‘Romeo And Juliet’ Stars, Who Were 15, 16, Sue Over Nude Scene

The stars of the hit 1968 movie “Romeo and Juliet,” who were only 15 and 16 when the movie was filmed, are suing Paramount Pictures, claiming they were filmed nude without their knowledge.

Olivia Hussey, 71, and Leonard Whiting, 72, filed their lawsuit Friday, just before the December 31 deadline. The lawsuit claims director Franco Zeffirelli, who died in 2019 at 96, had told the actors there would be no actual nudity in the film, that their bedroom scene would feature them wearing flesh-colored underwear. The lawsuit contends that as the filming wound to a close, Zeffirelli asked them to perform nude with body makeup, threatening that without doing so, “the Picture would fail,” Variety reported.

“What they were told and what went on were two different things,” Tony Marinozzi, the actors’ business manager stated of Zeffirelli. “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.”

“Nude images of minors are unlawful and shouldn’t be exhibited,” Solomon Gresen, the actors’ attorney, declared. “These were very young naive 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.”

In 2018, Hussey told Variety of the nude scene, “Nobody my age had done that before. It was needed for the film.” She called Zeffirelli a “genius. He just brought things to life. That’s what I loved about Franco. He hired always the most perfect person to do the role, which ever role it was. And then he let that actor do what they felt.”

“I think it was such an amazing experience,” she added. “I used to say to Franco, I don’t want to work with anyone but you. I can do anything for you because you understand me. I mean if I could have, I would have just worked with Franco.”

In the years since the movie, Hussey, married to rocker David Eisely and a grandmother and mother of three children, has successfully fought stage four breast cancer; she also declared bankruptcy after her business manager and his wife swindled her.

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