Real/Reel Impact: Gone Baby Gone, Withdrawn from UK Release

September 13, 2007–Gone Baby Gone, the directorial debut of actor-star Ben Affleck, which was to be be released in the UK December 28, will be shelved due to similar real-life issue: the disappearance of a young girl named Madeleine McCann. According to reports, Buena Vista International has postponed it indefinitely.

Madeline O’Brien, who plays the missing girl in Gone Baby Gone, bears a close resemblance to Madeleine McCann, who disappeared in Portugal on May 3.

Distributor said they don’t want to release the movie if it is going to touch a nerve or inflame anybody’s sensitivities. Buena Vista and its subsidiary Miramax, which will release the film in the U.S., said they were sensitive to the depth of feeling surrounding the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. “We have been closely following the case and have decided to delay the release of the film in the UK,” a statement said.

The organizers of next month’s London Film Festival have cancelled a gala screening of Gone Baby Gone October 26, which was to be attended by Ben Affleck. Sandra Hebron, the festival’s artistic director, said she supported the distributor’s decision to withdraw the film.

Gone Baby Gone was based on a 1998 novel by Dennis Lehane and was filmed last year, before Madeleine’s disappearance, the film companies said.

Ben Affleck directed the film, which stars his brother Casey Affleck, Morgan Freeman, Ed Harris, and Amy Madigan.

Speaking at the recent Deauville Film Festival in France, Affleck said he had been made “acutely aware of the situation” regarding Madeleine McCann. “We have a greater concern for that than the release of our film, which is just a commercial matter, whereas this is a matter of life and death,” he said.

The film follows two Boston private detectives who are called in to assist a police investigation into a missing child.