A 2013 interview of director Bernardo Bertolucci reveals that the infamous “butter rape” scene in Last Tango in Paris was not consensual.
In the surfaced video, Bertolucci admitted that he conspired with Marlon Brando to do the scene without Maria knowing. The two also devised the plan to use butter as lubricant. “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,” Bertolucci says. “I wanted her to react humiliated. I think she hated me and also Marlon because we didn’t tell her.”
If you’ve seen the film and saw how hard Maria was crying there, that definitely wasn’t acting.
Bertolucci adds that while he felt guilty for not telling Maria, he didn’t regret his decision to capture the scene that way. “To obtain something I think you have to be completely free,” Bertolucci said. “I didn’t want Maria to act her humiliation her rage, I wanted her to Maria to feel, not to act, the rage and humiliation. Then she hated me for all of her life.”
After the movie’s release, Maria continued to work on films in Paris, but never shot another nude scene. In an interview with the Daily Mailin 2007, she recounted the horrible scene and said that she felt violated. “I felt humiliated and to be honest, I felt a little raped, both by Marlon and by Bertolucci,” she writes. “After the scene, Marlon didn’t console me or [apologize]. Thankfully, there was just one take.”