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Paramount Seeks to Throw Out Suit Over 1968 ‘Romeo and Juliet’ Nude Scene

Paramount has filed a motion to throw out a lawsuit over the 1968 version of “Romeo and Juliet,” arguing that a nude scene with underage actors does not amount to “childhood sexual assault.”

Actors Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting were 16 and 17 when they starred in the movie, which was directed by Franco Zeffirelli. The film’s famous bedroom scene includes a lingering shot of Whiting’s buttocks and a brief glimpse of Hussey’s breasts.

The actors, now in their 70s, filed a $500 million suit in December, alleging that Zeffirelli pressured them into performing in the nude. They accused Paramount, the distributor, of profiting from their sexual exploitation.

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by Anonymousreply 20May 27, 2023 8:18 AM

Leonard’s twinky nude ass was one of the great wonders of the modern world.

by Anonymousreply 1May 5, 2023 11:16 PM

I totally agree, R1.

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by Anonymousreply 2May 5, 2023 11:19 PM

Dunno about Whiting, but several years ago, Hussey said she'd lied about her age at the time at the behest of the filmmakers, and she'd really been 20 years old when the film was shot.

If so, this lawsuit is going to be thrown out, and IMHO it's sad that it was filed at all. Those two must need money pretty badly, to try something this stupid.

by Anonymousreply 3May 5, 2023 11:30 PM

R3 she was 16.

by Anonymousreply 4May 5, 2023 11:31 PM

Somewhere three teen girls grew up flatchested because of the Boob Fairy's unfair distribution.

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by Anonymousreply 5May 5, 2023 11:32 PM

[quote]alleging that Zeffirelli pressured them into performing in the nude.

Interesting. Paramount says a lot, but one thing they don't do is deny that Zefferelli pressured them.

[quote] Paramount’s lawyers filed a motion on Monday, arguing that the suit is doomed to fail for a host of reasons. Among other things, the suit argues that the actors cannot file suit under a California law that suspends the statute of limitations for child sexual assault, because the scene does not qualify as assault.

[quote]The motion also notes that Hussey and Whiting have fondly recalled their participation in the film in the intervening decades, including in a 2018 Variety interview and a 2016 Q&A with the British Film Institute.

[quote]The motion argues that Hussey and Whiting cannot sue in California, as they lived in the U.K. at the time and the filming took place in Italy. They also note that Paramount was only the distributor of the film, not the production company. Paramount was thus not Zeffirelli’s employer, and was not responsible for supervising his conduct on set, the motion argues.

[quote]The motion invokes the California anti-SLAPP statute, which protects First Amendment speech on matters of public debate. Paramount argues that the film stoked “ongoing debate about nudity in cinema.” The company also quotes from a glowing 1968 review of the film by Roger Ebert.

[quote]“A lot of fuss has been made about the brief, beautiful nude love scene,” Ebert wrote at the time. “I doubt whether anyone could see it and disapprove of it, but apparently someone has.”

by Anonymousreply 6May 5, 2023 11:34 PM

[quote]The motion also notes that Hussey and Whiting have fondly recalled their participation in the film in the intervening decades, including in a 2018 Variety interview and a 2016 Q&A with the British Film Institute.

This particular lawsuit aside, in general, I wish people would stop saying nonsense like this. Someone maintaining a professional relationship or [publicly] feigning friendship with a person who assaulted them, robbed them, or wronged them in some way doesn't mean anything. Speaking up could be career suicide or hurt their livelihood, not everyone is in a position where they can take that risk. I understand why the person or entity being accused says things like this but anyone else saying it is either an idiot who chooses not to understand or an asshole who doesn't care.

by Anonymousreply 7May 5, 2023 11:57 PM

Judge Plans to Dismiss $500M Suit From 1968 ‘Romeo and Juliet’ Stars:

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by Anonymousreply 8May 25, 2023 7:54 PM

Nooooo. My contingency fee !

by Anonymousreply 9May 26, 2023 4:46 AM

[quote]The motion invokes the California anti-SLAPP statute

Chris Rock should sue Will Smith for violating this California statute in 2022.

by Anonymousreply 10May 26, 2023 6:28 AM

Good luck to Leonard and Livvy. They were gorgeous naked.

by Anonymousreply 11May 26, 2023 6:36 AM

Thanks R7. That's a point that is often overlooked in cases like this. They are also entitled to mixed feelings about the film. It's a great movie and has obviously meant a lot to audiences over the world. They were also, it seems, sexually exploited during the filming. These things aren't mutually exclusive.

by Anonymousreply 12May 26, 2023 6:55 AM

R7 It certainly means something in jury trials. Juries tend to view that behavior as discrediting a witness/complainant. Which makes sense: we are all naturally distrustful of people who contradict themselves.

by Anonymousreply 13May 26, 2023 7:06 AM

Whatever happened to statutes of limitations?

by Anonymousreply 14May 26, 2023 3:31 PM

NOW a warning?!?!

by Anonymousreply 15May 26, 2023 3:51 PM

Ugh, what typical MeToo crap. And yes, if you maintain a friendly relationship with someone you much later claimed violated you for decades, it should at least be looked into. What rot - “my trauma made me stay friends with this person I wasn’t required to have any contact with!!!”

by Anonymousreply 16May 26, 2023 4:11 PM

Has Leonard's ass commented?

by Anonymousreply 17May 26, 2023 4:39 PM

Oh, c'mon. They're senior citizens. They probably have no money left. They were probably hoping to settle for a few hundred thou to spend the rest of their lives in some comfort. Give 'em a break.

by Anonymousreply 18May 26, 2023 6:01 PM

I agree with R1. Leonard’s twinky ass made a big impact on many gay men when it first debuted over five decades ago. It has since become a popular attraction in many Shakespeare English classes. Leonard should be proud of his ass's place in film history.

by Anonymousreply 19May 27, 2023 6:58 AM

Give them a couple hundred thou to live on in their twilight years.

by Anonymousreply 20May 27, 2023 8:18 AM
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