I just hope he realizes that the show that made him famous is part of the oversexualization of our culture and children.
Schwimmer’s new directorial project – a feature film called Trust, starring Clive Owen – is as far from “feel good” as it’s possible to be, focusing as it does on a family’s attempts to come to terms with the rape of their daughter by an internet paedophile. Woven into the narrative are deeper questions about the sexualisation of young girls in modern society (Owen, an advertising executive, is working on a provocative campaign at the time of his daughter’s rape) – questions Schwimmer himself can’t answer.
“All I know is that the sexualisation of young kids to sell products has got much worse since I was a teenager,” he explains – and it’s odd to hear that voice sound intelligent and alert, without Ross’s sluggish overtones.
“Remember the big hoopla over Brooke Shields and her Calvin Klein advert? It almost seems humorous now that there would be such an uproar when you consider what’s around today. I take a shot at that in the film: I want to show that Clive’s character feels culpable about the climate he’s contributing to.”
The problem, he insists, is that motivation from either the public or the government to keep things in check simply isn’t there. “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. Plus, 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.”