What the hell has actress Kim Novak been smoking? She recently came under fire this past January for using a full-page trade ad to say that hearing the love song from her film Vertigo used in this year’s Oscars champ The Artist was akin to being raped. Raped. Yes, you read that right. Her ad stated: “I want to report a rape. I feel as if my body — or, at least my body of work — has been violated by the movie, The Artist.”
The Artist director Michel Hazanavicius responded via The Hollywood Reporter to her claims in his usually classy way by stating: “The Artist was made as a love letter to cinema, and grew out of my (and all of my cast and crew’s) admiration and respect for movies throughout history. It was inspired by the work of Hitchcock, Lang, Ford, Lubitsch, Murnau and Wilder. I love Bernard Herrmann and his music has been used in many different films and I’m very pleased to have it in mine. I respect Kim Novak greatly and I’m sorry to hear she disagrees.”
The director further reiterated to CNN that he indeed had permission to use Bernard Herrmann’s score in his film: “I used music from another movie, but it’s not illegal. We paid for that, we asked for that and we had the permission to do it. For me there is no real controversy… I feel sorry for her, but there’s a lot of movies with music from other movies, directors do that all the time and I’m not sure it’s a big deal.”
No Michel, it’s really not a big deal, and it’s done all the time, so – why am I bringing this all up now? Because I’m totally flabbergasted by Kim’s recent comments to the Associated Press defending her previous ones when people called foul and said she was inappropriate – she said this in her defense:
“When I said it was like a rape, that was how it felt to me. I had experienced in my youth being raped, and so I identified with a real act that had been done to me. I didn’t use that word lightly. I had been raped as a child. It was a rape I never told about, so when I experienced this one, I felt the need to express it.”
Um… Okay… How exactly does being raped in your past – a disgusting experience that many women unfortunately have gone through, myself included – mean that you get to say hearing music from an old film used in a new film is comparable to being forcibly sexually assaulted?
I’m scratching my head about this one. I look at that comment just like I look at people who are in minority groups who think it’s okay to use racial or homosexual slurs because they’re a member of the group they’re degrading – it’s bullshit. It’s hypocritical of people to do that, and to me it’s just odd that Novak thinks she’s justified because of her past experience. And frankly, as someone who’s experienced the same thing, it’s insulting.
Who am I to judge, though? Everyone who has been assaulted handles the trauma in different ways. It’s not my place to say that her feelings are wrong or right – but I just can’t get my head around this one. It’s not like she’s Johnny Depp or Kristen Stewart, who by all accounts have never experienced assault, and who made boneheaded comments like Kim’s and had to apologize afterwards. It’s just really odd to me that someone who actually has gone through the terror and helplessness you feel during a rape would think that hearing a “ripped off” song is any way comparable to that experience.
Then again, I’m not quite sure Kim’s got the grasp on reality I’m giving her credit for, considering she also had this to say about her performance in Vertigo:
“I was an original… I didn’t give a performance that was prepared for in a Hollywood or theatrical sense. I didn’t study a style of acting. I gave a performance that was from my gut. I’ve always just been who I am. That doesn’t go out of style because it’s real. It’s not based on the fads or fashions of today.”
Yeah. Honey, there’s literally TONS of actors out there who’ve found incredible success with no formal training. And maybe I’m about to incur the wrath of a million Novak fans, but I didn’t find her performance in Vertigo all that “groundbreaking” – she was just the girl (or I guess, girls) in the movie playing alongside the real STAR of that film, Jimmy Stewart. She’s never stuck out to me as an actress, and I know that many people will disagree, but I’ve always found her kind of flat.
All of that aside (back to the point, Vanessa!), I just don’t get it. I don’t get what she’s thinking with those stupid “rape” comments, and I don’t think the fact that she was a victim in any way makes it okay for her to have said that.
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