1968 Romeo and Juliet stars Sue for Child Abuse for Nudity

Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting, who are teenagers brought Shakespeare in the life of Franco Zeffirelli’s 1968 film Romeo and Juliet, sued Paramount for child abuse over the film’s nudity. as different reported, they are seeking damages “believed to be in excess of $500 million.”

Whiting was 16 when she appeared in the film, and Hussey started out at 15 but turned 16 during production. For the famous, “It was the nightingale, and not the lark,” scene, Zeffirelli, who died in 2019, filmed Whiting’s butt and Hussey’s bare chest. Now in their 70s, the actors say they are assured of being naked, to be forced on the day of the shooting to expose themselves “or the Picture will fail.”

“What they were told and what happened are two different things,” said Tony Marinozzi, the business manager for the two actors. “They trusted Franco. At the age of 16, as artists, they led that he would not violate their trust. Franco was their friend, and frankly, at the age of 16, what were they doing? There are no options. No #MeToo.”

The lawsuit relies on a recent California law that temporarily opens the statute of limitations for elder sexual abuse claims. According to their lawyer, Solomon Green, “Nude pictures of minors are against the law and should not be exhibited. These were very young naive children of the ’60s who had no idea what was going to hit them. Suddenly they are famous on a level they never expected, and moreover they are violated in a way they don’t know how to deal with.

As recently as 2018, Hussey defended the nudity of Romeo and Juliet. In an interview with different, he said, “No one my age had done that before,” calling the scene beautiful and “necessary for the film.”

He added, “It’s not a big deal. And Leonard is never shy! In the middle of shooting, I just forgot I had no clothes on.” He also described Zeffirelli as a “genius. He just brings things to life. That’s why I like Franco. He always hires the most perfect person to do the role, no matter what role it is. And then he made the actor do what they felt.

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