February 5, 2023

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Romeo and Juliet, Zeffirelli actors suing Paramount

Olivia Hussey And the Leonard WhitingActors who played teenage lovers Romeo and Juliet in the film adaptation Frank Zeffirelli In 1968, they sued Paramount Pictures for an unauthorized nude scene. Hussey and Whiting, who were 15 and 16 years old respectively during filming, each received a Golden Globe Award for their performances in the film.

Actors in 2018 on the occasion of the restoration of the film (AFP)

Now in their 70s, the two actors filed a lawsuit last week in Santa Monica, California, against Paramount, which produced the film, for sexually exploiting them when they were minors, with images of their buttocks and breasts. According to the quote, which was consulted by the Italian director Afp Franco Zeffirelli, who died in 2019They vehemently insisted that they film the scene or the movie would “fail”, even though they were originally supposed to act in flesh-colored underwear. Those responsible for the film are accused of “filming scenes of minors naked or semi-nude without their consent, in violation of the law.” They are seeking damages “believed to exceed $500 million.”

For this reason, the two actors, who allegedly suffered from anxiety and emotional turmoil in more than fifty years after the film, sought compensation in the amount of several hundred million dollars. According to their attorney, Solomon Greesen, the damage they have sustained has persisted over the years, especially with the release of a new version of the film. At the moment Paramount has not commented on the news, while the specialist magazine variety He noted that, in 2018, Olivia Hussey defended the abusive scene during an interview. “It was essential to the movie,” the actress commented.

The movie, currently available on Prime Video, is based on the works of William Shakespeare. Thanks to his work adapting the poet’s works, Zeffirelli was among the very few Italian artists to be awarded the title of Sir from Queen Elizabeth. The film was a massive international success, grossing nearly $40 million in the US alone, but already upon its release, it was embroiled in controversy due to the nude scene between the two leads and their young age. In the United States, the film received an A adult rating, while in Italy Zeffirelli had to obtain special permission from the censorship. The heroine herself was forbidden to watch because of the scene she did and the actress commented how she could not have seen something that “I see in the mirror every day”.

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