“Cuties” Director Saw 650 Girls Dance Provocatively in Auditions for Lead Role

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French Director Sylvain de Zangroniz, who goes by the moniker “Zangro,” says 650 girls auditioned (and presumably danced provocatively for the film’s creators) for the lead role in the movie “Cuties” before they cast 11-year-old Fathia Youssouf Abdillahi in the lead role.

The French-language movie follows an 11-year-old Muslim girl as she breaks with her family’s traditions to join a “twerking” crew in the hopes of finding stardom through a local dance contest.

Netflix picked the movie up and is premiering it in September. That decision has created a huge backlash, as many in the U.S. believe the film sexualizes children.

“The casting process was a saga,” Zangro told Variety back in January. “We spent over six months and saw 650 candidates and it was only in the very last hour of the last day that we found Fathia. It was a really emotional moment.”

Netflix apologized for the artwork it has run promoting the movie, but not for the decision to air it. Artwork shared by writer Claire Heuchan and others on Twitter showed the film’s all-child cast in skimpy uniforms striking suggestive poses.

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