PARIS, FRANCE / LOS ANGELES, CA – May 9 , 2012 — Roman Polanski announced today that his next feature film project will be the political thriller “D,” based on the Dreyfus affair, one of the most sensational political scandals and miscarriages of justice in history.
“D” reunites the team behind Polanski’s 2010 award-winning movie The Ghost Writer. Polanski will direct from a screenplay written by Robert Harris, with long-time Polanski collaborators Robert Benmussa and Alain Sarde serving as producers. The independently financed film will begin casting shortly and currently plans to be in production in Paris by the end of this year. Lionsgate/Summit International will represent the film’s international sales. ICM will represent North American rights.
“I have long wanted to make a film about the Dreyfus Affair, treating it not as a costume drama but as a spy story,” said Polanski. “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.”
In December 1894, Captain Alfred Dreyfus, one of the few Jewish officers on the General Staff of the French Army, was subjected to a secret court martial for passing secrets to the Germans. Found guilty, he was sentenced to life imprisonment and sent to Devil’s Island.
However, the man charged with making sure Dreyfus never returned – Colonel Georges Picquart, the newly-appointed head of French counter-intelligence – gradually began to realize a huge mistake had been made and the real traitor was still at large. His attempts to prove it led him into a direct clash with his superiors. Picquart himself was then framed for crimes he had not committed and sent to prison.
It was to be twelve years before Dreyfus was eventually cleared of all charges. By then, the case had become one of the most talked-about events in the world.