Skip to main content

Director Roman Polanski arrested in Switzerland


Director Roman Polanski (AP Photo/Roberto Pfeil, File)

Famed director Roman Polanski (Chinatown, Rosemary's Baby, Repulsion) has been arrested in Switzerland on sexual charges and may be extradited to the U.S. In the late 1970s, the director was accused of drugging and having sex with a thirteen year old girl. While Polanski plead guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor, he fled the U.S. before the sentencing and has been living in Europe, mainly France, ever since. His court case has been an ongoing battle for the director, and earlier this year his lawyers attempted to overturn the earlier ruling based on alleged misconduct by the original judge.

Polanski's future is not entirely clear at this point. Swiss authorities arrested the director who was set to receive a lifetime achievement award at the Zurich Film Festival. While Polanski has traveled to Switzerland previously, according to the Hollywood Reporter, a Swiss police spokesman explained that this was the first time they knew exactly when Polanski would be in the country. It has not be determined at this point whether Switzerland will extradite Polanski to the U.S.

Polanski's very public sex scandal and trial as well as his rather strange personal life have been the subject of the documentary Roman Polanski: Wanted and DesiredPolanski made a name on the international cinema circuit in the 1960s with the Polish film Knife in the Water and Repulsion, directed in the UK. The director then came to the U.S. and directed Rosemary's Baby and Chinatown, cementing his reputation as an A-list director. However, bizarre tragedy struck in 1969 when members of the Manson family murdered Polanski's pregnant wife Sharon Tate, an event that deeply affected the director. He continued to direct but was arrested in 1977 on the aforementioned sex charge. Escaping to France, where he was born and holds citizenship, Polanski has continued to work.  Despite having an outstanding warrant in the U.S., he has been one of the most respected contemporary directors in the world. His absence from Hollywood for over 30 years has also not dampened his powerful presence in world cinema, including his Oscar win for Best Director for 2002's The Pianist.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter