Brooke Shields says child prostitute film Pretty Baby ‘wouldn’t be made now’ and ‘that’s a tremendous loss’

Actor says film is ‘one of the most beautiful’ she has ever starred in

Ellie Harrison
Saturday 11 December 2021 12:26
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Brooke Shields has reflected on playing a child prostitute in the 1978 film Pretty Baby.

The American actor, now 56, was 11 when she starred in Louis Malle’s film as a child who grows up in a brothel and is then auctioned off to the highest bidder.

She was filmed naked and her mother, Teri, received widespread criticism for allowing her daughter to be in the film.

Speaking in a new interview with The Times Magazine, Shields said she believes elements of post-#MeToo protectiveness have gone too far.

“I think it’s too much,” she said. “You look at movies such as Pretty Baby, you look at Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet or you look at any coming of age movie that Louis Malle did, like Au Revoir les Enfants or Lacombe, Lucien or whatever. There was always a sexual element to them.

“Maybe the movies I did wouldn’t be made now because of such censorship, and that’s a tremendous loss. Pretty Baby is one of the most beautiful movies I’ve ever been in and I will defend it for ever.

“I wrote my thesis on it and I’m proud of it.”

Chicago Sun-Times critic Roger Ebert, who gave the film three stars out of four, discussed at the time of its release how “Pretty Baby has been attacked in some quarters as child porn. It’s not. It’s an evocation of a time and a place and a sad chapter of Americana.” He also praised Shields’ performance, writing that she “... really creates a character here; her subtlety and depth are astonishing”.

Shields was being interviewed to promote her new film, A Castle for Christmas, which is available now on Netflix.

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