Brooke Shields recalls co-star's comment to her before her underage kiss with him

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By Kim Novak

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Brooke Shields has opened up about what her co-star Keith Carradine said to her before she shared an on-screen kiss with him when she was just a child.

The actress, 57, starred in the 1978 film Pretty Baby as Violet, a child being raised in a New Orleans brothel by her mother, who is a prostitute.

The film, which is set in 1917, is based on the true account of a young girl who was forced into prostitution by her mother, which was recounted in the 1974 book Storyville, New Orleans: Being an Authentic Illustrated Account of the Notorious Red-Light District by historian Al Rose.

Although the movie was mostly praised by critics, it did cause controversy for its theme of child sexual exploitation and Shields' on-screen nudity, because she was just 11 years old when it was filmed.

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Brooke Shields had to kiss Keith Carradine when she was just 11. Credit: United Archives GmbH / Alamy

Shields starred opposite Keith Carradine, 73, who played photographer E.J. Bellocq, who had visited the brothel to photograph the sex workers and ended up taking Violet in when her mother abandoned her to move away with a man she had married, eventually beginning a sexual relationship with the child.

As well as on-screen nudity, Shields also had to kiss Carradine - who was 29 at the time - in one of the scenes.

While she has spoken out about believing she was exploited by filmmakers when she was a child, Shields had high praise for Carradine for taking "such good care" of her during the controversial scenes.

Appearing on The Drew Barrymore Show, Shields explained: "It was about these males needing me to be in a certain category [of beauty] to serve their story. And it never was about me.

"It was never protective of me. It was fun and loving at times, but it was ― I was just there. I was a pawn."

Shields's kiss with Carradine was her first kiss ever, and she praised him for how he handled it.

"Keith Carradine took such good care of me," she said. "He looked at me and he said, 'You know, this doesn’t count as a first kiss.'

"That was gracious and protective and caring on a level that I don’t even think I knew at the time. I'd never kissed a boy before."

Shields had opened up about her experiences of filming Pretty Baby in her recent Hulu documentary of the same name, revealing how she had struggled to shoot the intimate scenes.

In the documentary, she revealed that she had been reprimanded by the director, Louis Malle, after repeatedly scrunching her face up in disgust during each take.

It was Carradine who asked to take a break and pulled Shields to one side where he comforted her by explaining to her that it was "pretend" and "make-believe", which helped her ultimately get through the scene.

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She praised Keith Carradine for looking after her during the difficult scenes. Credit: Sipa US / Alamy

Lana Wilson, the documentary's director, told Rolling Stone: "This is a moment I wanted to feature and unpack because, even if child Brooke was fully cognizant of the role she was playing, and even if she realized that acting was pretend, I can’t help but think: 'This is an actual 11-year-old girl having to kiss an actual 29-year-old man.'

"That inescapably is real. And the impact of that is real, too. 11-year-old Brooke expressed discomfort during the filming of this moment, but that discomfort was not taken seriously by the director."

In a world where stars are often exposed for inappropriate behavior, it is good to know good people like Carradine still exist.

Featured image credit: SOPA Images Limited / Alamy

Brooke Shields recalls co-star's comment to her before her underage kiss with him

vt-author-image

By Kim Novak

Article saved!Article saved!

Brooke Shields has opened up about what her co-star Keith Carradine said to her before she shared an on-screen kiss with him when she was just a child.

The actress, 57, starred in the 1978 film Pretty Baby as Violet, a child being raised in a New Orleans brothel by her mother, who is a prostitute.

The film, which is set in 1917, is based on the true account of a young girl who was forced into prostitution by her mother, which was recounted in the 1974 book Storyville, New Orleans: Being an Authentic Illustrated Account of the Notorious Red-Light District by historian Al Rose.

Although the movie was mostly praised by critics, it did cause controversy for its theme of child sexual exploitation and Shields' on-screen nudity, because she was just 11 years old when it was filmed.

wp-image-1263206252 size-full
Brooke Shields had to kiss Keith Carradine when she was just 11. Credit: United Archives GmbH / Alamy

Shields starred opposite Keith Carradine, 73, who played photographer E.J. Bellocq, who had visited the brothel to photograph the sex workers and ended up taking Violet in when her mother abandoned her to move away with a man she had married, eventually beginning a sexual relationship with the child.

As well as on-screen nudity, Shields also had to kiss Carradine - who was 29 at the time - in one of the scenes.

While she has spoken out about believing she was exploited by filmmakers when she was a child, Shields had high praise for Carradine for taking "such good care" of her during the controversial scenes.

Appearing on The Drew Barrymore Show, Shields explained: "It was about these males needing me to be in a certain category [of beauty] to serve their story. And it never was about me.

"It was never protective of me. It was fun and loving at times, but it was ― I was just there. I was a pawn."

Shields's kiss with Carradine was her first kiss ever, and she praised him for how he handled it.

"Keith Carradine took such good care of me," she said. "He looked at me and he said, 'You know, this doesn’t count as a first kiss.'

"That was gracious and protective and caring on a level that I don’t even think I knew at the time. I'd never kissed a boy before."

Shields had opened up about her experiences of filming Pretty Baby in her recent Hulu documentary of the same name, revealing how she had struggled to shoot the intimate scenes.

In the documentary, she revealed that she had been reprimanded by the director, Louis Malle, after repeatedly scrunching her face up in disgust during each take.

It was Carradine who asked to take a break and pulled Shields to one side where he comforted her by explaining to her that it was "pretend" and "make-believe", which helped her ultimately get through the scene.

wp-image-1263206272 size-full
She praised Keith Carradine for looking after her during the difficult scenes. Credit: Sipa US / Alamy

Lana Wilson, the documentary's director, told Rolling Stone: "This is a moment I wanted to feature and unpack because, even if child Brooke was fully cognizant of the role she was playing, and even if she realized that acting was pretend, I can’t help but think: 'This is an actual 11-year-old girl having to kiss an actual 29-year-old man.'

"That inescapably is real. And the impact of that is real, too. 11-year-old Brooke expressed discomfort during the filming of this moment, but that discomfort was not taken seriously by the director."

In a world where stars are often exposed for inappropriate behavior, it is good to know good people like Carradine still exist.

Featured image credit: SOPA Images Limited / Alamy