I really wish the “not-right” part of this story was that nobody wanted to take home that amazing flower-trimmed fedora after they wrapped filming, but it’s actually a whole lot more dark than that.
A recently-resurfaced interview with the director of the 1972 film Last Tango In Paris had a lot of people reaching for brain bleach this weekend. During a 2013 interview at La Cinémathèque Française in Paris, director Bernardo Bertolucci admitted that the infamous rape scene between Marlon Brando (who was 48 at the time), Maria Schneider (who was 19 at the time) and a stick of butter wasn’t consensual.
Bernardo claims the he and Marlon had an idea to surprise Maria with the butter rape scene as they were filming because they wanted to get a real “reaction” from her. I guess both Marlon and Bernardo had temporarily forgotten what “acting” was.
“But I’d been, in a way, horrible to Maria because I didn’t tell her what was going on. Because I wanted her reaction as a girl, not as an actress. I wanted her to react humiliated. If it goes on she shout ‘no, no!‘. I think she hated me and also Marlon because we didn’t tell her that there was this detail of the butter used as lubricant.”
To make matters even grosser, Bernardo says he felt guilty that he pulled a vile fast-one on Maria. But he doesn’t regret it, because art.
“To obtain something I think you have to be completely free. I didn’t want Maria to act her humiliation, her rage, I wanted Maria to feel…the rage and humiliation. Then she hated me for all [of her] life.”
Here’s the interview:
Maria spoke about the scene to the Daily Mail in 2007, about four years before she passed away from cancer. Not surprisingly, Maria reacted to the scene in the exact way you’d expect someone who was hit with a surprise rape scene. Maria said she felt a “little raped” by it.
“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…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 by Bertolucci. Thankfully, there was just one take.”
Not long after Bernardo Bertolucci’s interview resurfaced this weekend, actors and actresses, like Jessica Chastain and Chris Evans took to Twitter to call out Bernardo.
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
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
Special place in hell for these two scumbags and everyone on the crew that watched and did nothing. FUCK YOU https://t.co/ZUGjMT5mQT
— Michael Cudlitz (@Cudlitz) December 3, 2016
— Anna Kendrick (@AnnaKendrick47) December 3, 2016
That’s a lot of justified angry. On the upside for Bernardo Bertolucci, I’m sure not everyone in Hollywood hates him right now. In fact, I heard that Woody Allen, Roman Polanski, and everyone on Chloe Sevigny’s list of unnamed gross directors just sent him a welcome package and a lifetime membership card for their Disgusting Directors Club.
UPDATE: Bernardo Bertolucci has released a statement in response to everyone throwing him shank-eyes regarding that 2013 interview.
“I would like, for the last time, to clear up a ridiculous misunderstanding that continues to generate press reports about ‘Last Tango in Paris’ around the world. Several years ago at the Cinemathèque Francaise someone asked me for details on the famous butter scene. I specified, but perhaps I was not clear, that I decided with Marlon Brando not to inform Maria that we would have used butter. We wanted her spontaneous reaction to that improper use [of the butter]. That is where the misunderstanding lies. Somebody thought, and thinks, that Maria had not been informed about the violence on her. That is false! Maria knew everything because she had read the script, where it was all described. The only novelty was the idea of the butter.”
Pic: United Artists