Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting have filed a lawsuit against Paramount over a controversial bedroom scene in the 1968 version of Romeo and Juliet, directed by Franco Zeffirelli, Variety reports.
The stars, now aged in their 70s, were teenagers when they starred in the film, which was nominated for four Academy Awards.
Variety reports Hussey and Whiting filed a lawsuit in Santa Monica Superior Court on Friday, accusing the production company of sexually exploiting them and distributing nude images of adolescent children.
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The scene in question included images of Whiting’s bottom and Hussey’s bare breasts.
The suit alleges that Zeffirelli – who died in 2019 – assured both actors that there would be no nudity in the film, which ended up not being the case.
They claim he was being dishonest and that Whiting and Hussey were in fact filmed nude without their knowledge.
Hussey was 15 at the time and Whiting was 16.
“What they were told and what went on were two different things,” Tony Marinozzi, who is a business manager for both actors, said.
“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.”
Paramount has not commented on the lawsuit.
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