Chapa preps Polanski bio

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Roman Polanski, who has filmed many tragic stories over the years, will soon see his own tragedy-filled life brought to the big screen in an unauthorized biopic.

Amadeus Pictures head Damian Chapa will write, produce and direct "Polanski," which will include passages about the director's childhood in Poland during the Holocaust; the murder of his wife, Sharon Tate, by followers of Charles Manson in 1969; and his conviction for sex with a minor that has kept him out of the U.S. for decades.

"It's a very intense story we're going to carefully base on court documents and public-domain records," Chapa said. "I've looked at the court documents of his (statutory rape) case, and they're so brash and in-your-face. What happened there has overshadowed his whole life yet also been swept under the carpet. I've always been fascinated by his story and couldn't understand why no one has done a movie about him."

ICM, which reps Polanski, did not offer any comment by press time.

The project will begin principal photography in January in Belgium, Poland and the U.S., with Chapa playing Polanski's early collaborator, Polish producer Eugene Gutowski. Chapa said the title role will be cast in the next few weeks.

Actor-turned-filmmaker Chapa has directed and starred in several low-budget Amadeus films, including "I.R.A. — King of Nothing," with Rachel Hunter, and "Shade of Pale," with Gary Busey. His latest, "Fuego," with David Carradine, was shopped at the recent AFM.
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