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Romeo and Juliet child stars sue film company for $500 million over nude scene

Romeo and Juliet child stars sue film company for $500 million over nude scene

Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting have filed a lawsuit citing sexual exploitation over a nude scene in the 1968 classic.

Two Romeo and Juliet actors are suing Paramount for USD$500 million (AUD 741.5m or £417m) over nude scenes in the 1968 film.

Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting, who were minors while filming Franco Zeffirelli’s adaptation, have filed a lawsuit against the movie studio in Santa Monica Superior Court.

They're citing sexual exploitation over a nude scene in the Academy Award-nominated film, as per Variety.

According to the lawsuit, Hussey, who was 15 at the time and Whiting, who was 16, claim the late Zeffirelli had promised them they would not have to film naked sequences before production commenced.

Paramount Pictures

Instead, he said flesh-colored garments would be used during the love scenes.

But in the final days of the shoot, the two actors allege the director pressured them to perform nude, 'or the picture would fail'.

The lawsuit claims that the filmmaker assured the actors that nude images would not be released as he showed them where the camera angles would be positioned.

However, the final edit showed Hussey’s bare breasts and Whiting’s rear without consent.

Tony Marinozzi, a business manager for the two actors, told Variety: “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.”

The lawsuit added that the pair had suffered ‘mental anguish and emotional distress’ after the experience.

Paramount Pictures

As a result, they had lost out on job opportunities, with damages believed to be around USD $500 million.

Solomon Gresen, a lawyer for the pair, also told the outlet that they were ‘young naive children in the '60s who had no understanding of what was about to hit them’.

He added: “All of a sudden they were famous at a level they never expected, and in addition they were violated in a way they didn’t know how to deal with.”

In a 2018 interview with The Guardian, Hussey admitted that Zeffirelli would call her ‘Boobs O’Mina’ on set and later confessed she was the ‘unrequited love of his life’.

Hussey added that she believes the MeToo Movement is ‘fantastic’ before adding: "We’ve all been harassed in one way or another."

However, in an interview in the same year, she claimed the nudity was 'needed for the film' and 'wasn't a big deal'.

UNILAD has approached Paramount for comment.

Featured Image Credit: Paramount Pictures

Topics: Film and TV, News