Roman Polanski has responded to recent allegations of rape against him by French photographer Valentine Monnier, saying, “I obviously have no recollection of what she is talking about because it is false. … I absolutely deny it.”
Monnier last month accused the Oscar-winning director of raping her at his Swiss chalet in 1975. Since then, Polanski’s latest film, An Officer and a Spy, has been released in France, generating a strong $10M in box office — but also protests and calls for a boycott.
In an interview with Paris Match published today — Polanski, who has been living in France since fleeing the U.S. in 1978 before sentencing after pleading guilty to having sex with 13-year-old Samantha Geimer — also was asked about Harvey Weinstein and the origins of the #MeToo movement.
Polanski said he had no ties to Weinstein, whom he had met a handful of times, and was “very surprised by the avalanche of accusations” against the producer that surfaced two years ago. However, he suggested that it is Weinstein who was responsible for renewed interest in the original case involving Polanski. He told Paris Match, “I know that in 2003, Weinstein panicked when The Pianist won two BAFTAs, including Best Film. Weinstein, who had two films nominated at the Oscars, launched a campaign to stop the same thing happening in Hollywood. It was he who dug up the [then] 26-year-old story with Samantha and which was no longer of interest to anyone. His press attaché was the first person to call me a ‘child rapist.’ The paradox is that The Pianist didn’t win the Best Picture Oscar, a prize that goes to the producer, but I won Best Director.”
Paris Match asked: Does Polanski consider himself a victim? “For years people have been trying to make me a monster. I have gotten used to the calumny, my skin has thickened and hardened like a shell. But for my children, for Emmanuelle [Seigner, Polanski’s wife], it is appalling. It’s for them that I express myself. For me, I don’t even hope any longer to change the course of things. They suffer enormously; they receive insults and threats on social media. … Of course I am responsible. In 1977, I made a mistake, and it is my family that pays the price almost a half a century later. The media has thrown itself on me with unheard violence. They seize on each new false accusation, even the absurd and unsubstantiated because it allows them to revive this subject. It’s like a curse, and I can’t do anything about it.”
In the interview, Polanski also revisits the original case, saying, “Only Samantha and I know what happened that day. … Whatever I did, in whatever manner it was, it is profoundly regrettable. I have said it numerous times; I have written it to Samantha, with whom I stay in contact, and she knows. She and her family have suffered because of me, and despite me it continues. Every time there is a new lie about me, it brings her up. … She has written several times to the prosecutor to explain that the trauma caused by the media circus is well worse than what I made her suffer.”
Asked if he thinks his own films have inspired certain reactions, Polanski recounts that about 20 years ago, a woman contacted him saying that she was his daughter with wife Sharon Tate, and had been saved by the Manson Family assassins who killed the pregnant Tate on August 9, 1969. Explains Polanski, “It’s delirium — she was born two years after Sharon died.”