Michele Morrone Says He ‘Understands the Controversy’ Surrounding ‘365 Days’ Portrayal of Sex Trafficking, Rape

Michele Morrone Reacts to 365 Days Backlash
Michele Morrone Massimo Insabato/Shutterstock

Hearing fans out. Michele Morrone addressed the backlash over 365 Days portrayal of sex trafficking and rape and reminded fans it’s all make believe on set.

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“I think it’s important to remember that this film is based on a work of fiction,” Morrone, 29, told E! News on Saturday, August 8. “365 Days was a very successful book in Poland before it was made into a movie. When an audience watches a film, I think they know what they see on screen is not always real, but my job as an actor is to make it feel real, to make you connect to Massimo even though he is a mob boss.”

After hitting Netflix in June, the erotic drama received negative criticism from some and sparked a Change.org petition calling for the film to be taken off the streaming site. It has received more than 85,000 signatures.

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Singer Duffy, who recently revealed that she was kidnapped and raped, wrote an open letter to Netflix demanding it be dropped from its catalog. The “Mercy” singer claimed that the movie “glamorizes the brutal reality of sex trafficking, kidnapping and rape.”

Michele Morrone Reacts to 365 Days Backlash
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The Italian actor, however, said that it is just acting. He also noted that he doesn’t condone the actions of his character in the real world.

“I trust the audience to know that this movie is a fantasy,” he continued. “Sometimes we watch movies and we cheer for the ‘bad guy,’ but we still know he’s a bad guy who is doing bad things, and, of course, this behavior is completely unacceptable in real life.”

In the film, Marrone’s character Massimo Torricelli is a Sicilian gangster who tracks down a Polish woman, Laura Biel (Anna-Maria Sieklucka), and holds her prisoner. During a 365-day period, he temps her with money and a luxurious lifestyle in order to help her fall in love with him, but vows to release her if she doesn’t love him by the end of the year. The two also engage in sadomasochistic sex at multiple locations.

The Trial actor explained that good or bad, the movie has created a buzz, which can be used as a catalyst to discuss the real danger of sexual violence.

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“I understand the controversy, and I am glad we are talking about it,” Marrone said. “I think we have to be careful not to limit art from being created, so I wouldn’t say we shouldn’t allow a fictional movie like this to exist, because then what about films that are about war, crimes, murders, and, yes, celebrated mob movies?”

He added: “This film is not meant to minimize the reality of sexual violence in the world. I do not want people to think this behavior is OK. It is not. I think it’s good that the movie is causing people to talk about these issues, so we can create more awareness about them in our society.”

Netflix has yet to comment on the controversial film.

If you or anyone you know has been sexually abused, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673). A trained staff member will provide confidential, judgment-free support as well as local resources to assist in healing, recovering and more.

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