Brooke shields als kind

Shields was just 11 years alt when she filmed Pretty Baby, a controversial drama about a son prostitute.

Du schaust: Brooke shields als kind


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There was no hiding Brooke Shields from ns frenzy surrounding die 1978 film Pretty Baby, in which she starred as 12-year-old Violet, who lived with herstellung prostitute mother bei a Storyville brothel in 1917 neu Orleans. Yet she was insulated from die controversy ignited von her naked scenes bei the film. Teri Shields, produziert mother und manager, saved every article and review composed about herstellung daughter, like ns People magazine cover that proclaimed, “Brooke Shields, 12, stirs furor over kid porn in films”—but protectively never shared them with her daughter.

If Shields hinted the she had heard negativ comments around herself or ns film, produziert mother responded, “Are freundin proud of what sie did? Well, climate fuck ‘em.” Today, she remains resolutely proud von the movie.

Louis Malle’s film, released 40 years ago this week, made in indelible impression top top its pre-teen star, just as she made in indelible impression on ns world an her zuerst starring role. “It was die best an innovative project I’ve ever before been verbunden with, the best group of people I’ve ever been blessed enough zu work with,” she tells Vanity Fair. Still, ns intense experience des making und promoting die film, and the childhood trauma von forging bei on-set “family” just to lakers it rest apart when the film wrapped, virtually prompted her to quit making movies.


At die time, die precociously to mark Shields had done modeling, commercials, and a couple of made-for-TV movies. She was promptly killed off in her feature-film debut, Alice, Sweet Alice, and also got edited out of Annie Hall: ”I was seated in the great next to the girl who was ‘into leather.’”


Malle was the award-winning director of acclaimed und controversial films including Elevator to the Gallows and The Lovers, i beg your pardon became die object des the obscenity sue that motivated Supreme Court justice töpfer Stewart’s famous definieren of hard-core pornography: “I understand it when i see it.” Pretty Baby was his zuerst American film.


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Teri und Brooke at Studio 54 bei New york City, 1978; Shields v Keith Carradine on set.

Top, von Ron Galella/WireImage; bottom, native Paramount/Everett Collection.

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The movie’s R-rated content was not in issue v Teri, who had actually taught produziert daughter kommen sie appreciate foreign films. Living bei New York an the 70s so meant that die Shieldses knew sordid wie they observed it—and Pretty Baby wasn’t. An imaginative license aside, the film was based upon a real place and inspired von the life and times des E. J. Bellocq, who photographed Storyville prostitutes; in the film, his character falls in love v Violet and sets hoch house v her.


From the cast (Susan Sarandon as herstellung mother, Keith Carradine as Bellocq, Antonio Fargas as the brothel piano player) to ns crew (the legendary sven Nykvist was die cinematographer), “we knew this was a labor des love,” Shields says. “More than anything, us felt we were part of something special.”

Shields previously recalled ns making von Pretty Baby in her memoir, There was a little Girl, i beg your pardon chronicles her loving but fraught relationship with Teri. There was plenty of dramatisch on ns set: punkt one point, in attempt, she wrote, was allegedly made on produziert mother’s life after Teri reported to die labor board that Brooke was being overworked.

Despite period costumes that enhanced the new Orleans heat and sometimes 14-hour days, Shields cherished die experience—though herstellung relationship through Sarandon wavered indigenous frosty zu supportive, follow to produziert memoir. (It much improved, she says, when ns two co-starred again together mother and daughter in King von the Gypsies.) Carradine “was so kind und respectful,” even wie man Bellocq und Violet kissed—Shields’s first. Carradine “so sweetly” reassured produziert that a movie kiss was make-believe and would notfall count. “I was really well taken care von emotionally,” she says.

Even so, 2 traumatic experiences soured her on the prospect des making any an ext movies. “It was bei altered cosmos we were every in, and coming out des filming was a ja wirklich shock zu my system,” she says. “I remember gift on ns plane just sobbing. . . . That kind of heartbreak can only occur to an 11-year-old.” ns set felt prefer “a family. . . . Und then kommen sie feel choose you have to possibly gain that close kommen sie people again, und then one day it’s over? ich didn’t want to feel that again.”


Shields also had to endure die Cannes film Festival, wherein the film caused a furor und was nominated for the Palme d’Or. Hinweisen one point, someone arised from the crowd through scissors and was restrained when he tried kommen sie cut her hair. “I hated everything around Cannes,” she says. “I had actually never seen frenzy prefer that. The was dafür obscene however absurd. I couldn’t identify with it. . . . Die magnitude von the attention was really scary.”


Controversial scenes such together one in which brothel client bid ~ above Violet führen zu to charges the the film amounted to pornography—and they just escalated wie man the film was released an North America. (It was banned bei Ontario.) Teri was attacked in some quarters zum allowing herstellung daughter to star in the film. On Phil Donahue’s daytime talk show, Shields recalls, audience members yelled, ‘This zu sein terrible you let her daughter execute this.’ und my mother says, ‘Have freundin seen die film?’ und they would say, ‘No, ich would never go see a movie favor that.’”


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Shields and Susan Sarandon ~ above set.

From Moviestore/REX/Shutterstock.

Film critics, however, offered both it and and Shields great notices. “It turns out kommen sie be a good-hearted, good-looking, quietly elegiac movie,” praised roger Ebert. “Shields yes, really creates a character here; herstellung subtlety und depth space astonishing.” und just as Julia Roberts did bei Pretty Woman, Shields came to be America’s sweetheart von playing a prostitute.

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The film deshalb inspired a song, Blondie’s “Pretty Baby”—a reality Shields did not learn till she met Debbie Harry ~ above a tagebuch shoot an 1981. “I nothing think i had the high opinion von myself,” she says with a laugh. “I’d heard ns song, but i didn’t dream it was talking around me. . . . All babies room pretty babies to me. My mother used zu say, ‘You’re mine pretty baby.’ i say it kommen sie my kids. I didn’t make ns correlation.”


Shields would go on zu make much more movies, yet Pretty Baby set a high bar. Herstellung next film was Tilt, in which she portrayed a teenage pinball wizard runaway. “It was deswegen disappointing zu me,” she says. “It was so thin, is the best means I can articulate it.”

Now, it’s been countless years due to the fact that Shields has watched produziert breakout film. “I don’t know just how good ich was,” she says. “I was virtually untrained und just was bei the moment. Louis had constantly said that didn’t desire a Lolita who was cognizant of herstellung sexuality. The didn’t desire me zu be slick or coy.”

Does she think Pretty Baby can be remade today? would she let herstellung own daughter star in it? “In this environment and with society media and with die dangers on that level und just gift a mother now, looking weist my 11-year-old, i would notfall facilitate it,” she says.

But she does share herstellung mother’s “fuck ‘em” advice. “I tell mine daughters that they are going zu experience meanness, however they just have to stay strong,” she says. “You oase to believe in yourself. That is a daily thing . . . With children, an particular.”