Stars of 1968 adaptation of Romeo and Juliet sue company for $500 million for sexual abuse
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Stars of a 1968 production of Romeo and Juliet are to sue production company Paramount Pictures for alleged sexual abuse, alleged sexual harassment and alleged fraud. The claim comes against a nude scene that two actors were involved in during the film.
Olivia Hussey, a British actress who was 15 at the time of the production and is now 71, and Leonard Whitting who is now 72 and was 16 at the time of the film have filed the suit.
The pair claim that director Frank Zeffirelli, who died back in 2019, asked them to wear nude coloured underwear for a scene. However, on the morning of the shoot, this allegedly changed and Zeffirelli said that only body make-up would be used.
The actors claim they were assured that a camera angle would be used that would show no nudity. However, the film contains brief scenes of Hussey’s bare breasts and Whitting’s bare buttocks.
According to Variety, the pair filed the lawsuit on December 30. Paramount Pictures is yet to respond to the suit. Zeffirelli allegedly told the pair that their nudity was key to the film’s success and that the picture would “fail” if they weren’t nude.
Tony Marinozzi, who is the agent of both actors, spoke to Variety. He said: “What they were told and what went on were two different things. They trusted Franco.
“At 16, as actors, they took his lead that he would not violate that trust they had. Franco was their friend, and frankly, at 16, what do they do? There are no options. There was no #MeToo.”