmer's new film raises as many questions as it asks. It has a moralistic plot that bemoans our sexualized culture. It centers on the gradual Internet seduction and rape of a 14-year-old girl whose unwitting father, in an ironic twist, is working on a seductive advertising campaign at the time. (Think Brooke Shields for Calvin Klein.) The assailant portrays himself online as 16, but by the time he meets his teenaged prey, she knows he's more like 40.
The problem comes when the actress playing the rape victim is 14, just like the character. Schwimmer admitted in his Telegraph interview that it was tough on the young actress, Liana Liberato. "It was extremely difficult to film and so important not to do anything gratuitous. I know that it was pushing the boundaries just to have Liana come out in her lingerie, and I made sure that there was modesty lining on the underwear and that the scene was done tastefully and respectfully with regards to her and her body." He deliberately put that scene at the end of the filming schedule and insisted there was "no one in the room who didn't have to be there."
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