Last Tango in Paris butter rape scene: Director Bernardo Bertolucci responds to ‘ridiculous misunderstanding’

'Maria knew everything because she had read the script, where it was all described'

Christopher Hooton
Tuesday 06 December 2016 09:16 GMT

Last Tango in Paris director Bernardo Bertolucci has issued a statement in response to the outrage over the infamous butter rape scene involving actors Marlon Brando and Maria Schneider, insisting the violence was always in the script and that it was only the butter element that was improvised.

“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,” he said (via Variety).

“Several years ago at the Cinemathèque Francaise someone asked me for details on the famous ‘butter scene’.

“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.

The scene in question (viewers discretion advised):

“Somebody thought, and thinks, that Maria had not been informed about the violence on her. That is false!” he continued.

“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,”

After a video of Bertolucci discussing the scene in 2013 resurfaced this week, Hollywood reacted with anger. Jessica Chastain accused Marlon Brando of “rape”, while Chris Evans said Brando and Bertolucci “should be in jail”.

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