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Roman Polanski Gives Rare Interview About Career, Retirement and 'Venus in Fur' (CLIPS)

Photo of Ryan Lattanzio By Ryan Lattanzio | TOH! April 11, 2014 at 12:42PM

Never one to do much press, Roman Polanski offers Variety a rare interview in which he talks about his new film "Venus in Fur," working with his actress-wife Emmanuelle Seigner and his storied -- and stormy -- cinematic career.
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Roman Polanski
Roman Polanski

Never one to do much press, Roman Polanski offers Variety a rare interview in which he talks about his new film "Venus in Fur," working with his actress-wife Emmanuelle Seigner and his storied -- and stormy -- cinematic career.

Adapted from a 2010 play by David Ives and starring Seigner and Mathieu Amalric, "Venus in Fur" is a two-hander about an actress attempting to convince a director why she's perfect for a role in his upcoming production. "I just thought it was a terrific text. First, the humor of it. But then the sort of anti-macho spirit of it, and the richness of the allusions," Polanski tells Variety scribe Scott Foundas. The film played in the Main Competition section of last year's Cannes Film Festival.

"Venus in Fur"
"Venus in Fur"

Polanski and Seigner met in 1985 during the troubled pre-production days of "Pirates," starring Walter Matthau. Polanski and casting director Dominique Besnehard were scouting in Paris, at a drag cabaret, for a female impersonator when he was introduced to Seigner. "That was the best casting of his entire career," Polanski says of Besnehard's discovery. "It's funny that I met my wife through a casting director, but it had nothing to do with the film, because there was no role for her."

"Venus in Fur," to be distributed in the US this year by Sundance Selects, is the first time Seigner has appeared in a Polanski film since her small part in his 1999 horror flop "The Ninth Gate," and before that she starred in his 1992 "Bitter Moon." Now they divide their time between Paris and the Swiss Alps.

When asked how feels about turning 80 last year, Roman Polanski says that age "is a number, nothing else-- just part of the evolution from the womb to the grave." He isn't thinking about retirement, either. 

"I never really imagined how one can retire," he says. "What do you do? Gardening? No, no, I feel really happy when I'm working. I think the best moments in my life are when I work. It was my passion when I was a young man, and it remains my passion. I feel probably the way a carpenter feels when he's making a beautiful chair and seeing the result of his work. The work itself is satisfying, the process of getting the result."

Read the full interview here. Polanski clips and a "Venus in Fur" trailer are below.

This article is related to: Venus in Fur, Roman Polanski, Roman Polanski, Emmanuelle Seigner, Mathieu Amalric, News, Interviews


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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.