Early this week, a resurfaced 2013 interview of Last Tango in Paris director, Bernardo Bertolucci drew outrage after he admitted conspiring with actor Marlon Brando to rape actress Maria Schneider with a butter stick while filming a scene.
In the 2013 interview, Bertolucci said the idea of the rape scene between Brando and Schneider came when the director was having breakfast with the former.
“We were having, with Marlon [Brando], breakfast on the floor of the flat where I was shooting,” he said. “There was a baguette, there was butter and we looked at each other and, without saying anything, we knew what we wanted.”
The director confessed that they did not tell Schneider that she was going to be raped with a butter stick during the scene.
“I didn’t want Maria to act her humiliation, her rage,” he said. “I wanted Maria to feel, not to act, the rage and humiliation. Then she hated me for her whole life.”
Hollywood celebrities reacted over the said confession this week, after the video had resurfaced, expressing outrage and disgust.
In a statement released Monday, Dec. 5, the Italian director defends himself over the issue.
“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,” Bertolucci said.
“Several years ago at the Cinemathèque Francaise someone asked me for details on the famous ‘butter scene,’” the statement read. “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,” according to Bertolucci. “Somebody thought, and thinks, that Maria had not been informed about the violence on her. That is false!”
He added that “Maria knew everything because she had read the script, where it was all described. The only novelty was the idea of the butter. And that, as I learned many years later, offended Maria. Not the violence that she is subjected to in the scene, which was written in the screenplay.”
Before Schneider died in 2011, she had spoken out about the infamous Last Tango in Paris scene, saying that she “felt humiliated” and “felt a little raped, both by Marlon and by Bertolucci.”
She added: “After the scene, Marlon didn’t console me or apologize. Thankfully, there was just one take.”