Leonard Whiting and Olivia Hussey are known for their role in the Oscar-winning 1968 film Romeo and Juliet. Both of them were teenagers when they made the movie. The former teen actors are now suing Paramount over their nude scene in the 1968’s movie.

Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting recently claimed that the scene was filmed without their permission when they were 15 and 16, respectively. According to Variety, the late director Franco Zeffirelli helmed the 1968 big-screen production of Romeo and Juliet, which won four Academy Awards. The movie features a bedroom scene where Hussey’s naked breasts and Whiting’s buttocks can be seen.

The two actors are now in their 70s. Zeffirelli had assured them that there would be no nudity in the film and that they would be permitted to wear flesh-colored underwear in the aforementioned bedroom scene. However, in the last days of production, they claim Zeffirelli persuaded them to “perform in the nude with body makeup,’ or the Picture will fail.”

Hussey and Whiting claimed that Zeffirelli assured them that no nudity would be shot or photographed, and even showed them how the cameras would be positioned to ensure this. The case, which was filed on Friday, December 30, in Santa Monica Superior Court, claims that Paramount sexually exploited them, published nude photographs of adolescent minors without their knowledge, and was dishonest to the performers. Tony Marinozzi is a business manager for both actors. He also briefly discussed the case.

What they were told and what went on were two different things. 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? There are no options. There was no #MeToo.

According to the complaint, Hussey and Whiting have experienced “mental anguish and emotional distress” since the film’s premiere 55 years ago and have lost work chances as a result of the film’s distribution. They are seeking damages in the amount of more than $500 million. The actors’ attorney, Solomon Gresen, also gave his insight in a recent interview.

Nude images of minors are unlawful and shouldn’t be exhibited. These were very young naïve children in the ’60s who had no understanding of what was about to hit them. 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.

This complaint was brought close to the California law’s December 31 deadline, which temporarily delayed the statute of limitations for older claims of child sexual assault. Hussey previously stated that while the sequence was deemed “taboo” in America, nudity was far more common in European films at the time. Keep checking back on Thirsty as the story develops.

What do you think of this lawsuit? Sound off in the comments!

Gunjan Nath

In search of simplicity and inner peace, Gunjan is basically a guy soldiering through his paranoia. You could say Art, Witty/Dark Humor, Movies, Anime, Post-rock/Black Metal/Hip-Hop/Shoegaze Music, Football, Creative Writing, Photography, Videography are his forte. A Jack of All Trades and a Master of Many.

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