Here’s some controversy for you. Eva Green and French star Emmanuelle Seigner have been cast in the psychological thriller Based on a True Story which is based on the prizewinning French novel D’apres une histoire vraie by Delphine de Vigan. The book is available in English translation.
Acclaimed director Olivier Assayas, named the best director at Cannes for Personal Shopper starring Kristen Stewart, is co-writing the film. So where’s the controversy? Assayas is writing the film with Roman Polanski who directs. Polanski is almost as famous for raping a 13 year old girl in Los Angeles in 1977 and fleeing to France to escape imprisonment as he is for directing Rosemary’s Baby and Chinatown, or for being the husband of Sharon Tate, the pregnant actress brutally slaughtered by the Manson Family. The director served just 42 days before he was released on bail pending sentencing.
Based on a True Story tells the tale of an obsessive admirer (Eva Green) who tries to control a writer. The author is played by Emmanuelle Seigner, the French actress and Polanski’s wife who starred in Polanski’s 2013 Venus in Fur. The two have been married since 1989.
The film will start shooting in France in November. Just a reminder that Polanski can not return to the USA where he would be immediately arrested. Also a reminder that unlike Woody Allen, these are not allegations and Polanski, 36 at the time, pleaded guilty to statutory rape of the 13 year old girl. The actual charge was “rape by use of drugs, perversion, sodomy, lewd and lascivious act upon a child under 14, and furnishing a controlled substance to a minor.’’ In case it's not clear, what Roman Polanski did was feed her, the 13 year old model, alcohol and a quaalude. What did they use to say? Candy is dandy but alcohol’s quicker? And quaaludes? Oh, they’re much quicker than that.
I recognize Polanski is a genius. And some would say his inability to return to the USA, the filmmaking center of the world is punishment enough. Really? Like a coward, he fled from justice, never paid the real price of his crime but like so many other rapists and perpetrators of sexual assault he’s gotten off lightly. There are plenty of movies I’ve wanted to see but still haven’t got around to. This is one I think I’ll skip.
The girl, Samantha Gailey, (Geimar), is now a married woman of 50-something who wrote her own memoir The Girl about the rape in 2013. Come to think of it, The Girl, might make for a compelling film. Think anybody in Hollywood is interested?