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Polanski Arrested by Swiss Police at Behest of LA Prosecutors

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood September 27, 2009 at 3:19AM

A.P. reported Sunday morning from Zurich, Switzerland that Swiss police detained 76-year-old Paris-based filmmaker Roman Polanski. He was traveling to the country to accept a lifetime honorary award from the Zurich Film Festival, which meant the authorities knew he was coming.
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Thompson on Hollywood

A.P. reported Sunday morning from Zurich, Switzerland that Swiss police detained 76-year-old Paris-based filmmaker Roman Polanski. He was traveling to the country to accept a lifetime honorary award from the Zurich Film Festival, which meant the authorities knew he was coming.

I checked for the story online and came upon a fascinating posting which appears to be an internal A.P. memo about how they're going about covering what is a huge international breaking story. Why did Polanski go into Switzerland in such a public way? Had he become complacent about this outstanding 1977 arrest warrant, after fleeing the country 31 years ago? Did the Swiss government change its mind about how it would treat him? Will be be brought back to the U.S. to finally face trial sentencing on his guilty plea after all these years?

UPDATE: The LAT reports that LA prosecutors planned the whole thing with the Swiss government after learning about the award. Looks like this is one prize Polanski should not have tried to accept. Screen reports that Cannes' Thierry Fremaux has enlisted Harvey Weinstein to organize a group to protest Polanski's extradition.

Polanski, who did not accept in person the best director Oscar for 2002's The Pianist, was in the news again last year when Marina Zenovich's documentary Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired played Sundance, Cannes and HBO, stirring up questions about how the judge in the original case handled the director, who has been seeking to have the case overturned. But that did not happen. You can run, but you can't hide.

[Photo: AP/Getty]

This article is related to: Directors, News


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.