The stars of 1968 movie, Romeo and Juliet, directed by Franco Zeffirelli are suing over the n*de scene they filmed when they were just 15 and 16 years old, Glamsquad reports.
On Friday December 30, Olivia Hussey, 71, and Leonard Whiting, 72, filed a lawsuit in Santa Monica Superior Court in California against Paramount Pictures. They allege sexual harassment, fraud, sexual abuse, and intentional infliction of emotional distress in the suit.
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Hussey and Whiting claim that Zeffirelli initially told them that there would be no nudity in the movie.
According to Hussey and Whiting, Zeffirelli told them on the final day of filming that the movie would not be successful unless they performed a scene while wearing body makeup and naked.
Tony Marinozzi, a business manager for Hussey and Whiting, in a statement said,
“The actors were promised one thing, but what actually happened was different.
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?’ Marinozzi added in a statement to the outlet. ‘There are no options. There was no #MeToo.
The lawsuit states that Hussey and Whiting were filmed nude without their consent and that they are seeking damages “believed to be in excess of $500 million.
The lawsuit also alleges Zeffirelli showed the actors where the camera would be placed but that no nudity would be filmed or released.
Hussey and Whiting believed that they had no choice but to comply with the request to perform nude with body makeup on the final day of filming.
Romeo and Juliet was released in 1968 to critical acclaim and earned Zeffirelli an Academy Award nomination for Best Director. He died in 2019 at the age of 96.
Solomon Gresen, the attorney for Hussey and Whiting, said in a statement to Variety: “The actors were very young and naive in the ’60s and had no idea what was about to happen to them.”
The pair said the scene caused them long-term financial, physical, and emotional pain.
It also cost them ‘a lifetime of loss of earnings and other employment benefits and job opportunities,’ according to the complaint.
Gresen said, ‘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’.
According to Variety, Hussey and Whiting’s lawsuit is relying on a California law that temporarily suspended the statute of limitations on child sexual abuse claims. This law had a deadline of 31st December 2022.
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