Romeo and Juliet naked for Zeffirelli, the agent speaks: 'That's why they sue' – exclusive

Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting's manager explains the decision to sue the production company. At the time the actors were 15 and 16 years old. Now they are asking for 500 million dollars. Even if it's been 55 years

  US-ENTERTAINMENT-TCM CLASSIC-THE PRODUCERS Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting sue (after almost 55 years) over this nude scene Video

She was 15, he was 16. Child actors, forced, they say, to shoot a nude scene that later became famous. It was the set of Romeo and Juliet , directed by Franco Zeffirelli in 1968. They were Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting, now over seventy. Fifty-four years later the actors took Paramount, which distributed the film, to court, accusing it of sexual exploitation of minors for having released the scenes in which you can see her breasts and his buttocks. The actors would have been traumatized by that experience and for this they are asking for 500 million dollars in compensation. Today spoke exclusively with their agent, the American Tony Marinozzi – video

The stars of 'Romeo and Juliet' are asking for damages. Here is the offending scene The stars of 'Romeo and Juliet' are asking for damages. Here is the offending scene

Mr. Marinozzi, why wait 54 years for such a complaint?
“It was a very troubled decision on both sides. Because of that scene they suffered emotionally for many years in silence.

I see. But why now?
“The #metoo movement has given them and many others the voice and courage to take action against even big companies like Paramount. It was she who made the final decision to show nudity. They could have cut those scenes, but they didn't. Furthermore, in California, a temporary suspension of the statute of limitations was decided for crimes involving the abuse of minors (the deadline for complaints was December 31, 2022, ed)'.

Is this also an indictment against Zeffirelli?
“No, it's not an attack on Franco, who Olivia and Leonard have always valued. It is true that my clients felt betrayed by him, but Paramount had the last word and it was they who decided to distribute nude scenes of minors”.

Why did they feel betrayed by the director?
“He promised that the scene would be shot in flesh-colored underwear. But on the morning of the shoot, the actors were called into makeup and told they were going to perform completely naked. Olivia was mortified but no one protected her. Leonard had gone to talk to Zeffirelli, who had assured him that he would be seen very little. They were worried, but they were professionals and trusted Franco.'

They were kids. It must have been very difficult .
'Of course. And they were also very Catholic. Even their families criticized them when the film came out. But they felt obliged. If they hadn't, their careers would have ended.'

Olivia Hussey has revealed that she is having financial problems. Did this contribute to the decision to sue?
“Look, the money has nothing to do with it. What matters to us is the message. Minors cannot be exploited for profit.'

His clients have various projects planned, a documentary, a biography, a theater tour, in which they will tell the story of the shooting of Romeo and Juliet. Why remember the experience if it was so traumatic?
“They will only remember the positive events in their lives. The complaint to Paramount has nothing to do with it.'

In 2018, in an interview with Variety , Hussey defended that nude scene. How come she changed her mind?
“Look, he never changed his mind. That shooting caused a lifelong trauma. My clients have simply learned to live with it”.