LOS ANGELES – The 2 stars of the 1968 movie “Romeo and Juliet” sued Paramount Photos on Tuesday for greater than $500 million over a nude scene within the movie after they had been youngsters.
Olivia Hussey, then 15, now 71, and Leonard Whiting, then 16, now 72, filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles County Superior Court docket alleging sexual assault, sexual harassment and fraud.
Director Franco Zeffirelli, who died in 2019, initially informed the 2 that they might put on flesh-colored underwear within the bed room scene, which was shot within the ultimate days of filming, the lawsuit mentioned.
However on the morning of the shoot, Zeffirelli informed Whiting, who performed Romeo, and Hussey, who performed Juliet, that they might put on solely physique make-up, whereas assuring them that the digicam could be positioned in order to not present nudity. the go well with.
Nevertheless, they had been filmed bare with out their data, in violation of California and federal legal guidelines towards obscenity and baby exploitation, the lawsuit alleges.
Zeffirelli informed them they needed to go nude “or the image would fail” and their careers could be broken, the lawsuit alleges. The actors “felt that they had no selection however to carry out bare with physique make-up as required”.
Throughout the scene, Whiting’s naked backside and Hussey’s naked chest are briefly proven.
The movie and its theme track had been enormous hits on the time and have been proven to generations of highschool college students finding out Shakespeare’s play.
The lawsuit alleges that Hussey and Whiting suffered many years of emotional injury and psychological anguish, and that every had careers that didn’t mirror the movie’s success.
It says the actors are entitled to greater than $500 million in damages, given the struggling and income the movie has generated since its launch.
An electronic mail in search of remark from representatives of Paramount was not instantly returned.
The go well with was filed below a California regulation that quickly suspends the statute of limitations for baby sexual abuse, which has led to quite a few new lawsuits and the revival of many others that had been beforehand dismissed.
Hussey defended the scene a 2018 interview with Selectionwhich first reported the lawsuit on the movie’s fiftieth anniversary.
“No one my age had achieved it earlier than,” he mentioned, including that Zeffirelli shot it tastefully. “It was mandatory for the movie.”
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