Child Actress Forced Into Real-Life Romance While Making Iconic Movie

Brooke Shields revealed Randal Kleiser tried to force her to fall in love with her The Blue Lagoon co-star, Christopher Atkins.

By Parker James | Published

the blue lagoon brooke shields

It’s a known fact that young love is ripe in all forms of media. Going back to the original Romeo and Juliet, the various retellings of the Bonnie and Clyde story, and any novel in the YA section of your local bookstore. What is not as known is the forced real-life romance between The Blue Lagoon (1980) stars Brooke Shields and Christopher Atkins when Brooke Shields was only 14 years old, and Christopher Atkins was 18. 

In an interview posted on Movie Web, Brooke Shields said – 

“They wanted us so desperately to fall in love with each other. I did not react well to being forced into feeling anything. I hadn’t even kissed anybody by that age.” 

Brook Shields claims that Randal Kleiser pushed for the stars to have a real-life romance. Now how exactly Kleiser might have gone about this is up to the cast and crew to know and for the rest of the world to find out. To date, Kleiser has not released a statement about the allegation. However, given his focus on the movie’s plot, the extreme lack of clothing, and the importance he placed on a child sunbathing nude, there might have been more going on than just Kleiser wanting the stars to show great on-screen chemistry. 

The odd push on a real-life relationship did stop there either. Director Randal Kleiser wanted the pair of actors to have a full body tan the moment they got to the film’s location which meant that Brooke Shields and Christopher Atkins had to sunbathe naked with only a makeshift wall separating legal adult Atkins from literal child Brook. There were also several scenes where, again, legal adult, Atkins was fully naked in front of Brook Shields. 

There is no nice way to put this but, The Blue Lagoon is laced with controversy, and is fair to say that the on-screen romance was bizarre and could have been illegal. The film follows two cousins, nine-year-old Richard and seven-year-old Emmeline Lestrange as they are shipwrecked on a South Pacific island. Years pass on the island and as puberty hits, so does strange incestuous love. 

When the cousins reach puberty, they go skinny dipping in the ocean. First Emmeline (Brooke Shields) is turned off by Richard’s advance but she gives in and they end up having sex, which results in Emmeline getting pregnant. The movie ends with the pair attempting to commit suicide while adrift at sea by eating poisonous berries found on the South Pacific Island. Richard’s father finds the pair alive on a small rowboat in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, though they could also be dead from eating the berries. Though some might consider The Blue Lagoon to be a classic, it might not be the right “movie night” selection.

Now there are a lot of bizarre details to gloss over in The Blue Lagoon, but the most controversial one is that there is a scene that depicts Brook Shields completely nude. A body double was used in the scene but that doesn’t change the fact that there is a movie today that depicts what appears to be a 14-year-old girl completely naked. 

Atkins and Shields also noted that there were unbelievable safety concerns when it came to just about everything. Cuts, bug bites, infections from the seawater, and at one point Brooke Shields contracted pneumonia but the filming went on. Clearly, The Blue Lagoon was not a movie that Shields is going to fondly remember at all.