True Grit actress Hailee Steinfeld reportedly is up for a role that will require her to undress even though she is only 14 and a minor. Depictions of minors in the nude are often construed as child pornography, even when the purpose is art.
The movie is an adaption of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet.” She signed earlier this year to take the lead role as Juliet.
But a leaked copy of the script, by writer Julian Fellowes, calls for Romeo and Juliet to undress each other until they are naked, according to Britain’s Sunday Times newspaper.
“They are eternal figures in a Raphael painting. Romeo then carries her to bed, kissing her again and again as they explore uncharted territory. Then they make love, transported into each other’s soul,” the script reads.
Fellowes defended his choice of Steinfeld for the role because she is age appropriate according to Shakespeare’s original work.
“I wanted Hailee because she is the perfect age. Juliet is at that stage of… what you might call a child/woman. Just like Hailee herself is,” he told the newspaper.
“My version is a romantic story – one that keeps pretty true to Shakespeare but is, I hope, more accessible,” he added.
Other actresses have appeared nude in movies as minors. Famously, Kiera Knightly appeared topless in the movie “The Hole,” although she was only 16.
And, actress Thora Birch was only 16 when she stripped down in “American Beauty.”
In both cases, parents gave their consent.
Although a body double could be used for the risque scene, that may not put the production on solid ground legally, since the actor would be depicting a minor child.
Legal definitions of child pornography generally include sexual images involving prepubescents and pubescent or post-pubescent minors. Even computer-generated images that appear to involve them are considered child pornography, according to legal sources.
Even Non-erotic and non-sexualized pictures showing children in their underwear and swimsuits could be deemed pornography if the photos suggest inappropriateness, according to one legal definition adopted the London Metropolitan Police and other agencies.
The movie would also undoubtedly receive a NC-17 rating, which would prevent it from being show in a wide number of theaters.
Hailee attended the MTV Movie Awards Sunday night, appropriately dressed in a black sequined suit.