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Leonard Whiting in a television interview with journalist Sergey Sholohov. 1995, London

(Courtesy Olia, Vladimir and Helena)

 

 

Leonard: I think, I was selected probably because I was already an actor at that moment, and the expression of my face was pleasant. Franco simply said, I was very pretty.

Sholohov: When you played Romeo, and Olivia was Juliet, all of the people in Russia thought, that after filming such a film, in which both of you die, that in actual life you should probably get married. Why has it not taken place?

Leonard: It is very strange, because we have never spoken to western journalists about the truth. We madly liked one another, or, at least, I was madly in love with her. But our paths in life have not coincided, unfortunately. No one understands it, but it was the truth. I liked her very much. Olivia did not have to do any tests for movie. She was so beautiful, that the director just looked at her and said: " She is my Juliet!" It needed to sustain a test for Romeo and only after seeing the test frames the director said: " Yes! That is the person I need to play Romeo." 300 other people wanted to play Romeo, but he selected me.

Sholohov: I know you had to kill Tybalt in this film.

Leonard: It was not my personal feeling.

Sholohov: I understand. What did you prefer? - to kill or to be killed?

Leonard: For me it is all the same, perhaps. If it is in the script, and if it is important, it doesn’t matter to me.

Sholohov: Mr Whiting, in one of the scenes in the film you played naked. Were there problems in the English puritan society - to see a naked actor 27 years back?

Leonard: I don't think, it was all that problematic. A unique problem I had was that I would freeze up during these scenes.. We did not offend anybody’s feelings, displaying such scenes. Franco thought the scenes were - one of manifestations of beauty, sensuality and visual interest in the differences between Romeo and Juliet. At first he asked: " Do you agree play naked? " We had said - no, no, no! But he so implored, that we finally agreed.

Sholohov: Were there any scandalous notes in the press? Can be you accused of immorality?

Leonard: No, scandals were noted. But everyone aspired to show this scene in a photo, because they thought people would like the differences between Romeo and Juliet, and that there was a naked boy and a girl. Besides I didn't tell anybody, that I liked this girl. I think, she liked me also.

Sholohov: Mr. Whiting, Do you have a wife, or children, or do you live alone?

Leonard: I have two daughters. One daughter lives in America, in the state of Connecticut and she studies the history of arts. The other daughter learns here at school. If you want to see something beautiful, one of the most beautiful creatures in world, see her. Her name is Katie Scarlet O'Hara, because she is very similar to Vivian Lee on film. She cares for me as a daughter. I am married--for the last time. We have been married for two months back. I am very happy. My wife is the perfect woman.

Sholohov: Will you go on a wedding trip?

Leonard: Yes, to Granade, Caribbean islands with my oldest daughter (23 years old). She has a multinational parentage: American-Indian, German, French, Irish.

Sholohov: And are you a true Englishman?

Leonard: Fifty-fifty – I am of English and Irish parentage. But I also have in me some Gypsy blood.

Sholohov: Gypsy blood? That is probably why you have so much energy?

Leonard: Yes, I think it so. Sometimes I can not remain long in one place, it is necessary for me to move all the time.

Sholohov: If you had a choice between an interesting, but exciting life or a correct, but boring life, what would be your choice?

Leonard: I would select the correct, but boring life. In this world there is a lot of gloomy darkness. I think we need more light, like Romeo and Juliet. Many people liked this film, but for me it wasn't only a professional discovery, but also something light, as the window of a light. In world that should have more light and understanding. All people, even small children, should use their imagination more to imagine another world. Therefore I think that the actor - artist should cause people to use their imagination and to try to create light windows in common darkness.