Olivia Hussey and: Leonard Whiting had been simply youngsters after they electrified audiences in 1968.Romeo and Juliet“, the director Franco Zeffirelli. The movie was successful and was nominated for 4 Academy Awards, however it additionally sparked controversy over a bed room scene that included photographs of Whiting’s butt and Hussey’s naked breasts.
Hussey and Whiting, now of their 70s, filed a lawsuit Friday in Santa Monica Superior Court docket, alleging: Paramount of sexually exploiting them and distributing nude photographs of teenage youngsters.
The lawsuit alleges that Zeffirelli, who died in 2019 — assured each actors that there will probably be no nudity within the movie, and they’re going to put on flesh-colored underwear within the bed room scene. However within the final days of filming, the director allegedly urged them to carry out bare with physique make-up, “in any other case the image will fail.”
Hussey was 15 on the time and Whiting was 16. In line with the criticism, Zeffirelli confirmed them the place the digicam could be positioned and guaranteed them that no nudity could be photographed or printed within the movie. The swimsuit alleges that he was dishonest and that Whiting and Hussey had been really filmed bare with out their information.
“What they had been advised and what occurred had been two various things,” mentioned Tony Marinotsi, who’s the enterprise supervisor of the 2 actors. “They trusted Franco. On the age of 16, as an actor, they took his steering in order that he wouldn’t violate the belief they’d. Franco was their good friend, and truthfully, what do 16-year-olds do? There aren’t any choices. There was no #MeToo.”
In line with the criticism, Hussey and Whiting suffered psychological anguish and emotional misery within the 55 years following the movie’s launch, in addition to misplaced employment alternatives. Regardless of their breakthrough performances, Hussey and Whiting had very restricted appearing careers after Romeo and Juliet.
They’re searching for damages “believed to be in extra of $500 million.”
“Nude photographs of minors are unlawful and shouldn’t be proven,” the actors’ lawyer, Solomon Gressen, mentioned in an interview. “These had been very younger naive youngsters within the ’60s who did not perceive what was about to hit them. Abruptly they grew to become fashionable on a stage they by no means anticipated, and on high of that they had been caught in a manner they did not know the best way to deal with.”
The lawsuit relies partly on a California legislation that quickly suspended the statute of limitations on older youngster sexual abuse lawsuits. The courts noticed a flood of complaints in opposition to the Boy Scouts of America and the Catholic Church, amongst different organizations, within the days main as much as the Dec. 31 deadline.
Paramount didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.
In 2018 interview with SelectionHussey defended the naked scene.
“No person my age had finished it earlier than,” he mentioned, including that Zeffirelli shot it tastefully. “It was essential for the movie.”
In one other 2018 interview Fox InformationHe mentioned the scene was “taboo” in America, however by then nudity was frequent in European movies.
“It wasn’t that massive of a deal,” he mentioned. “And Leonard wasn’t shy in any respect. In the course of filming, I simply forgot that I had no garments.”