“Romeo and Juliet”: Lawsuit over nude scene is dismissed

“Romeo and Juliet”: Lawsuit over nude scene is dismissed

The stars of the movie “Romeo and Juliet” have temporarily lost their fight for damages over a sex scene.

A California court judge has said she will dismiss a lawsuit over a nude scene in the 1968 film Romeo and Juliet, according to US media reports. The two leading actors went to court last year: Olivia Hussey (72) and Leonard Whiting (72), who were teenagers when they made Franco Zeffirelli’s (1923-2019) Oscar-winning film, accused Paramount in the lawsuit of sexual exploitation over a nude scene before.

Judge Alison Mackenzie apparently indicated that she would agree with the film studio. This had rejected the claim that the scene was images of child abuse. The plaintiffs failed to properly follow rules of California law that can provide for a temporary stay of the statute of limitations on abuse claims.

The judge reportedly stated that there was no convincing argument that the film could be considered “sufficiently sexually suggestive from a legal point of view” for it to be considered illegal.

Actors want to appeal

The actors, who were both under the age of 18 at the time of filming, reportedly plan to appeal and file a separate lawsuit that could relate to a recent DVD release of the film. This would not be affected by the statute of limitations.

Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting had issued statements claiming they “pretended we were having intercourse” for the film. Since then they have suffered “mental anguish and emotional stress” and have not received any more job offers. They are reportedly seeking $100 million in damages. Shots of Whiting’s buttocks and Hussey’s breasts can be seen in the bedroom scene. They were assured at the time that their naked bodies would not appear later in the film, the actors claimed.

Paramount called the statements “completely false”. Director Zeffirelli died in 2019. His son Pippo Zeffirelli said the scene was “anything but pornographic”.

Source: Stern

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