We've Got Hollywood Covered

Roman Polanski’s ‘An Officer and a Spy’ Still Has No US Release Plans Despite Winning 3 French Oscars

Filmmaker himself won Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay at last week’s César Film Awards

Despite winning three César Film Awards last week, Roman Polanski’s critically acclaimed new film “An Officer and a Spy” is unlikely to reach American audiences anytime soon.

The film has debuted in European countries such as Italy (at last August’s Venice Film Festival), Belgium (Nov. 13) and Spain in January — but there is no North American release date in sight.

Not only has no U.S. distributor stepped up for domestic rights to the film, but five who had previously worked with the director would not comment on even the possibility of picking up the Polanski project. That includes Sony Pictures Classics, which distributed the Polish-born director’s last film, “Based on a True Story,” in 2017. (Reps for Focus Features, Summit, Sundance Selects and Searchlight either declined to comment or did not respond to requests for comment.)

Polanski, long a polarizing figure since he fled the U.S. in 1978 after pleading guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old girl, has become the focus of even more attention with the rise of the #MeToo movement in the last two years. Indeed, when Polanski accepted his trophies for Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Director last Friday, actress Adèle Haenel, writer-director Celine Sciamma and others stormed out of the Cesar Awards ceremony in protest. (The film also won for its costumes.)

Howard Cohen, co-president of Roadside Attractions, told Vanity Fair last May that he attended a buyers presentation at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival and that he would “consider” buying the film, although, “I’m not even sure how I personally feel. People have been releasing his films for years. Now, we are looking at it through a different lens, with good reason. We have to search our souls if it’s the right thing to do. What does it mean to release this movie? I don’t think that’s a settled question even in my mind.”

But Roadside and every other U.S. art-house distributor has steered clear of “An Officer and a Spy” — even as the acclaim and awards have accumulated for the drama, based on the late-19th-century political scandal about French artillery officer Alfred Dreyfus who was wrongly accused of selling secrets to the Germans due the anti-Semitism of the era.

Similarly, Woody Allen’s “A Rainy Day in New York” has fallen into a similar limbo as more attention has focused on adoptive daughter Dylan Farrow’s accusations that he sexually molested her when she was 7, which he has repeatedly denied. Amazon Studios halted a planned 2018 release of the film, which stars Elle Fanning and Timothée Chalamet, and last year sold the rights back to Allen. But there is no U.S. release date in sight.

Following allegations against Kevin Spacey, Netflix severed all ties with the actor, and even scrapped the release of a Gore Vidal biopic that had wrapped.