While his personal/legal affairs unfortuantely continue to overshadow the late stage career of Roman Polanski, he continues to solider on, taking on challenging, intriguing fare. Last fall he delivered the drama/satire “Carnage,” the big-screen version of the acclaimed play “God Of Carnage,” and before that he helmed the underrated political potboiler “The Ghost Writer.” And for his next effort, he’s turning to a true-life tale.
The director has announced that his next film will be the single letter titled “D” based on the Dreyfus Affair. What is the Drefus Affair? That’s why we have Wikipedia, but here’s the rundown of what happened from the press release:
In December 1894, Captain Alfred Dreyfus, one of the few Jewish officers on the General Staff of the French Army, was subjected to a secret court martial for passing secrets to the Germans. Found guilty, he was sentenced to life imprisonment and sent to Devil’s Island.
However, the man charged with making sure Dreyfus never returned – Colonel Georges Picquart, the newly-appointed head of French counter-intelligence – gradually began to realize a huge mistake had been made and the real traitor was still at large. His attempts to prove it led him into a direct clash with his superiors. Picquart himself was then framed for crimes he had not committed and sent to prison.
So yeah, this addresses a number of still touchy issues including anti-Semitism, French identity and more, and this looks primed to be a lightning rod for controversy. But it also sounds like a great story (this writer never knew about this incident) and it has already been the backbone of a handful of books, radio shows, plays and yes, movies including “L’Affaire Dreyfus” by George Melies, “I Accuse!” by Jose Ferrer, and Ken Russell‘s TV drama “Prisoner of Honor” (trailer below). Robert Harris (“The Ghost Writer”) penned the script and the plan is to have the independent movie cast up and shooting by the end of the year.
Of course, one can’t help but wonder that given Polanski’s own legal woes if this isn’t allowing him to work through some issues, but either way, a new film by the auteur is always good news. Hopefully there will be more to come soon. [Deadline]