We've Got Hollywood Covered

Roman Polanski’s ‘An Officer and a Spy’ Screens for Buyers at Cannes

Jean Dujardin and Polanski’s wife, Emmanuelle Seigner, star

Roman Polanski’s latest feature film, “An Officer and a Spy,” screened at least in part for buyers at the Cannes Film Festival last Saturday morning, a representative for the film’s international sales agent Playtime told TheWrap.

The French-language film, which stars Jean Dujardin and Polanski’s wife Emmanuelle Seigner, is currently in postproduction and wrapped cshooting at the end of April, which Dujardin announced himself via Instagram.

In a fictionalized story based on the true events of the Dreyfus Affair, Dujardin stars as French captain Alfred Dreyfus who in 1894 was wrongly convicted of treason and sentenced to life imprisonment on Devil’s Island.

Playtime is handling international sales on the film, and the French distributor Gaumont already has the French rights, with plans to release the film early in November this year. A representative for Gaumont did not immediately reply for additional comment.

“An Officer and a Spy,” which was previously titled “J’Accuse,” is based on a 2013 historical fiction thriller from author Robert Harris. Harris co-wrote the screenplay with Polanski. Alain Goldman is a producer.

It’s unclear if any American distributors attended the screening of footage from the film; no distribution deals beyond France have been announced.

There would likely be challenges to releasing a new Polanski film in the U.S. given the current climate and how attitudes toward Polanski have shifted in recent years.

Polanski, the French-Polish filmmaker behind “Rosemary’s Baby” and many others, fled the U.S. in 1977 after pleading guilty to the statutory rape of 13-year-old Samantha Geimer in 1977. He was imprisoned for 42 days, after which he was released and put on probation as part of a plea bargain. When Polanski learned the judge planned to revoke the plea deal, the director fled to Paris before the sentencing.

Polanski has managed to continue making films, all of which have still been picked up for distribution internationally. But in the U.S. in the light of the #MeToo movement, Polanski was recently expelled from the Academy along with Bill Cosby. Polanski responded with a lawsuit asking to be reinstated.