Leonard Whiting and Olivia Hussey, who played the lead roles in the 1968 film Romeo and Juliet, sued Paramount.

The actors believe the damage could exceed $500 million.

Leonard Whiting and Olivia Hussey, who played the lead roles in the 1968 film Romeo and Juliet, sued Paramount. Former child actors have accused Paramount of sexual exploitation.

Hassey and Whiting’s complaint is about a scene in the film where the actors are naked. In this scene, Romeo and Juliet are in bed; Whiting’s buttocks and Hussey’s breasts are visible. The actors were 16 and 15 years old at the time of filming.

Initially, the plaintiffs claim, they were promised that body-colored underwear would be used during the filming. But at the last moment, the director Franco Zeffirelli demanded to be filmed naked, otherwise the film would fail.

Tony Marino is the business manager of the actors.

What they were promised and what actually happened are two different things. They trusted Franco. At 16, they, as actors, believed his promises not to violate their trust. Franco was their friend, and frankly, what could they have done at 16? There were no options, there was no #MeToo.

According to Hassey and Whiting, the director promised to arrange the cameras so that “no nudity” would be captured. The actors agreed to shoot without underwear and claim that Zeffirelli had misled them.

As a result, Romeo and Juliet received four nominations for the Academy Award, winning two awards: for best cinematography and best costume design.

Solomon Gresen is an attorney .

Nude images of minors are illegal and should not be displayed. They were very young and naive children of the sixties, not knowing what was coming. Suddenly, they became famous, and on a level they never expected.

Hassi and Whiting filed the lawsuit 55 years after the film’s release and three and a half years after Franco Zeffirelli’s death. According to the actors, they had suffered “mental anguish and emotional distress” throughout the years. Hassey’s filmography consists of dozens of roles.

Variety notes that in the past, Olivia Hussey has been less critical of the scene in Romeo and Juliet. The actress said that the scene was shot “with taste” and “was necessary” for the picture.

Hassi and Whiting estimate that the moral damage caused by this may exceed $500 million. Paramount declined to comment on the lawsuit.

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