Those who watched Last Tango in Paris will remember the infamous “butter rape scene,” and now an interview with director Bernardo Bertolucci has drawn even more controversy to the already divisive scene. He admitted that the graphic rape was inserted into the script without the knowledge of 19-year-old actor Maria Schneider and then filmed without her consent.
The scene depicted a 48-year-old Marlon Brando assaulting and anally raping Schneider’s character with the aid of a stick of butter. It was a brutal scene made even more disturbing by the visceral reaction of Schneider, and a newly surfaced interview with Bertolucci reveals that it was just as much a surprise for the actress as it was for her character, The Guardian reported.
In the video, Bertolucci explained that he and Marlon Brando came up with the idea that morning to incorporate a stick of butter, but purposely did not tell Maria Schneider so that her on-camera reaction would be genuine.
“The sequence of the butter is an idea that I had with Marlon in the morning before shooting,” Bertulocci said, adding that he “wanted her reaction as a girl, not as an actress.”
Bertolucci said it was “horrible” that he and Brando did not tell Schneider, and said the actress broke off contact after filming of the movie was completed.
“I think she hated me and also Marlon because we didn’t tell her,” he said.
Maria Schneider had been open about the trauma she felt from the Last Tango in Paris rape scene, saying before her 2011 death from cancer that she felt as if she had actually been raped. Schneider would say that the rape was simulated, but that she didn’t know about the brutal scene until just before it was shot as it wasn’t originally in the script.
Last Tango in Paris helped catapult the unknown French actress to worldwide fame, but also sent her down a path of destructive behavior.
Schneider told the Daily Mail in 2007 that the attention, “made me go mad. I got into drugs — pot and then cocaine, LSD and heroin — it was like an escape from reality. It was the ’70s and at that time, it was all going on.
“I didn’t enjoy being famous at all and drugs were my escape,” she said. “I took pills to try and commit suicide but I survived because God decided it wasn’t the time for me to go.”
In the interview, Maria Schneider said that she left the infamous Last Tango in Paris scene feeling as if she actually had been raped.
“I felt humiliated and to be honest, I felt a little raped, both by Marlon and by Bertolucci,” she told the Daily Mail. “After the scene, Marlon didn’t console me or apologize. Thankfully, there was just one take.”
Though Schneider opened up about the traumatic scene in her 2007 interview and Bertolucci said in his 2013 interview that it was not consensual, the Last Tango in Paris rape scene is just starting to gain attention this weekend.
Many Hollywood stars have spoken out, including some who said they had long been uncomfortable with the brutality of the rape scene.
“Ms. Schneider stated this several years ago. I used to get eye-rolls when I brought it up to people (aka dudes),” wrote actress Anna Kendrick.
There have been a number of articles on the Bertolucci’s interview, and a surge of interest for people trying to watch the Last Tango in Paris rape scene online. YouTube had a number of new videos of the scene added in the hours after Bertolucci’s 2013 interview went viral, though most were taken down for copyright infringement.
[Featured Image by United Artists]