Bernardo Bertolucci Issues Statement On ‘Last Tango In Paris’ Rape Scene After Backlash Over Unearthed Interview

The backlash over the famous “butter rape” scene from Last Tango in Paris has been intense. After an old interview came to light about the controversial scene and how it was shot, director Bernardo Bertolucci has released a statement in his attempt to clear up misconceptions about what really happened during filming.

Over the weekend, a clip from a 2013 interview with Bertolucci surfaced, and its contents upset a lot of people, including many celebrities. Outrage grew over revelations about how Bernardo Bertolucci and Marlon Brando colluded to film the shocking Last Tango in Paris rape scene without the consent of Brando’s co-star Maria Schneider.

Several celebs took to Twitter to blast the famous director after hearing the shocking details in Bernardo Bertolucci’s years-old interview. The response to his admission about how the scene was filmed had some actors so upset that even his clarification that his interview was misunderstood may not appease them.

Marlon Brando and Maria Schneider, 1972 [Image by MGM]

On Monday, Bernardo Bertolucci issued a response to the backlash and attempted to explain what he and Marlon Brando were trying to do while shooting the infamous rape scene. It turns out that Maria Schneider was not surprise raped on the set of Last Tango in Paris, nor was she raped at all. Bertolucci explained that it was the infamous use of butter as a lubricant that was the surprise, not a planned attack by an award-winning director and actor.

“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],” the director said in Italian in a statement obtained and translated by Variety. “That is where the misunderstanding lies.”

Bertolucci then said, “Maria knew everything because she had read the script, where it was all described.”

It seems that Bertolucci’s statement is contradicting an earlier interview given by the late Maria Schneider. Unfortunately, neither she or Marlon Brando are around to clear up misconceptions about their roles in Last Tango in Paris.

“They only told me about it before we had to film the scene, and I was so angry,” Schneider said in a 2007 interview with the Daily Mail. “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.”

Maria Schneider did clarify in that same interview that the sex scenes from Last Tango In Paris were not real. The infamous “butter rape” scene was shot in just one take, much to the relief of Schneider, whose major complaint was that the film’s director, Bernardo Bertolucci, had manipulated her to the point of humiliation.

Bertolucci admitted to manipulating Schneider in the unearthed 2013 interview. It was the way he described his intentional manipulation that sparked so much anger, much of it from other celebrities.

“I’ve 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,” the director said in the 2013 interview. “I wanted her to react and she felt humiliated … she’d shout, ‘no, no.'”

“I still feel very guilty for that.” Bertolucci continued. “I feel guilty but I do not regret. You know, to make movies, sometimes, to obtain something, I think that we have to be completely freed. I didn’t want Maria to ‘act’ her humiliation, her rage. I wanted Maria to feel, not to act, the rage and humiliation. Then she hated me for all life.”

[Featured Image by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images]

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