Anger and disgust spewed from some of the most high profile Twitter accounts in Hollywood after a three year old interview of Last Tango in Paris director, Bernardo Bertolucci re-circulated online.
In it, the Italian director admits to feeling guilty over his treatment of the then 19-year-old Maria Schneider while making his 1972 film, especially while filming “The Butter Scene”, where Schneider’s character Jeanne is lubricated with a stick of butter before Marlon Brando’s character, Paul, has sex with her without consent.
What’s most shocking is not the fact that two influential men of great power in Hollywood conveniently bullied a young actress who was desperately trying to carve a path for herself in the industry, but the fact that it took a director’s statement to spark outrage when Maria Schneider admitted that “I (she) felt humiliated and to be honest, I felt a little raped, both by Marlon and by Bertolucci. After the scene, Marlon didn’t console me or apologize. Thankfully, there was just one take,” she said soon after the film released.
To understand the reality of what goes on behind the scenes is absolutely devastating- it is unforgivable on any director or producer’s part to use deception, just because Bertolucci “ wanted her reaction as a girl, not as an actress.” Iconic film or not, non -consensual sex is a crime just the same. The fact is, ladies and gentlemen that an actor’s job is to act, to try and portray the situation as realistically as possible. This is exactly why Brando and Bertolucci have no excuse for what they’ve done- they picked Maria because they believed she fit the role best and their lack of faith in an actress’s ability is something that most male figures shared in the industry at that point in time.
It is an absolute shame to see such a critically acclaimed film reach such lows- after all Last Tango in Paris is considered to be one of the finest erotic films ever made- a genre less explored. Let’s hope that there are no more surprises in store for us- it will be truly heartbreaking to learn that little Gretl was forced to star in the Sound Of Music.
Feature Image Credits- IBTimes, UK