Fuck Bertolucci forever for that scene (Schneider wasn’t even made aware the scene itself was happening until the day of) and double fuck Brando forever for going through with it without letting her know at any point.
I mean obviously it’s nice that he was very progressive in a lot of ways, and there’s an endless amount of anecdotes of him pissing off directors, producers, and actors that are too far up their own ass or too controlling, which is always great great.
I’ll say the obvious and point out what that says a lot that the latter is a much bigger part of why he was held in a “negative” light by Hollywood instead of the former - NO ONE believed Maria Schneider’s account of the former and this had a huge effect on her career. That said, IIRC her and Brando did remain friends for a long time after. This always made me wonder, Bertolucci never actually told this story until years after both Schneider and Brando died so like, triple fuck Bertolucci.
Schneider herself did a lot of work to advocate for women to get more creative roles in films and actually get into the director’s seat, which was overshadowed at the time since people only really focused on her as a sex symbol and as a drug addict because people are trash. Like what Bertolucci+Brando did was revealed years ago by her, but it just wasn’t “revealed” as in publicly believed until the Twittersphere “discovered” a 2013 interview with Bertolucci like three years ago.
My favorite instance of the latter is definitely when Brando was briefly on screen with Ron Perlman in The Island of Dr. Moreau. I forget which podcast but Ron Pearlman has an incredible anecdote about working with Brando and how awestruck/intimidated he was with doing so. Anyway early on they’re shooting the scene where Perlman’s SAYER OF THE LAW character and Brando are together and Brando says shit about the sun’s rays being bad for you and then Perlman Says the Law and like the day they filmed it everyone gets into place and right before they start shooting out of nowhere Brando’s like wait wait wait this guy? while pointing at Perlman, who is this idiot, what’s his point just get him out of here man.
Steve (Richard Frankenheimer was directing at this point but Brando was just calling him whatever name to fuck with him because Frankenheimer was an asshole to the rest of the cast) what are you doin’ to me man just get rid of this guy.
And Perlman was of course devastated and terrified by this but after much consternation they convince him that it’s okay for Perlman to be there and he’s part of the story and they do like a bazillion takes of this scene at Brando’s insistence and he delivers everything the EXACT same way every time. Anyway like hours and hours later they finally get it and then out of nowhere Brando’s turns to Perlman and is like, wait, are you blind? Are you playing it blind? And he’s like yeah the character’s blind and Brando’s like this kid’s a genius get the camera back up we gotta do this again this is a whole new thing it’s like new worlds man and they do like another few takes where there’s zero difference in anything and afterwards Brando was gushing to Pearlman about how cool he is and how they need to hang out and talk about music and stuff.