Franco Zefferelli’s Romeo and Juliet is facing lawsuit from the actors


Everyone knows Romeo and Juliet, the world-famous star-crossed lovers. But do you also know about the exploitation that took place in the 60s for Romeo and Juliet movie adaptation’s actors?

Leonard Whiting and Olivia Hussey, who played the roles of Romeo and Juliet respectively, filed a lawsuit against Paramount for sexual exploitation of young children. The actors claim that they did not know about the “Me Too” movement back in the day. Besides, there was no movement as such in the 1960s, to begin with!

Nude scenes in the movie

It is saddening how the actors were only 15 and 16 when they filmed the movie. The movie really did not take place as was promised to the actors. In the movie, the actors were told that there won’t be any nude scenes. To their dismay, the director insisted on them getting naked for the camera. When they were on the verge of confronting, Franco Zeffirelli, who passed away in 2019, told them that the movie will flop if they don’t show some skin.

Not much has to be expected from two young people who got an opportunity of a lifetime back them. They took the roles. Sadly, enough again, the actors were the ones left to make the decision and they were forced to do what the director asked them to.

Nevertheless, the movie was a hit and people rushed to the theatres to watch the young co-actors perform. The years after the movie was not easy for either of them though. Although they were both meant to get more movies, they did not. And both of them blame the movie’s nude scenes to some extent. Actress Olivia Hussey even says that the director made some outrageous comments about her breasts while calling her the love of his life. Mind you, she was only 15 years old!

The whole scenario of child abuse is not new to the actors anymore though. Both the actors also shared that when they filmed for the movie, both of them were hoping to get skin-colored costumes for the bedroom scenes.

Lawsuit for Sexual Exploitation

Both the Romeo and Juliet actors filed a lawsuit against the production house, Paramount Productions, on December 30th. 2023 is definitely not going to be the brightest for the production house given the fact that both the actors from a legendary movie have taken action.

The lawsuit has already been filed. And the case is ongoing. It is about the time when we know what the consequences of the lawsuit will be. Moreover, Paramount is supposed to have some level of accountability towards both actors. After all, their lives were violated at such young ages.

Also read: Lionel Messi’s room in the Qatar World Cup is being turned into a small museum