In July, Roman Polański is to head to Warsaw to start shooting his new film about the Dreyfus affair. “It’s a topic that has been on my mind for a while now, said Polański at a press conference.
Shooting will start in July 2015 and finish by the end of the year. The film will be ready in mid-2016, but the location of its première has yet to be announced.
We want to start in July. We will work in Warsaw, in two studios – the one where I made The Pianist and a new one, established since that time. And we’ll build large open-air sets – said Roman Polański.
He also said that the film is to be a French and Polish co-production. According to Polański, Poles will be involved in its production but they won’t have main roles. The film will be shot in English; similarly to The Pianist, in which Polish actors, especially those who could speak English, were cast but the main characters were played by native English-speaking actors. He added that it was too early to give specific names, and that there was no role for his wife or children.
When asked why he chose the Dreyfus affair, Polański said: ‘I’ve been fascinated by that story for a while now. It was one of the biggest scandals in France, it divided the country, and in fact the entire world, into two camps’.
‘It was the case of an officer wrongly accused of treason. At the time he was one of few Jewish officers in French army and it coincided with a time of rabid anti-Semitism in France. One of the youngest lieutenants quickly realized that Dreyfus was innocent and he reported to his superior, who ordered him to shut up. The affair somehow came to light but the army never wanted to acknowledge their mistake. It’s something thing that I've experienced a lot in my life’, said Polański.
He added that most of the film's events take place over a period of 10 years. “We have plenty of scenes, everything is based on the truth, there are no fictional characters or places. Besides, I recommend An Officer and a Spy by Robert Harris, our scriptwriter. Our script was ready before the book, but we were struggling with the topic and I decided to make Venus in Fur first. Robert said 'while you make your film, I’ll turn it into a novel.' It was published at the beginning of last year and it quickly became a bestseller.”
‘I hope to finish shooting according to our plan, but with a film you never really know; around the end of this year we should have everything in the bag, and then in the middle of next year we will present the film. But we are not thinking about a particular place yet.’
He admitted that “making the film in Poland allows us to stay within our financial plan, as filming in France is extremely expensive, almost as expensive in States.”
We’d written a French budget, because most of events take place in Paris, about 75-80 percent. But during preparations we realized that filming in Paris was highly complicated due to road traffic restrictions and the architecture, which had changed so significantly that we would have had to build almost everything to make Paris look like it did at the end of the 19th century. Building sets on this scale made no sense and there was no place in France where we could do that’ – he continued.
Surce: Polish Press Agency, edited by PZ, 15/01/2015, translated by Agata Wissuwa 16/01/2015