Stars Defend Sex in Sundance Films

ABC News Blogs
Stars Defend Sex in Sundance Films

View photo

Stars Defend Sex in Sundance Films (ABC News)

PARK CITY, Utah - If there's a touchstone for this year's Sundance Film Festival, it's sex.

The Sutherland Institute, a conservative group in Utah, has proposed that state funding for the almost 30-year-old film festival be cut on the grounds that its content is at odds with Utah's family values. Irking the institute: "Two Mothers," about mothers who have affairs with each other's teenage sons; "Lovelace," the biopic about porn star Linda Lovelace; and "Don Jon's Addiction," a romantic comedy about a porn addict.

"What would you call a film festival airing movies that explore the lives of porn stars, adulterous relationships between mothers and their friends' children, and teenagers competing to lose their virginity?" Derek Monson, director of public policy for Sutherland, wrote in a blog post. "Many Utahans' values would lead them to call this 'obscenity' or 'pornography,' but to the state of Utah, evidently it is simply 'economic activity.'"

Sundance 2013: The 5 Best Quotes

At a press conference Thursday, Sundance founder Robert Redford said the annual film festival brings in about $80 million for the local economy. "Sometimes the narrowest mind barks the loudest, and we've over time come to ignore it," he said. "It's a free country and maybe they should look at the Constitution."

Many of the stars of the films being debated agree. Naomi Watts, who stars in "Two Mothers" with Robin Wright, said what drew her to the film was not the salacious nature of her character's relationship - though sex scenes are a big part of the movie - but the fact that the movie centers on two strong women who aren't at each others throats, something you don't see often in Hollywood.

"I was drawn to this material right away because of the complex women," she told ABC News Now's "Popcorn With Peter Travers." "They're still bonded and united and they forgive each other. If two women are in a movie together, they're usually against each other. I loved that we got to explore these two women that are beautiful."

Sundance 2013: 10 Things to Watch and Why It Still Matters

Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who directed and stars in "Don Jon's Addiction," said he used porn addiction as a vehicle to talk about intimacy. His character watches online porn because he struggles to connect with real women, namely his latest crush, played by Scarlett Johansson.

"I thought a love story with a guy who watches too much porn and a girl who watches too many romantic comedies would make a funny movie," he said. "That's the case in a lot of relationships. People aren't on the same page with each other. It's a problem. It's no way to live life. It's a recipe for unhappiness."

Tony Danza, who plays Gordon-Levitt's father in the film, said porn is why parents should want their kids to watch this movie.

Octavia Spencer on 'Fruitvale' and Life After Oscar

"I think it's a picture that a lot of fathers and mothers might want their kids to see," he said. "Being the father of daughters, I worry about who's going to be marrying my daughter? And are they trying to live up to something?"

And if morality's an issue, Gordon-Levitt said he thinks traditional Hollywood rom-coms should be reexamined.

"If you want to talk about an immoral movie, those are the movies that are just blindly reinforcing these cliches of love at first site, first kiss … get married and ride off together into the sunset," he said. "It's systematically ruining people's lives."

FULL COVERAGE: The 2013 Awards Season

View Comments (105)

Recommended for You

  • 'Home' Movie Review

    Dreamworks’ newest animated feature, "Home," isn’t exactly a world-beater, but it is does revolve around a world invasion. The Boov are intergalactic nomads, who look like the Scrubbing Bubbles and "Despicable Me"’s Minions procreated. The silly Boov leader, Captain Smek, voiced by Steve Martin,…

    Good Morning America41 mins ago
  • Germanwings Co-Pilot Andreas Lubitz Never Submitted Sick Note, Airline Says

    Germanwings said in a statement today that they never received a sick note for co-pilot Andreas Lubitz that the senior prosecutor in Dusseldorf announced they had found torn up in his apartment. Get real-time updates as this story unfolds.

    Good Morning America41 mins ago
  • #FoundBunny: Lost Stuffed Animal Bunny Goes on Adventures at Canadian Museum

    A lost stuffed animal bunny left behind at the Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History in Canada has been having "fun adventures" -- with the staff documenting the bunny's exploits on Twitter in the hopes of finding its owner. The bunny was discovered in the lost-in-found box at the front desk --…

    Good Morning America
  • Peter Dinklage Accidentally Reveals Major 'Game of Thrones' Spoiler

    During an interview with Popsugar, Dinklage was asked if he had any questions for "GOT" writer George R. R. Martin. "Do I die?" Dinklage said.

    Good Morning America
  • 'Get Hard' Movie Review

    Kevin Hart and Will Ferrell are two of the funniest people on the planet. Ferrell plays James, a wealthy banker who lives in a wealthy Los Angeles neighborhood and is engaged to a gorgeous, spoiled woman (Alison Brie of “Community”) who’s also his boss’ daughter.

    Good Morning America
  • NYC Building Fire: 2 Unaccounted for, 22 People Injured in Explosion

    A New York Police Department official identified one of those unaccounted for as Nicholas Figueroa, 23. Earlier, city officials had said 25 were injured. Figueroa's father, Nick Figueroa, told ABC News his son went to lunch in a restaurant at the bottom of the building that caught fire. Neal…

    Good Morning America
  • School Tells 'Tiny' Girl Her Body Mass Index is Too High

    A Missouri mother is livid after her daughter came home from elementary school with a note saying that her body mass index was too high despite her lean frame. "She goes, 'Does this mean I'm fat?' and I said, 'No, this does not mean you are fat,'" Amanda Moss, of Belton, Missouri, told KMBC, ABC's…

    Good Morning America
  • 'Downton Abbey' Executive Producer Says a Movie Could Happen

    While "Downton Abbey" will end after its sixth season, its executive producer has left the door slightly open for a feature film based on the popular period drama. Gareth Neame hinted to The Hollywood Reporter that he and series creator Julian Fellowes would be interested in bringing the show to…

    Good Morning America
  • 93-Year-Old Betty White Reveals Her Biggest Regret

    Betty White's biggest regret in life involved her late husband Allen Ludden, who died from stomach cancer in 1981. White, 93, spoke to Oprah Winfrey for Sunday's "Oprah: Where Are They Now?" and said that her major regret was not marrying her husband a year earlier.

    Good Morning America
  • California Hills Are Alive With Mystery Piano’s Music

    A melodic mystery has been solved in Southern California.A piano perched on a mountain in Santa Monica sparked a chorus of social media photos from baffled hikers because the sound seemed to appear out of nowhere.San Diego's SeaWorld Reopens Sea Lion ShowIt turned out that a group of friends took…

    Good Morning America
  • Drea De Matteo's Apartment Among Those Destroyed in the NYC Fire

    Drea De Matteo's New York home was among those destroyed by a building explosion and fire that also left two dozen people injured and two unaccounted for, the actress said. The seven-alarm fire in New York City's East Village was reported at 3:17 p.m. Thursday and caused 25 injuries, including 20…

    Good Morning America
  • Duchess Kate Middleton Makes Last Public Appearance Before Maternity Leave

    While touring the Stephen Lawrence Centre, a community and social research center, William reportedly told well-wishers it would be "not long now" before the birth of the couple’s second child, reports the U.K.’s The Telegraph.

    Good Morning America
  • Zooey Deschanel Reveals the Downsides of Pregnancy

    In January, a rep for Deschanel, 35, confirmed that not only was the "New Girl" star expecting a baby with producer Jacob Pechenik, but also, the couple had gotten engaged. Now, eagerly awaiting the birth, Deschanel and said they're also looking forward to finding out the baby's gender.

    Good Morning America
  • Bruce Jenner Breaks Down Because Kris Replaced Him in Living Will

    In the one-minute clip, obtained by People magazine, Kris Jenner, 59, is signing papers before she goes under sedation for a medical procedure. She then says that Bruce Jenner has been the executor on her living will for more than 20 years, the length of the couple's marriage. Bruce Jenner calls…

    Good Morning America
  • 'Home' Star Rihanna Wants Movie to Empower Girls

    Now, it's her voice -- her speaking voice, not her singing voice -- that's front and center in the new animated movie "Home," which opens in theaters today. In "Home," Rihanna voices a resourceful and brave little girl named Tip who becomes separated from her mom, voiced by Jennifer Lopez, when…

    Good Morning America
  • Little Big Town Responds to Controversy About New Song 'Girl Crush'

    An Idaho radio station morning show reportedly has pulled Little Big Town’s new song, "Girl Crush," because of complaints over the provocative lyrics, but the singer says the song is being misunderstood. “But what if it were?

    Good Morning America
  • Fashion-Forward Prom Dresses Spark Parenting Debate

    Crop tops and cut-out dresses are the hottest trend on the red carpet but are they too much for high school proms? Teenage sisters Camille and Claire Brule of Davidson, North Carolina, say they actually feel better wearing crop tops. The girls' mother, Jennifer Brule, says she is fine with her…

    Good Morning America