‘To all the people that love this film – you’re watching a 19yr old get raped by a 48yr old man. The director planned her attack. I feel sick.’
For those of you who missed it, the 1972 Franco-Italian erotic drama Last Tango in Paris has been hit with a storm of online hate this weekend as a 2013 interview with its director resurfaced, in which Bernado Bertolucci admitted to shooting the film’s explicit rape scene without the consent of the female actress involved.
The infamous sex scene – already considered one of the most controversial in cinema history – involves Marlon Brando using a stick of butter as lubrication before enacting a graphic rape scene with Maria Schneider, the actress just 19 years old at the time.
‘The sequence of the butter is an idea that I had with Marlon in the morning before shooting,’ Bertolucci explained in the interview, describing how they agreed not to inform her of their plans in order to make the scene more realistic and for her reaction to be ‘as a girl, not an actress’.
The truth behind the non-consensual filming was revealed in 2013 but it is only since the interview resurfaced that it has provoked the outrage it warrants, with many A-list Celebrities taking to social media over the weekend to voice their disgust.
Jessica Chastain tweeted: ‘To all the people that love this film – you’re watching a 19yr old get raped by a 48yr old man. The director planned her attack. I feel sick.’ This was retweeted by Evan Rachel Wood who echoed, ‘I second that. This is heartbreaking and outrageous. The 2 of them are very sick individuals to think that was ok’. Chris Evans also spoke out, tweeting, ‘Wow. I will never look at this film, Bertolucci or Brando the same way again. This is beyond disgusting. I feel rage’.
Maria Schneider, who died of cancer in 2011, had spoken out about the event before - something that Anna Kendrick was quick to point out, tweeting ‘Ms Schneider stated this several years ago. I used to get eye-rolls when I brought it up to people (aka dudes)’.
‘I should have called my agent or had my lawyer come to the set because you can’t force someone to do something that isn’t in the script, but at the time, I didn’t know that’, Schneider explained back in a 2007 interview. She continued: ‘Marlon said to me “Maria, don’t worry, it’s just a movie” but during the scene, even though what Marlon was doing wasn’t real, I was crying real tears.’
‘I felt very sad because I was treated like a sex symbol’, explained Schneider (who never shot another nude scene again), ‘I wanted to be recognised as an actress and the whole scandal and aftermath of the film turned me a little crazy and I had a breakdown.’ She continued: ‘I felt humiliated and to be honest, I felt a little raped, both by Marlon and by Bertolucci.’
Looking at the anger and outrage from actors and directors across the globe today, it seems like Hollywood is definitely changing for the better.
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Jenny Proudfoot is an award-winning journalist, specialising in lifestyle, culture, entertainment, international development and politics. She has worked at Marie Claire UK for seven years, rising from intern to Features Editor and is now the most published Marie Claire writer of all time. She was made a 30 under 30 award-winner last year and named a rising star in journalism by the Professional Publishers Association.
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