“Romeo & Juliet” Child Stars Are Suing Paramount Over Nude Scene

In the 1960s, movie director Franco Zeffirelli solid two teens to participate in the guide roles in his movie adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet.

The film opened in theaters in October 1968, with 17-calendar year-previous Leonard Whiting and 15-12 months-old Olivia Hussey dazzling audiences as the notorious star-crossed fans.

Romeo & Juliet received vital acclaim and acquired four Academy Award nominations — including Greatest Photograph and Greatest Director — and decades later, learners across The usa had been still getting revealed the adaptation in their literature classes.

Nonetheless, the movie is also the topic of intense controversy owing to the teenager actors’ nude bedroom scene that features shots of Whiting’s buttocks and Hussey’s bare breasts.

With equally stars beneath the age of 18 during filming, they had been minors all through the movie’s shoot. And on Friday, they filed a lawsuit towards its studio in Los Angeles.

Hussey and Whiting are now in their 70s and have accused Paramount of sexually exploiting them and distributing nude pictures of adolescent youngsters, in accordance to Selection.

The accommodate alleges that Zeffirelli, who died in 2019, advised each actors that there would be no nudity in his film and that they would be donning flesh-colored underwear in the really like scene.

However, towards the finish of filming, the actors allege in the lawsuit that Zeffirelli modified his head and encouraged them to act the scene out bare — telling them “the photo would fail” if they didn’t.

In accordance to the lawsuit obtained by Wide variety, Hussey and Whiting assert that the director promised that irrespective of them filming the scene naked there would be no nudity in the closing lower of the movie thanks to the angling of the digicam.

However, the actors allege in the accommodate that the last cut of the film provided nude scenes with no their expertise.

Tony Marinozzi, the small business manager for both of those stars, advised Wide variety: “What they had been told and what went on ended up two different points. They reliable Franco. At 16, as actors, they took his guide that he would not violate that belief they experienced.”

“Franco was their buddy, and frankly, at 16, what do they do? There are no possibilities. There was no #MeToo,” Marinozzi went on.

Their attorney, Solomon Gresen, included to Range: “Nude photos of minors are illegal and shouldn’t be exhibited. These were being extremely younger naive youngsters in the ’60s who experienced no knowing of what was about to strike them. All of a unexpected they ended up popular at a stage they by no means predicted, and in addition they have been violated in a way they didn’t know how to offer with.”

Hussey and Whiting are in search of damages “believed to be in the excess of $500 million,” with the complaint alleging that they endured mental anguish and psychological distress because of to this exploitation and that it triggered them to drop out on other task prospects.

In a 2018 job interview with Wide range, Hussey said that the nudity “was desired for the film” and that “nobody [her] age experienced done that just before.”

“We each arrived from drama educational facilities and when you operate, you take your perform quite seriously,” Hussey included.

In a separate interview with Fox Information, Hussey claimed that nudity was a lot more prevalent in European films at the time, but regarded as “taboo” in The united states.

“It was accomplished very tastefully,” she reported. “And in Europe, it was very distinct. In America, it was really taboo. But in Europe, a lot of the films had nudity.”

“Nobody really considered a great deal of it,” Hussey went on. “But it was just the simple fact that I was 16 that got a lot of publicity. … The large crew we worked with was whittled down to only the quite fundamental folks, a handful of people today. It was accomplished afterwards in the day when it wasn’t occupied. It was a closed established.”

“It wasn’t that massive of a deal,” she insisted. “And Leonard wasn’t shy at all! In the middle of capturing, I just absolutely forgot I didn’t have clothing on.”

Representatives for Paramount did not straight away return a request for remark from BuzzFeed News.

At the time news of the actors’ lawsuit broke, lots of folks who had witnessed the movie recalled their shock at the nudity when they to start with watched it as they threw their aid driving Hussey and Whiting’s circumstance.

“Just because it was a diverse time doesn’t make it right,” one particular human being commented on a TikTok online video outlining the go well with. Another person else mentioned: “Good. I don’t forget observing this in English course and remaining stunned by the nudity.”

Another wrote: “I assume they are worthy of to win this scenario. I was stunned when I saw this in course in 9th grade.”

Some also shared their hope that other actors who were being exploited by the field even though underage would adhere to go well with. A person remark browse: “I constantly puzzled if that was even lawful considering that they had been minors. I’m so happy they’re accomplishing this, I hope it sets a precedent.”

And many produced certain reference to Brooke Shields, who was 12 when she was filmed nude whilst participating in a baby prostitute in the 1978 movie Very Toddler prior to starring in the really controversial film Blue Lagoon.

“brooke shields ought to do this for fairly child and blue lagoon,” a TikTok user wrote. An individual else echoed: “When I was a child I failed to know they ended up also young ones doing this movie SMH exact fr Brooke Shields.”

Just past month, Shields and her Blue Lagoon costar Christopher Atkins reunited on her podcast, wherever they admitted that the film would never ever get built currently.

Shields was 14 decades outdated at the time of filming and she spends a substantial amount of money of the movie with just her hair masking her breasts, and an grownup human body double was made use of when her character was exposed.

In actuality, Shields and Atkins’s nudity was viewed as so integral to the script that as shortly as they arrived on spot, they experienced to lie bare in makeshift huts with out a ceiling in buy to get an all-about tan.

Kenneth Proto

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