Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting have filed a lawsuit against Paramount Pictures

Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting have recently shed light on a distressing aspect of their experience during the making of “Romeo and Juliet,” a film directed by Franco Zeffirelli in 1968.

Allegedly, the director insisted that they appear in n*de scenes, warning them that the film’s success depended on it and that their careers would suffer if they refused.

“Romeo and Juliet,” a cinematic adaptation of Shakespeare’s timeless work, achieved critical acclaim and won two Oscars. However, it has recently been marred by controversy due to legal action taken by its former young stars.

Both Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting have filed a lawsuit against Paramount Pictures, citing claims of abuse, harassment, and fraud. It’s essential to note that they were only 15 and 16 years old when they worked on the film, which makes their allegations even more disturbing. They are now seeking compensation exceeding $500 million.

In the film, viewers were exposed to sensitive scenes featuring Leonard Whiting’s bare buttocks and Olivia Hussey’s bare breasts. The director, Franco Zeffirelli, reportedly left them with no choice in the matter, insisting that the film’s success hinged on these scenes. Fearing damage to their careers, they reluctantly acquiesced, utilizing body makeup to mitigate the situation.

The repercussions of this traumatic experience cast a long shadow over both actors, resulting in enduring emotional damage and mental anguish that persisted for decades.

One might wonder why it took Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting so long to come forward with their claims. According to their business manager, Tony Marinozzi, they felt betrayed by the director and the studio, making it exceedingly difficult to take action earlier. They harbored genuine concerns about potential consequences for their careers and doubted whether they would be believed if they spoke out.

Marinozzi highlighted the challenges they faced, stating, “At the time, there was just no way to tell that story for people to hear, and it’s something they’ve had to live with and probably struggle with all their lives.” He also expressed gratitude for movements like #MeToo that have provided platforms for survivors to share their experiences and seek justice.