The Ghost Writer on Arte: Roman Polanski finished the film in prison!

Find out how and why Roman Polanski had to complete the editing of his film “The Ghost Writer” behind prison bars.

Arte is broadcasting this evening the 19th feature film directed by Roman Polanski, the spy thriller The Ghost Writer, worn by Ewan McGregor. But did you know that in the middle of post-production, the filmmaker was arrested and had to finish the film behind bars?

On September 27, 2009, Roman Polanski traveled to Zurich in Switzerland to attend the Film Festival. He is at this time in the middle of editing work on The Ghost Writer, the story of a “negro writer” hired to complete the memoirs of a former British Prime Minister and discovers that the previous writer hired has died in mysterious circumstances.

When he got off the plane in Zurich, Polanski was suddenly taken into custody. This arrest of the filmmaker, who is under the effect of an American international warrant, is permitted via a treaty of extradition formerly passed between Switzerland and the United States.

Why is he arrested?

Pathé Distribution

Ewan McGregor in “The Ghost Writer”

Accused of raping a 13-year-old girl in 1977, Polanski was sentenced at the time to 90 days in prison, and released after 42 days for good behavior. The judge then decided that the punishment had not been severe enough. It was in response to this reversal that the filmmaker fled justice in the United States to settle in France, a country which has always refused his extradition.

Two versions then clash. In the documentary Wanted and Desired, it is explained that Polanski fled a new court order to avoid an abuse of authority by the judge then in charge of the case. Another version claims that the filmmaker would have fled a much harsher sentence.

Be that as it may, when he was arrested in September 2009, the Franco-Polish director was imprisoned for two months, during which he continued to work with his editor, based in Paris. On December 4, after paying 4.5 million Swiss francs (about the same amount in euros), he was released but remained under house arrest while waiting to find out if he was going to be sent to the United States for trial. .

Finish the movie at all costs


Roman Polansky

And during all this period, he finishes The Ghost Writer. At the microphone ofAbuse of cinemathe producer of the film Robert Benmusa says:

When [Roman Polanski] was shut down at the end of September, so the film was almost finished. And despite his incarceration, he continued to work through letters and packages, then from his chalet… He managed to put the last touches to obtain the final copy.

Quoted by The Parisianthe producer details: “Roman was not subject to secrecy. People could visit him in prison. He was sent DVDs of the film which he could watch on the computer. He analyzed them meticulously, then he sent notes to Hervé de Luze to help him with the editing. These exchanges multiplied for two months.”

On March 3, 2010, while its director was still under house arrest, The Ghost Writer was released in France and attracted 1 million spectators. Worldwide, he collected 60 million dollars for a budget of 45. Roman Polanski won the Silver Bear for Best Director at the Berlin Festival and 4 Césars, including Best Director.

On July 12, 2010, he was totally released when Switzerland refused to extradite him to the United States.

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