Actors voice disgust over Last Tango in Paris rape scene confession

Marlon Brando and Maria Schneider in the 1972 film Last Tango in Paris.
Marlon Brando and Maria Schneider in the 1972 film Last Tango in Paris. PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM YOUTUBE

The film industry has reacted with disgust at the admission from a director that one of the most notorious rape scenes in modern film history was shot without prior consent from the actress involved, reported British newspaper The Guardian.

Director of the film Last Tango in Paris, Bernardo Bertolucci, said he conspired with actor Marlon Brando to film a graphic rape scene without the consent of actress Maria Schneider. At the time of shooting, Brando was 48 years old and Schneider was 19.

Last Tango in Paris tells the story of a man who enters into an anonymous affair after his 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.

In a video interview filmed in 2013 but only recently posted online, Bertolucci confessed he felt guilty about his treatment of Schneider, who died of cancer in 2011.

The Guardian reported that Bertolucci describes how he and Brando conspired to shoot an assault by Brando's character in the 1972 film using a stick of butter as lubricant to rape his lover played by the late actress - a detail that had not been 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".

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."

Bertolucci faced a backlast from actors on Sunday (Dec 4).

Marvel Comics actor Chris Evans tweeted: "Wow. I will never look at this film, Bertolucci or Brando the same way again. This is beyond disgusting. I feel rage."

The award-winning screenwriter and director Ava DuVernay called the move "inexcusable". She tweeted: "As a director, I can barely fathom this. As a woman, I am horrified, disgusted and enraged by it."

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."

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.