Brooke Shields Explains The 1 Remark That Made Her Feel Safe Kissing A Man At Age 11

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Brooke Shields and Keith Carradine at the 2008 Tony Awards.
Brooke Shields and Keith Carradine at the 2008 Tony Awards.

Brooke Shields and Keith Carradine at the 2008 Tony Awards.

Brooke Shields is praising an adult who she says “took such good care” of her when she was being sexualized as a child actor.

The “Suddenly Susan” star said on “The Drew Barrymore Show” Tuesday that she felt male filmmakers exploited her when she was a kid. 

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

But Brookes credited one man in Hollywood who didn’t fit that description: her “Pretty Baby” co-star Keith Carradine.

Shields was 11 when she starred as a child exploited by the sex trade in the controversial 1978 film. Carradine, now 73, was in his late 20s when he played a man who ends up marrying Shields’ character.

Shields told Barrymore that her first kiss was the one her and Carradine’s characters shared in “Pretty Baby.”

“Keith Carradine took such good care of me,” Shields said.

She told Barrymore what Carradine said to her before they shot their kissing scene: “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,” Shields said, adding that up to that point she had “never kissed a boy before.”

Shields elaborates on shooting the kissing scene in her Hulu documentary, also called “Pretty Baby,” which was released earlier this month. In the documentary, Shields says she struggled while filming the intimate scene, and that the movie’s director, Louis Malle, was callous about her unease. Shields says she kept scrunching up her face in revulsion during each take, for which Malle reprimanded her.

Eventually, Carradine asked to take a beat, pulled Shields aside and soothed her by telling her that it was “pretend” and “make-believe” — which was exactly what she needed to hear to get through the scene. 

In an interview with Rolling Stone, the documentary’s director, Lana Wilson, said: “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,” Wilson went on. “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.”

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