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Was One of the Babies in Babies Working Illegally?

Shocker: The AP reports that one of the babies in Babies — a feature-length documentary about babies, in theaters tomorrow* — may not have been legally cleared to appear in the movie. The doc tracks four babies from birth through their first birthdays, and features a baby each from Namibia, Tokyo, Mongolia, and San Francisco. It’s that last baby that’s causing all the problems: According to California state law, in order to shoot a movie, babies need a doctor's note, legal permits, supervision from a nurse and a studio teacher, and must be at least 15 days old. Uh-oh!

David Gurley from the California labor commissioner's office says the filmmakers behind Babies could be the focus of an investigation if a complaint is made, and would be subject to a fine of $50 to $5,000 and possible exclusion from future California shooting permits if found guilty. Just something to think about — along with, potentially, a lot of other things in your life — before you plop down $12 to see Babies. UPDATE: Focus Features, which is distributing the film, sends us this statement from company CEO James Schamus: "Although Focus was not involved in the actual filming of Babies, we have spoken at length with the filmmakers and with Hattie’s family, as well as with labor law experts, and we can state categorically that the Associated Press’s irresponsible conjectures and speculations about California’s child labor laws and their application to the film are just that." Take that, baby haters!

*By the way, for the definitive Babies critique, see this Village Voice review from Vulture’s Dan Kois.

'Babies' may have violated child labor laws [AP]

Photo: Focus Features