Shakespeare’s classic tragic novel “Romeo and Juliet” has been filmed several times. This generation probably remembers the movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio. However, long before DiCaprio’s boyish appearance won the hearts of the audience, the audience was captivated by the 1968 film starring Leonard Whiting and Olivia Hussey.
It’s been 55 years since Paramount released the film, and now it’s back at the center of controversy. Two main characters sued the company for child sexual abuse because of bold nude scenes.
The nude scenes of Romeo and Juliet were filmed without the knowledge of Olivia Hussey or Leonard Whiting.
Back in 1968, during the filming of Frank Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet, both Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting were teenagers. Apparently, they never agreed to be filmed naked. According to Variety, now that they are over 70, the main characters have filed a lawsuit against Paramount for child sexual abuse.
Zeffirelli, who died in 2019, apparently assured them that there was no nudity in the film. He told them about various camera tricks and the positions he would use to simulate the scene. 16-year-olds had to wear flesh-colored clothing throughout the bedroom scene. But on the day of filming, they were “begged” to shoot naked.
Nudity was not commonplace in Hollywood in the 60s. The provocative scene included Whiting’s buttocks and Hussey’s bare chest. Although the 16-year-old stars became stars overnight after the premiere of the film, after that they only occasionally worked in Hollywood. The emotional and psychological shock of the whole event led to the fact that the stars abandoned the projects. Paramount may have to pay a large sum (more than $500 million) to the actors for damages.
Meanwhile, in 2018, Hussey told Fox News, “It wasn’t that big of a deal.” Although the scene was too bold for conservative America back then, they both understood the task. In fact, according to her, the script required a scene, and Zeffirelli shot it quite “tastefully”.
What do you think about the lawsuit and Hussey’s controversial remarks?