Controversial Director Roman Polanski Announces New Movie After Being Expelled from the Academy

Roman Polanski is working on a new film almost three years after he was expelled by the Oscars voting group, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

Roman Polanski
Photo: Stephane Cardinale/Corbis via Getty

Roman Polanski, the controversial director who was expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, is planning a brand new film.

The director, 87, has received financial backing from Italian media giant RAI Cinema, for The Palace, a drama set in Switzerland that he co-wrote with Polish director and writer Jerzy Skolimowski, according to Variety.

The Palace is set on New Year's Eve in 1999 "in a big hotel immersed in the Swiss Alps where the lives of the guests and those who work for them intersect," RAI Cinema chief Paolo Del Brocco said in a statement obtained by the outlet.

According to The Guardian, Del Brocco added, "I know that Polanski carries some controversy, but we are interested in the artistic side. The quality of the stories, not the personal story."

Polanski was arrested in the U.S. for drugging and raping 13-year-old Samantha Greimer in 1977. He pled guilty to statutory rape and went on to serve 42 days in jail due to a plea bargain. He fled to France when ordered to serve the remainder of his 90-day sentence. Attempts by the U.S. to extradite him from Europe have been unsuccessful.

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In May 2018, Polanski was ousted by the AMPAS Board of Governors alongside Bill Cosby. Polanski won the Best Director Oscar in 2003 for The Pianist.

In March 2020, Polanski last film, An Officer and a Spy, won the Best Picture César Award (France's equivalent to the Best Picture Oscar) as well as the prize for Best Director.

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Polanski did not attend the ceremony, but that didn't stop several actresses from walking out of the ceremony after his wins.

"We know how this evening will unfold already," Polanski told the AFP news agency ahead of the awards show. "Activists are already threatening me with a public lynching, with some saying they are going to protest outside."

He added: "What place can there be in such deplorable conditions for a film about the defense of truth, the fight for justice, blind hate and antisemitism?"

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