A version of this story first appeared in the Aug. 28 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.
“Till It Happens to You,” the haunting theme song composed by Diane Warren and recorded by Lady Gaga for Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering’s campus rape documentary The Hunting Ground, still hasn’t been released as a single, though it has been generating Oscar buzz since the film premiered at Sundance in January. But the song will be heard in the coming weeks — as college students head back to school — in a powerful video PSA directed by Twilight helmer Catherine Hardwicke to raise awareness of campus sexual assault. CNN also will air the documentary in the fall, says Ziering. Hardwicke, Warren and Gaga (who has spoken about being raped at age 19 by a record producer) all donated their time for the project.
The song describes the pain and trauma of experiencing sexual assault, with a shortened version featured in Hunting Ground, which has been widely praised and was screened at the White House for staff and legislators. Unofficial audio of “Till It Happens to You” has leaked online and turned the song into a trending topic on Twitter. The video PSA, shot in black and white, casts an emotional spotlight on young women in vulnerable situations that college students will readily recognize. Production costs are being underwritten by Hunting Ground executive producers Paul Blavin and Regina K. Scully.
“The movement is important,” Warren tells THR. “The song is important — Gaga took it and made it her own.” Adds Hardwicke: “You can’t watch the documentary without screaming at the screen. We tried to capture those stories in a very visceral way and add another voice to this powerful call to action.”
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