Film director Roman Polanski — who fled the United States in 1978 to evade sentencing after pleading guilty to having sex with a 13-year-old girl — is no longer thriving in France, where he previously flourished as a filmmaker.
Polanski’s latest win at the César Awards — along with more recent allegations of sexual misconduct — have sparked outrage among French feminists and resulted in the 21-member board of the organization that oversees the Césars resigning, according to a report by Variety.
Now, the film director can’t find funding for his upcoming film, The Palace, which he is currently shooting in the Swiss Alps, his producer Luca Barbareschi said.
While some investors disappeared after filming began, Barbareschi added that he doesn’t expect France to shut Polanski out and still hopes the French film industry will embrace the movie.
“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,” he said. “This really wounded me.”
“If this film doesn’t get released in France, it’s a crime,” Barbareschi added.
The producer has yet to weigh in on the actual crimes that Polanski stands accused of — drugging a 13-year-old girl with Quaaludes and sodomizing her, violently raping a 15-year-old actress, and more.
Barbareschi also expressed concern about The Palace potentially getting shut out elsewhere — such as in English-speaking countries like the United States, Canada, the U.K., and Australia — all of which declined to feature Polanski’s 2019 film An Officer and a Spy in their theaters.
“If you consider that An Officer and a Spy hasn’t played in any English-speaking country, this scares me,” the Italian producer said.
The film has also been tough to cast, with several actors having declined roles for fear that working with the embattled filmmaker would hurt their careers, though Barbareschi noted that “nobody said it in those terms.”
“Every film has its karma. In the end we have the best cast I could have hoped for,” he said, adding that “some defections haven’t been easy for Roman.”