February 4, 2023

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Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting’s 1968 Romeo and Juliet accuse studio of sexual assault

Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting, stars of the 1968 drama “Romeo and Juliet” directed by Frank Zeffirelli, are suing Paramount Pictures. Hussey and Whiting, who played the title characters’ iconic duo, accused the producers and directors of sexually exploiting them and distributing pictures of underage, nude actors.

Romeo and Juliet vs. Paramount Pictures

Based on William Shakespeare’s famous play Romeo and Juliet which premiered in 1968. Franco Zeffirelli’s film was a huge hit and won two Oscars (out of four nominations). However, the production caused controversy with a bedroom scene where Hussie’s white buttocks and breasts were visible.

Hussey, 71, and Whiting, 72, filed the lawsuit in Santa Monica Superior Court on Friday. In it we read that Zeffirelli (who died in 2019) assured the two actors that he would not show them naked in the film, and in the bedroom scene they would wear flesh-colored underwear. But at the end of filming, the director allegedly told them to pose nude, or else “the movie would fail”. Hussey was 15 and Whiting was 16.

The actors claim that Zeffirelli showed them what would be in the frame and made sure that negligence was not depicted and was not included in the film. The actors accuse the director of dishonesty and claim that they were filmed naked without their knowledge.

They heard one thing and something completely different happened. They trusted Franco. As 16-year-old actors, they thought he wouldn’t abuse their confidence. was their friend. Besides, at their age, what can they do? They had no other choice. There was no #MeToo at the timecommented Tony Marinuzzi, casting director.

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Hussey and Whiting want $500 million

The lawsuit states that Hussey and Whiting incurred the psychological cost of the manager’s decision and closed the door on their further careers. Despite the success of the film, none of them subsequently achieved great success in cinema. The actors are asking for $500 million in damages.

Nude photos of minors are illegal and should not be distributedsaid Solomon Greesen, the actors’ attorney. They were two naive kids in the sixties who didn’t understand what awaited them. They suddenly became famous on a scale they had never experienced before. Furthermore, they were used in a way they couldn’t handle.

The suit takes advantage of a California law that temporarily suspended the statute of limitations for sexual assault cases against minors.

Interestingly, in a 2018 interview with Variety, Hussey defended the nude scene. No one my age has ever done that beforeShe admitted, claiming that Zeffirelli shot the scene “tastefully”. She was required in the movieshe added. In an interview with Fox News in the same year, the actress said that the scene had the status of a taboo in America, but nudity was popular in European cinema in those years. It was nothing like that. Leonard wasn’t shy at all. While filming, I completely forgot that we weren’t wearing clothes.