‘Romeo & Juliet’ Stars Sue Over Film’s Teen Nude Scene

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The 2 stars of 1968′s “Romeo and Juliet” sued Paramount Photos for greater than $500 million on Tuesday over a nude scene within the movie shot after they have been teenagers.

Olivia Hussey, then 15 and now 71, and Leonard Whiting, then 16 now 72, filed the go well with in Los Angeles County Superior Court docket alleging sexual abuse, sexual harassment and fraud.

Director Franco Zeffirelli, who died in 2019, initially instructed the 2 that they might put on flesh-colored undergarments within the bed room scene that comes late within the film and was shot on the ultimate days of filming, the go well with alleges.

However on the morning of the shoot, Zeffirelli instructed Whiting, who performed Romeo, and Hussey, who performed Juliet, that they might put on solely physique make-up, whereas nonetheless assuring them the digicam could be positioned in a method that will not present nudity, in accordance with the go well with.

But they have been filmed within the nude with out their information, in violation of California and federal legal guidelines in opposition to indecency and the exploitation of kids, the go well with says.

Zeffirelli instructed them they have to act within the nude “or the Picture would fail” and their careers could be damage, the go well with mentioned. The actors “believed they had no choice but to act in the nude in body makeup as demanded.”

Whiting’s naked buttocks and Hussey’s naked breasts are briefly proven throughout the scene.

The movie, and its theme tune, have been main hits on the time, and has been proven to generations of highschool college students learning the Shakespeare play since.

“Romeo and Juliette” film director Franco Zeffirelli, left, actors Olivia Hussey, heart, and Leonard Whiting are seen after the Parisian premiere of the movie in Paris on Sept. 25, 1968.

AP Photograph/Eustache Cardenas, File

The court docket submitting says the Hussey and Whiting have suffered emotional injury and psychological anguish for many years, and that every had careers that didn’t replicate the success of the film.

It says provided that struggling and the income introduced in by the movie since its launch, the actors are entitled to damages of greater than $500 million.

An e-mail in search of remark from representatives of Paramount was not instantly returned.

The lawsuit was filed beneath a California regulation quickly suspending the statute of limitations for baby intercourse abuse, which has led to a bunch of latest lawsuits and the revival of many others that have been beforehand dismissed.

Hussey defended the scene in a 2018 interview with Selection, which first reported the lawsuit, for the movie’s fiftieth anniversary.

“Nobody my age had done that before,” she mentioned, including that Zeffirelli shot it tastefully. “It was needed for the film.”

The Related Press doesn’t usually title individuals who say they’ve been sexually abused except they arrive ahead publicly, as Hussey and Whiting have.