Roman Polanski to direct movie about the Dreyfus affair
Roman Polanski, a director who has had extensive personal experience with a justice system he and supporters believe wronged him, will make a movie about another exceptionally high-profile trial: the Dreyfus affair.
Polanski will direct “D,” a political thriller based on the story of the French soldier who was wrongly accused of spying.
The director has had an interest for many years in directing a cinematic take on the story of Capt. Alfred Dreyfus, who in the late 1890s was one of the few Jewish officers in the French Army. Accused of passing secrets to Germany, Dreyfus was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1894 until he was cleared of all charges 12 years later.
“I have long wanted to make a film about the Dreyfus Affair, treating it not as a costume drama but as a spy story,” Polanski said in a statement. “In this way one can show its absolute relevance to what is happening in today’s world—– the age-old spectacle of the witch-hunt of a minority group, security paranoia, secret military tribunals, out-of-control intelligence agencies, governmental cover-ups and a rabid press.”
A press release noted that the Dreyfus affair was one of the most "sensational political scandals and miscarriages of justice in history."
The movie could stir up Polanski's well-established corps of critics, who have long said that Polanski's own story, in which he fled to France rather than serve a long sentence in the U.S. on statutory rape charges, was a miscarriage in its own right.
Robert Harris, who also penned Polanski’s “The Ghost Writer,” will write the screenplay. The film will also reunite Polanski with producers Robert Benmussa and Alain Sarde, who worked on “Ghost Writer” and “The Pianist.”
“D” is Polanski’s follow-up to last year’s “Carnage,” which premiered at the Venice Film Festival.
— Emily Rome
Photo: Roman Polanski on the set of "The Pianist." Credit: Guy Ferrandis/Focus Features.