4 Jan 2023

Romeo and Juliet: actors suing film company for alleged sexual abuse

The stars of the 1968 movie Romeo and Juliet, directed by Franco Zeffirelli, are suing Paramount Pictures over a nude scene shot when they were both still teenagers.

Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting, who are now in their 70s, claim Zeffirelli put them under pressure to do the scene nude, despite previous assurances that they wouldn’t have to perform unclothed. They are seeking damages of more than £400 million, based on the suffering they say they’ve experienced and the revenue brought in by the film since its release. Paramount is yet to publicly respond to the claim.

Ita O’Brien is an intimacy coordinator for film, TV and theatre, who wrote the Intimacy On Set guidelines adopted by many film studios.