The Hollywood film industry has expressed their disgust over the revelation of a director who admitted that he shot one of the most notorious rape scenes in modern film history without taking prior consent from the actor involved.
Bernardo Bertolucci faced ridicule on Sunday from actors including Jessica Chastain, Anna Kendrick and Chris Evans after a video clip was released showing him confess that just in order to make the reaction of the actress appear more real and authentic, he did not consider consulting about some elements of the rape scene in Last Tango with the actress Maria Schneider.
The video interview was filmed in 2013 but only recently posted online. In the video, Bertolucci has confessed that he felt guilty about his treatment of Schneider. The actress died of cancer in 2011.
He tells how he and Marlon Brando had conspired to shoot an assault by Brando’s character to rape his lover played by the late actress. Many details of the scene were not written in the script.
He says he failed to inform her of their plan because he “wanted her reaction as a girl, not as an actress”. At the time of shooting, Brando was 48 years old and Schneider was 19.
As the clip was circulated online, Hollywood stars took to Twitter to express their outrage, with Marvel Comics actor Chris Evans tweeting:
Wow. I will never look at this film, Bertolucci or Brando the same way again. This is beyond disgusting. I feel rage https://t.co/uvaLogvv7I— Chris Evans (@ChrisEvans) December 3, 2016
Director Ava DuVernay said:
Inexcusable. As a director, I can barely fathom this. As a woman, I am horrified, disgusted and enraged by it. https://t.co/voGRhafy9K— Ava DuVernay (@ava) December 4, 2016
Interstellar actress 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. https://t.co/qVDom2gYf6— Jessica Chastain (@jes_chastain) December 3, 2016
Others complained that Bertolucci was only facing criticism now he had admitted the scene was non-consensual rather than when Schneider initially made the claims herself during an interview nearly 10 years ago.
The Twilight Saga actress, Anna Kendrick tweeted:
Schneider had earlier told that although no sexual intercourse took place on the film set but she said that aspects of the scene were not told to her and that had profound effect on her.
Speaking at the time, she said: “They only told me about it before we had to film the scene and I was so angry. 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.”
She added: “During the scene, even though what Marlon was doing wasn’t real, I was crying real tears. I felt humiliated and, to be honest, I felt a little raped, both by Marlon and Bertolucci.”
Last Tango in Paris is the story of a man who gets involved into an anonymous affair after her wife takes her own life. It shocked audiences on its release in the early 1970s due to its graphic depictions of sex and rape, and remains controversial today. Long after the release of the film, many still believed that the sex scenes were real but Schneider later confirmed this was not the case.
For years after the film, and in part due to the scandal surrounding it, Schneider struggled with drug addiction and depression before her death.
When Bertolucci was interviewd about her in 2013, he said he felt guilty but he did not regret on how the scene was shot.
Speaking at an event at La Cinémathèque Francaise in Paris, he said: “After the movie we really didn’t see each other because she was hating me.
He added: “I feel guilty but I do not regret. To make movies sometimes to obtain something we have to be completely free. I didn’t want Maria to act her humiliation, her rage, I wanted Maria to feel, not to act. Then she hated me for all her life.”