There is no doubt in my mind that she was the epitomy of what Juliet should look like and act like. A stroke of genius of casting on Zeffirelli's part. Her natural beauty was unmatched, her freshness, exuberance, the still child-like quality that suited the fourteen year-old she was portraying. I was so sorry she had such a short career. Does anyone have recent pictures of her ? The last I saw of her, in a magazine, she was going to portray Mother Teresa for a television series and had been horribly aged for the part. I don't even know if the series was eventually produced. She was also the perfect Mary in Jesus of Nazareth, again because of that quality of a combination of innocence and strength. I absolutely adored her ! I know she would probably never compare to the great actresses of the caliber of say, Merryl Streep, but we need actresses with that kind of artless innocence. Kind of like Nastasja Kinski, Genevieve Bujold. Alas, their career seems to peak too early. Are there any equivalent very young women these days ? I guess Scarlett Johanson in her first movies.
"The girl was more a problem. I had seen Olivia early on in the tests. She had some talent, but she was unfortunately overweight, clumsy-looking and bit her nails constantly - hardly the delicate Juliet I dreamt of. My first choice was a really beautiful girl who stood up because of her sensational hair, a golden cascade that was her best feature. I called her back a month later for a second test, but, when she walked in, my heart sank. The unisex era was just dawning and she had had her golden locks trimmed to look like a boy's. I was almost in tears, not merely because I had lost my Juliet but also because she had lost her chance of a lifetime ... In desperation I summoned back some of those I had earlier rejected and that was how I stumbled on the amazing transformation of Olivia. She was a new woman: she has lost weight dramatically. Her magnificent bone structure was becoming apparent, with those wide expressive eyes and her whole angular self. She was now the real Juliet, a gawky colt of a girl waiting for life to begin. I had my cast."
Apparently he also thought she was putting on too much weight and ordered pasta to be banned from the set! :P
Glittery Bug, thanks so much for the background. The only story I remember was that he was concerned about her being a bit cross-eyed, as you can clearly see in the picture above. But most great beauties have something a bit assymetrical, a bit "wrong" with them. She is heartbreakingly gorgeous, as if she were wearing her soul on her face, with nothing in between. And the color of those eyes, grey-green, and so pure...
I wonder whatever happened to the other girl ? If she was so beautiful, she would have been beautiful with short hair also and could have gotten roles that called for short hair, a la Jean Seberg...
I just read the interviews, thanks so much. Do you know of any recent photographs of her ? What a strange life she has led, so unsettled. But meditation beats drugs as a way to find inner peace, bless her heart !
Olivia was and still embodies beauty in the most pristine, wistful, and captivating way. Even as a straight girl, I was immediately mesmerized by her eyes in Romeo and Juliet. She is quite possibly the most beautiful woman I have ever seen.
Oh, the power of movie stars ! I named my first daughter Natacha in double homage to Audrey Hepburn playing Natacha in War and Peace. Both the actress and the character she embodied were my ideal representation of femininity, grace, and the best combination of delicacy and strength of character that would leave her armed for life with the best qualities a woman has to offer.
I bet, being named Juliet, you must be a lot like Juliet-Olivia, passionate, as pure as fire and of the spirit of fire, intense, absolute (a poor translation for the very complimentary French word "entière", meaning you don't make compromises with your ideals). I bet you must feel you have to live up to the expectations the name has conferred on you too !