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After nearly 35 years of silence, the 13-year-old girl Roman Polanski raped in 1977 is finally telling her full story in The Girl: A Life in the Shadow of Roman Polanski.
The Hollywood Reporter‘s exclusive first look at the cover of the book reveals Samantha Geimer‘s determination to reclaim her own story.
The cover is a haunting close-up shot of the teenage Geimer (then known by her maiden name, Samantha Gailey), taken on Feb. 20, 1977, less than three weeks before Polanski drugged and raped her at Jack Nicholson‘s Mulholland Drive home during a modeling shoot when he also gave her alcohol and a quaalude.
But the photo comes with a surprising twist: It was taken by Polanski himself.
He took the pictures during his first photo session with Geimer, now 50, at her home in Woodland Hills, a session in which the director coaxed the young girl to pose topless for him in some of the shots.
Using the photo was part of Geimer’s strategy to reclaim her story.
Since the incident, the media has always illustrated the story with a picture of Polanski. Geimer finally wanted to put her own face on the story, and this picture reflected the starting point for her.
The pictures surfaced during Geimer’s civil suit against Polanski, which she filed in 1988 and resulted in Polanski agreeing to pay her $500,000 plus interest (a sum Geimer struggled to collect).
As part of the civil suit, her attorney Lawrence Silver, who also contributes to the book, demanded Polanski turn over all the pictures he took. Even though the director turned over some photos (and all rights associated with them), Silver always believed others existed, and years later they were discovered.
“What happened was this,” writes Silver in the book. “In executing the search warrant, the police didn’t recognize the importance of a receipt/claim check from Sav-On Drugs’ photograph department. Years later, I was told that Polanski gave his lawyer the receipt, and they secured the printed roll of film and negatives from the drug store. During the civil suit, his lawyer had to turn those photos over to me. These photographs, important both legally and historically, would likely have never been discovered if not for the civil suit.”
Publisher Atria promises that The Girl “will give readers insight into many dimensions of the story that have never been previously revealed.” In announcing the book in 2012, Geimer said, “I am more than a ‘Sex Victim Girl’ [and] I offer my story now without rage, but with purpose — to share a tale that will reclaim my identity.”
The book with the arresting cover photo of Geimer goes on sale Sept. 17.