The star of ''Double Jeopardy'' talks about censorship and her conservative mom

By Liane Bonin
October 21, 1999 at 04:00 AM EDT
Paramount Pictures

In ”Double Jeopardy,” hell hath no fury like a woman scammed. Falsely convicted of murdering her scheming husband, a young woman leaves jail armed with a gun and the belief that double jeopardy will protect her from serving additional time when she actually does blow her evil hubby to bits. Though the movie has been a hit with audiences, landing in the top box office spot for three of the past four weeks, the shoot-’em-up theme wasn’t so easy for star Ashley Judd to swallow. ”The first time it really came up with me was when I saw the poster,” says the 31-year-old actress. ”It said, ‘Murder isn’t always a crime,’ and I went uh-uh. It always is.”

Judd eventually came around, though she still feels the bloodthirsty tagline is a wee bit misleading. ”The point the poster is making is about double jeopardy as a legal concept, which is definitely a unique component of our constitution,” she says. ”But you can’t necessarily expect the average person who’s seeing it go by while on a bus to think about that.” In the end, Judd defends not only the film’s vigilante theme, but Hollywood’s right to create violent movies. ”To me, it’s about personal accountability,” she says. ”I don’t think you can legislate content. The point where that ends and other kinds of censorship begins is way too porous.”

But the actress may have a hard time defending her point of view at the next family reunion. Her mother, country singer Naomi Judd, recently signed on with the Appeal to Hollywood, a program started in July by William Bennett demanding that Hollywood adopt a code to limit sex and violence in the media. The elder Judd told USA Today that she asked her daughter not to star in 1996’s ”Norma Jean & Marilyn” because ”Pop and I wouldn’t watch it,” then carped, ”When Ashley gets married and becomes a parent, maybe then she will be more like Wynonna and myself… Ashley is much more liberal.”

For her part, Ashley says there’s been no mother-daughter squabble over the USA Today article. ”She called me just stricken and said she was even going to make a little appeal to the editor of the paper, because in the interview she was very lavish in her praise of my work, and of ‘Double Jeopardy’ especially,” she says. ”None of that was mentioned, and she was very aggrieved as a mother that her pride was not represented.” Here’s hoping she decides the best revenge doesn’t involve a six-shooter.

  • Movie
  • R
  • 105 minutes
  • Bruce Beresford
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