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Romeo & Juliet stars sue Paramount Pictures for sexual abuse

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The stars of the Oscar-winning 1968 film Romeo and Juliet are suing Paramount Pictures for sexual abuse over a nude scene they appeared in.

Leonard Whiting and Olivia Hussey were teenagers when they made the movie.

In a new legal case, the English actors, now in their 70s, claim director Franco Zeffirelli encouraged them to do nude scenes despite previous assurances that they would not have to.

Paramount has not yet publicly responded to the claim.

The two actors are seeking damages of more than $500m (£417m), based on suffering they say they have experienced and the revenue brought in by the film since its release.

They claim Zeffirelli, who died in 2019, initially told them they would wear flesh-coloured underwear in the bedroom scene.

But on the morning of the shoot, they allege the director told them they would wear only body make-up, while assuring them the camera would be positioned to not show nudity.

In the final film, Whiting’s bare buttocks and Hussey’s bare breasts were briefly shown during the scene.

Zeffirelli told them they must act in the nude “or the picture would fail” and their careers would be hurt, the pair claim in the lawsuit. The actors “believed they had no choice but to act in the nude in body makeup as demanded”.

Whiting was then aged 16 and is now 72, while Hussey was 15 when the film was shot and is now 71.

The pair are suing Paramount for sexual abuse, sexual harassment and fraud.

The lawsuit accuses the Hollywood studio of sexually exploiting the two young actors and distributing nude images of adolescent children.

The court filing says Whiting and Hussey have suffered emotional damage and mental anguish for decades as a result of the way they were treated.

The film was a huge success at the time, and has been shown to generations of students studying the Shakespeare play since.

It was nominated for four Oscars, including best director and best picture, and won two – for cinematography and costume design.

The lawsuit was filed on Friday in Santa Monica Superior Court under a California law that has temporarily suspended the statute of limitations – which means action cannot normally be taken once a certain time has elapsed – for child sex abuse.

The suspension has led to a host of new lawsuits and the revival of many others that were previously dismissed.

Entertainment

Independent regulatory body to develop cinema & television industry

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The Cabinet has approved the establishment of an independent regulatory body to provide necessary facilities and guidance for the development of the cinema and television industry.

The State Film Corporation was established under the State Film Corporation Act No. 47 of 1971 to promote local cinema and was renamed as the National Film Corporation in 1980.

The government said the film industry is facing a severe setback due to various problems and it has been recognized that there is a need to establish an independent regulatory agency to revive the film industry.

“It also appears desirable to have an independent body to provide guidance to develop the television industry. After taking these factors into consideration, the proposal made by the Mass Media Minister was approved by the Cabinet,” it said.

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Yohani receives Dubai Golden Visa Award

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Sri Lankan singing sensation Yohani De Silva received the ‘Golden Visa’ awarded by Dubai, UAE.

The prestigious award awarded by the Dubai authorities to the people who have made a great contribution in the fields of arts, culture and entertainment is known as ‘Golden Visa’.

Yohani continues to captivate audiences with her unique blend of traditional Sri Lankan folk music and contemporary pop music, and the ‘Golden Visa’ recognizes her unwavering commitment to artistic excellence and commitment to promoting cultural diversity on a global scale.

In a Facebook post, Yohani said that she is thrilled to share the incredible news of being honored with the prestigious Golden Visa in Dubai. 

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French murder mystery film wins Palme d’Or at Cannes

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French murder mystery film Anatomy of a Fall has taken the top prize at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.

Director Justine Triet won the Palme d’Or for her tense courtroom drama, which tells the story of a writer accused of her husband’s murder.

She becomes the third female director ever to win the prestigious prize, which was first awarded in 1955.

Her thriller stars German actress Sandra Hüller, who also stars in the Cannes runner-up, The Zone of Interest.

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