Stars of 1968 ‘Romeo and Juliet’ sue Paramount over nude scene filmed when they were minors


The stars of Franco Zeffirelli’s 1968 movie Romeo and Juliet are suing over the nude scene they filmed when they were just 15 and 16 years old. 

Olivia Hussey, 71, and Leonard Whiting, 72, filed a lawsuit Friday in Santa Monica Superior Court in California accusing Paramount Pictures of sexual harassment, fraud, sexual abuse, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Hussey and Whiting, both British, say Zeffirelli originally told them there would not be any nudity in the film.

However, on the last day of filming, they claim he said the film ‘would fail’ unless they performed a scene nude while wearing body makeup. 

Olivia Hussey, 71, and Leonard Whiting, 72, filed a lawsuit against Paramount Studios Friday in California seeking damages ‘believed to be in excess of 500 million’ (pictured in 2018)

The pair were just 15 and 16 when they were cast in the film adaptation of Shakespeare's classic play by Italian director Franco Zeffirelli

The pair were just 15 and 16 when they were cast in the film adaptation of Shakespeare’s classic play by Italian director Franco Zeffirelli

‘What they were told and what went on were two different things,’ said Tony Marinozzi, a business manager for the actors, in a statement. 

‘They trusted Franco. At 16, as actors, they took his lead that he would not violate that trust they had,’ the manager said. 

‘Franco was their friend, and frankly, at 16, what do they do?’ Marinozzi added in a statement to the outlet. ‘There are no options. There was no #MeToo.’

The lawsuit alleges the pair were filmed nude without their knowledge and they are now seeking damages ‘believed to be in excess of 500 million.’ 

In the lawsuit Hussey and Whiting are accusing Paramount Pictures, which released the film  of sexual harassment, fraud, sexual abuse, and intentional infliction of emotional distress

In the lawsuit Hussey and Whiting are accusing Paramount Pictures, which released the film  of sexual harassment, fraud, sexual abuse, and intentional infliction of emotional distress

The movie directed by Franco Zeffirelli (pictured with Hussey and Whiting at the movie's Paris premiere) was released in 1968 to critical acclaim and earned the Italian filmmaker an Academy Award nomination for Best Director. Zeffirelli  died in 2019 at the age of 96

The movie directed by Franco Zeffirelli (pictured with Hussey and Whiting at the movie’s Paris premiere) was released in 1968 to critical acclaim and earned the Italian filmmaker an Academy Award nomination for Best Director. Zeffirelli  died in 2019 at the age of 96

The lawsuit alleges that the teens 'had no choice but to act in the nude with body makeup as demanded on the last day of filming,' despite having originally been promised that no nudity would be filmed or released

The lawsuit alleges that the teens ‘had no choice but to act in the nude with body makeup as demanded on the last day of filming,’ despite having originally been promised that no nudity would be filmed or released

The lawsuit alleges Zeffirelli showed the actors where the camera would be placed but that no nudity would be filmed or released. 

Hussey and Whiting thought ‘they had no choice but to act in the nude with body makeup as demanded on the last day of filming.’

The movie was released in 1968 to critical acclaim and earned Zeffirelli an Academy Award nomination for Best Director.

He died in 2019 at the age of 96. 

In a statement to Variety, Solomon Gresen, attorney for the pair, said the actors 'were very young naïve children in the '60s who had no understanding of what was about to hit them' and that the scene caused them long-term financial, physical, and emotional pain

In a statement to Variety, Solomon Gresen, attorney for the pair, said the actors ‘were very young naïve children in the ’60s who had no understanding of what was about to hit them’ and that the scene caused them long-term financial, physical, and emotional pain

In a statement to Variety, Solomon Gresen, the attorney for the pair said the actors ‘were very young naïve children in the ’60s who had no understanding of what was about to hit them.’

The pair said the scene caused them long-term financial, physical, and emotional pain.  

The film also cost Hussey and Whiting ‘a lifetime of loss of earnings and other employment benefits and job opportunities,’ according to the complaint. 

‘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,’ Gresen said.

The $500 million in damages the pair is seeking matches the amount the film has made since its release in 1968. 

According to Variety, the actors’ lawsuit relies on a California law that temporarily suspended the statute of limitations on child sexual abuse claims. 

That law had a December 31, 2022 deadline. 

The actors' lawsuit relies on a California law that temporarily suspended the statute of limitations on child sexual abuse claims. That law had a December 31, 2022 deadline

The actors’ lawsuit relies on a California law that temporarily suspended the statute of limitations on child sexual abuse claims. That law had a December 31, 2022 deadline 

The $500 million in damages the pair is seeking matches the amount the film has made since its release in 1968

The $500 million in damages the pair is seeking matches the amount the film has made since its release in 1968

Hussey continued to pursue her acting career and even reunited with Zeffirelli to play Mary, the mother of Jesus, in the director’s acclaimed 1977 mini-series Jesus Of Nazareth.

In an interview from 2018, Hussey claimed Zeffirelli referred to her as ‘Boobs O’Mina’ and that he had admitted she was the unrequited love of his life.  

At the time, Hussey also said she ‘loved playing Juliet’ but that the press was ‘exhausting.’

Whiting also went on to enjoy a career as an actor and singer in his native Britain. 

Hussey continued to pursue her acting career and even reunited with Zeffirelli to play Mary, the mother of Jesus, in the director's acclaimed 1977 mini-series Jesus Of Nazareth

Hussey continued to pursue her acting career and even reunited with Zeffirelli to play Mary, the mother of Jesus, in the director’s acclaimed 1977 mini-series Jesus Of Nazareth 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk