Franco Zeffirelli’s 1968 adaptation of Romeo and Juliet starred Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting. Four Academy Award nominations were made for the movie. But a specific bedroom scene featuring the key actors in their undies caused an uproar. Years later, the actors filed a legal complaint accusing Paramount, the production company, of child abuse.
According to the lawsuit, the actors assert that the late director James Franco, who passed away in 2019, told them that the movie would not contain any nudity. They assert that the director required them to act in the nude state while wearing body paint, arguing that if not, the movie would not succeed. At the time, Whiting was 16 and Hussey was 15.
The actors stated that they were photographed in this state without their consent. “What they were told and what went on were two different things,” said Tony Marinozzi, who is a business manager for both actors. “They trusted Franco. At 16, as actors, they took his lead so 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 actors allegedly experienced emotional discomfort after the movie’s premiere, according to the complaint. The pair is asking for more than $500 million in damages.
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