Roman Polanski to Direct ‘D’ Based on Scandal of French Anti-Semitism

Roman Polanski will direct "D," a political thriller based on the Dreyfus Affair

Roman Polanski will direct “D,” a political thriller based on the Dreyfus Affair – one of the biggest political scandals in French history.

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Polanski will direct from a script by Robert Harris, who also worked with the director on 2010's "The Ghost Writer." One of the main draws of the project, Polanski said, was the opportunity to connect a past tragedy with current affairs.

"I have long wanted to make a film about the Dreyfus Affair, treating it not as a costume drama but as a spy story,” Polanski said in a statement. “In this way one can show its absolute relevance to what is happening in today’s world – the age-old spectacle of the witch-hunt of a minority group, security paranoia, secret military tribunals, out-of-control intelligence agencies, governmental cover-ups, and a rabid press.”

Also read: The Polanski Debate

The Dreyfus Affair is a symbol of past anti-Semitism in France. Alfred Dreyfus, a captain in the French Army, was convicted of passing secrets to the Germans in 1894 and sentenced to life in prison.

It later came out that someone else was responsible for the crime, but Dreyfus still suffered through years in prison, a second conviction and was only released thanks to a pardon. His name was later cleared, but by that time the scandal had attracted interational attention.

Robert Benmussa and Alain Sarde will produce Polanski's adaptation of the notorious story, which should begin production in Paris by the end of 2012. Lionsgate/Summit will handle international rights, while ICM will represent North American rights.

Polanski's last project was "Carnage," a black comedy starring Christoph Waltz, Kate Winslet, Jodie Foster and John C. Reilly based on the Broadway play "God of Carnage."