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Who is Leonard Whiting? 'Romeo and Juliet' stars sue Paramount for sexual exploitation over nude scene in film

Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting starred in the 1968 version of Romeo and Juliet. The film was a huge global success. The lead actors, Leonard Whiting, and Olivia Hussey, have sued the studio for sexually exploiting both of them, while filming a nude scene in the 1968 film.

Who is Leonard Whiting? 'Romeo and Juliet' stars sue Paramount for sexual exploitation over nude scene in film vma
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First Published Jan 5, 2023, 12:21 PM IST

While many people loved this film, the lead stars of Romeo and Juliet, are making headlines as they sued the production house for promoting sexual exploitation and child abuse with their nude scene in the 1968 film.

We know that Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting starred in the 1968 version of Romeo and Juliet. The film was a huge global success. But now we will learn a bit more about this controversy.

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Who is Leonard Whiting?

The veteran Hollywood actor is a retired British singer and star. He is widely loved and remembered for his stellar performance in the cult 1968 film Romeo and Juliet. Late filmmaker Franco Zeffirelli had helmed this film. Leonard Whiting gained global recognition and fame for his multi-layered performance of Romeo in Romeo and Juliet. He also won a Golden Globe award for New Star of the Year. He and his former co-star Olivia Hussey reunited after 46 years in 2015 for the Hollywood film, Social Suicide, inspired by the original 1968 film.

Leonard Whiting and Olivia Hussey sue Paramount for sexual exploitation over their nude scene in the film:

Lately, the star is in headlines as he and Olivia Hussey have sued the production house Paramount for encouraging sexual exploitation and child abuse regarding a nude scene in the 1968 film. Actors Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting were teenagers when they starred in the 1968 version of Romeo and Juliet, directed by Franco Zeffirelli. Even though the film was a hit and bagged four Academy Awards nominations, recently, the film has sparked a controversy over a bedroom scene that featured peeks of Hussey's bare breasts and Whiting's buttocks.

The lead actors, now in their 70s, filed a lawsuit against Paramount in Santa Monica Superior Court on December 30, 2022, accusing the studio of sexually exploiting them and disseminating nude pictures of adolescent children, as per a report by a leading global entertainment publication. In continuation of the report, the suit filed by Hussey and Whiting places severe allegations. It shared that late filmmaker Zeffirelli, who passed away in 2019, initially had assured both the actors that there would be no nudity in the film. He had given them assurance that they would wear flesh-colored undergarments while shooting the bedroom scene. However, in the final days of filming the scene, the director intentionally tried to compel them to perform this scene naked with body makeup, "or the picture would fail."

At that time, Hussey was 15, whilst, Whiting was 16. As per the complaint, Zeffirelli showed them where the camera would be placed and comforted them that no nude stuff would be captured on camera or shown in the movie. The suit alleges that the late director was untruthful and that the lead actors got filmed naked without their knowledge.

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