The circuitous legal battle of Roman Polanski wages on. Here’s what went down.
Wanted by the US since he left the country after pleading guilty to having sex with a 13-year-old in 1977, Roman Polanski was released by Polish officials who were questioning him after a US attempt at extradition. American officials asked that Poland seize the “Chinatown” and “Rosemary’s Baby” director while he was attending a Jewish museum opening in Warsaw. But after questioning Polanski, Poland let him off the hook.
This is not Polanski’s first arrest in Europe. In 2009 he was detained by Swiss police at Zurich Airport, also at the behest of US officials. At that point, erstwhile Polish prime minister Donald Tusk reminded the nation that this is a case of statutory rape. In 2010, “Poland’s prosecutor general ruled that Polanski could not be extradited as too much time had passed since the offences [sic],” Variety reports. Now the European nation says that the statute of limitations doesn’t apply to US requests.
The US has been chasing the dual French-and-Polish citizen for nearly four decades. Polanski currently lives in Paris with his wife Emmanuelle Seigner, who recently starred for him in “Venus in Fur” (now on Netflix). The film was nearly forgotten at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, after which we interviewed Seigner about her collaboration with her husband (that story is here). Never one to do much press, Roman Polanski offered Variety a rare interview to discuss his storied—and stormy—cinematic career.
Polanski has been cooperative, according to that report. But if he’s ever going to make a film in Poland he’ll want assurance that he’s immune to extradition. For an incisive look at the case and its resonance over the years, check out Marina Zenovich’s fascinating doc “Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired.”