NOWHERE LEFT TO RUN: As France turns on Roman Polanski, a look at the crime that made him a fugitive

Reports say that the celebrated director's next movie 'The Palace' is struggling to get any French financing


                            NOWHERE LEFT TO RUN: As France turns on Roman Polanski, a look at the crime that made him a fugitive
Roman Polanski attends the 'Based On A True Story' photocall during the 70th annual Cannes Film Festival on May 27, 2017 (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)
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It seems that the good times of fugitive director Roman Polanski in his adopted country, France, is going to end soon as a Variety report claims that the 88-year-old’s upcoming movie – ‘The Palace’ – is struggling to get any French financing.

Polanski has been living in France -- where he thrived as a director despite multiple sexual misconduct allegations and ongoing legal issues -- since 1978 after he escaped from the US before getting sentenced after pleading guilty to having unlawful sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old girl.

Polanski’s producer, Italian multi-hyphenate Luca Barbareschi, told the outlet, “I managed to mount the production over the course of a year without France since France didn’t want to invest a Euro on Polanski.” Barbareschi also noted: “If this film doesn’t get released in France, it’s a crime.” 

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The producer’s fear did not end there as he is also reportedly worried about the movie’s release in other countries, mainly English-speaking regions, like the UK, North America and Australia, that did not allow ‘An Officer and a Spy’ – another 2019 film directed by Polanski – in their movie theaters. “If you consider that ‘An Officer and a Spy’ hasn’t played in any English-speaking country, this scares me,” Barbareschi added.

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Roman Polanski attends the 70th Anniversary of the 70th annual Cannes Film Festival at Palais des Festivals on May 23, 2017, in Cannes, France. (Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)

What was the case that forced Polanski to flee the US?

Despite making classics like ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ and ‘Chinatown’, Polanski is more infamous as a fugitive who fled the US after being convicted of raping a minor. The celebrated director had sex with 13-year-old Gailey, later known as Samantha Geimer following her marriage, after he took her to actor Jack Nicholson’s LA house for a photoshoot on March 10, 1977. The victim had claimed that he gave her champagne and half a Quaalude before having sex with her several times.

Soon, Polanski was taken into custody after the crime and charged with six counts of criminal offenses, including rape, furnishing a controlled substance to a minor and sodomy. First, he pleaded not guilty to all the charges but eventually pleaded guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor and was ordered to go through a 90-day diagnostic screening before a verdict was announced.

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Roman Polanski is pictured after being awarded for 'The Ghost Writer' during the 16th 'Cerememonie Des Lumieres' at Hotel de Ville on January 14, 2011, in Paris, France. (Photo by Julien M. Hekimian/Getty Images)

In January 1978, “the diagnostic screening — completed after 42 days — recommends Polanski be placed on probation,” an Associated Press report stated, and also added that in February of 1978 “Polanski flees the United States on eve of sentencing after learning that Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Laurence Rittenband intended to send Polanski back to prison.”

And since then he has safely been in France because “he is a French citizen, and the US courts never completed his sentencing, Polanski cannot be extradited from the country even though Interpol has issued a red notice regarding him,” Far Out Magazine reported. Polanski has never expressed any remorse for his actions. The Oscar-winning film-maker had even boasted about it in a 1979 interview as he said, “If I had killed somebody, it wouldn’t have had so much appeal to the press, you see? But…f**king, you see, and the young girls. Judges want to f**k young girls. Juries want to f**k young girls. Everyone wants to f**k young girls!”

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Roman Polanski writes autographs as he attends the 'D'apres une histoire vraie' premiere at the 13th Zurich Film Festival on October 2, 2017 in Zurich, Switzerland. The Zurich Film Festival 2017 will take place from September 28 until October 8. (Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)

Also, in 2017 when Polanski made an appearance at the Zurich film festival, he remarked: “As far as what I did: it’s over. I pleaded guilty. I went to jail. I came back to the United States to do it, people forget about that, or don’t even know. I then was locked up here [in Zurich] after this festival. So in the sum, I did about four or five times more than what was promised to me.”

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Geimer in her book 'The Girl' has written about the days leading up to the rape and her life afterwards. She also feels Polanski must be allowed to return to the US with all charges dropped.