Polanski arrest puts 'The Ghost' on hold
Postproduction work yet to be done on political thrillerRoman Polanski's arrest in Switzerland has left his latest film in limbo, with several months of work before the political thriller is ready for theaters.
Polanski's agent, ICM chief Jeff Berg, said Polanski had completed much of the editing on "The Ghost." But other postproduction work, including music scoring and sound mixing, had yet to be done, Berg said.
Based on the novel by Robert Harris, "The Ghost" stars Pierce Brosnan as fictional former British leader Adam Lang and Ewan McGregor as a ghostwriter hired to help complete his memoirs. The cast includes Kim Cattrall, Tom Wilkinson, Olivia Williams and James Belushi.
The novel caused a stir in Britain for Lang's resemblance to former Prime Minister Tony Blair. Like Blair, Lang is a once-popular leader brought down by his allegiance with the U.S. in the war on terror.
While the film does not yet have a U.S. deal, it has distribution in many overseas territories, among them Germany, where it was shot early this year, and France, where Polanski lives. He fled America in 1978 after pleading guilty to having unlawful sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old girl in Los Angeles.
Polanski was arrested over the weekend in Zurich, where he had traveled to receive a lifetime achievement award from a film festival. His lawyer said Polanski will fight U.S. attempts to have him returned to the U.S.
"The Ghost" is the first Polanski movie with a U.S. setting since 1974's "Chinatown." Locations in Germany had to stand in for the story's New England settings.
"There's a lot of psychological intrigue in the story, as well as espionage and politics, and most of the action takes place in an oceanfront house during the middle of winter -- all of it classic Polanski territory," Harris said when the film was announced in 2007.
Berg said Polanski usually finishes his films before lining up U.S. distribution, so the completed movie can be shopped around.
"There is always interest in movies that Roman distributes," Berg said. "It should be accepted on its own merits, but we feel highly confident we'll find proper distribution."
Polanski's films include the horror hit "Rosemary's Baby," the costume drama "Tess" and the Holocaust saga "The Pianist," which earned him the 2002 Academy Award for best director.
A Holocaust survivor himself, Polanski has endured other dire trauma, including the murder of his pregnant wife, actress Sharon Tate, by followers of cult figure Charles Manson in 1969.
With Polanski jailed, it's unknown when work might resume on "The Ghost." Berg said he is confident Polanski will put his legal troubles behind him and finish the film.
"I'm always optimistic when it comes to Roman," Berg said. "He's strong, and he has survived every situation imaginable."