Children acting in R-rated movies

An ad for the movie “Role Models” made me think about this. The movie is rated R. There’s at least one child of maybe 10 or 12 in the movie. How is it you must be protected from R-rated material such as bad language and sexual content until you’re 17 but you can act in and around that material at any age?

Do they do something to “protect” those minors? Are the kids allowed to go see their own movies?

Wasn’t there some controversy over a movie (I don’t recall it unfortunately), where an under age girl was not only nude but having oral sex with another under age girl? Anyone recall the movie I’m talking about?

It was an independent film, possibly European…

Let me know when you find the name. :wink:

You do know that not every scene in an R-rated movie is inappropriate for a youngster, and even if it looks as if the kid is in the middle of the naughtyness, the raunch could have been added in post-production, right?

I also do not believe there is any implied right for an actor to view a film he or she had worked on.

There is no law against children seeing R-rated movies.

Child actors are routinely kept separated from the filming of content that may be disturbing to them, up to and including shooting their parts of a scene at a different time from the rest of it. But it’s not like there’s a big book of rules about how scenes with children in them must be filmed.

The R-rating is an advisory, not a law.


Unfortunately I can’t think of it for the life of me. I do recall my mother talking to me about it. This must have been a good 6 years back. And the girls in question weren’t 17 and teh hot. They were like 11 or something.

I’ve wondered about the parents of those kids though—I can’t imagine a young child appearing in a movie and then not begging his parents to let him see the movie he was in. Do the parents of kids in movies like 40 year old virgin let them see the movie?

Entertainment Weekly actually mentioned this in their preview for the movie:,,20236263_20237582_20237068,00.html

Wasn’t one of the teenagers in American Beauty under 18?

I don’t believe I said that I thought it was a law. But I do know that in some parts of the world kids get turned away if they’re under age. And that there’s a more-or-less general consensus that kids shouldn’t be exposed to certain things. It’s actually not my personal opinion. I mean, I don’t think hearing “bad language” harms kids. They don’t hear anything in movies that they don’t pick up in school.

There may indeed be a general consensus that children shouldn’t be exposed to such things, but that doesn’t apply to the specific case of a parent and their actor child. Any parent can decide to expose their children to such things, and there’s no law saying they can’t. Your question used the rhetorical “you” for both cases as if to equate them when they are vastly different.

There’s also a selection bias at work. You don’t know about the acting families that decided not to take parts acting in movies because the movies were R-rated.

Indeed, the girl who played Juliet in the Zeferelli movie was not allowed to go to the premiere; in essence she was forbidden to view her own nudity.

FWIW, here’s a scene (warning, language) from the awesome “Bad Santa” where Billy Bob clearly yells “Are you fucking with me” at the kid in the car with him. The actor was no more than 10 at the time according to imdb. Tough to see how they could have done this in post.

there was a lot of noise way back when Brooke Shields made her film debut in Pretty Baby…she was 13, I believe and the film’s plot revolved around her growing up in a whorehouse and getting her virginity auctioned off.

Not true, Romeo & Juliet was rated G when it came out and later rerated PG.

Sounds like Tender Cousins.


Don’t know which movie you’re speaking of, but I watched Kids recently and I too was wondering about the legality of the (seemingly very young) kids being naked and having sex (acting) in the movie. I suppose there are no laws prohibiting child actors from appearing nude in movies?

There are lots of kids in shows who have naughtiness around them - Bad Santa was a good one to mention, muldoonthief.

Anyone seen the TV show Weeds? There’s 11 year-old kids smoking weed in there. I’m sure it wasn’t real weed, but they were still smoking something. Even if what they were smoking was natural and herbal (we remember the article about William B. Davis, right?), you’re still teaching kids the act of smoking.

Zsofia’s observation is true of the London premiere.

Hussey was 17 and the film would have been an ‘X’ certficate (18 and over) thus denying her a seat in the auditorium.