Anticipation builds for Roman Polanski’s San Francisco interview 

click to enlarge Director Roman Polanski will be interviewed live from Paris via Skype at the Roxie Theater on April 6. - GETTY IMAGES FILE PHOTO
  • Getty Images File Photo
  • Director Roman Polanski will be interviewed live from Paris via Skype at the Roxie Theater on April 6.

Complete details of legendary filmmaker Roman Polanski’s Roxie Theater event April 6 in San Francisco remain a bit fuzzy, but we do know he’s scheduled to do a live Skype interview.

What exactly will be discussed is unknown.

Fans of the director of “Rosemary’s Baby,” “Chinatown” and “The Pianist” might be just as interested in hearing about Polanski’s controversial personal life as they are his filmmaking ?sensibilities.

In 1969, Polanski’s pregnant wife, Sharon Tate, was murdered by followers of Charles Manson. In 1977, Polanski was arrested for the alleged statutory rape of a ?13-year-old girl, Samantha Geimer, and fled to London to avoid prosecution. In 2009, Swiss authorities arrested Polanski at the request of the United States, but he was eventually released.

The Roxie is slated to beam in Polanski from Paris, where he’s editing “Venus in Fur,” and have screenwriter Robert Towne onstage. While details are not finalized, “Chinatown,” written by Towne, will be screened ?midafternoon.

The interview, scheduled to accommodate the nine-hour time difference between Paris and San Francisco, will follow. Afterward, Polanski’s “Frantic,” introduced by the film’s producer Thom Mount, will screen.

Also April 6, Towne is expected to host a second screening of his Oscar-winning “Chinatown” and a question-and-answer session.

Elliot Lavine, the Roxie’s director of repertory programming, said the plan to interview Polanski has been in the works since last fall, after Mount, Polanski’s close friend and producer of his films “Frantic” and “Death and the Maiden,” phoned Lavine with the idea.

It took months to work out logistics. Polanski, who will speak from his editing suite, theoretically will be able to see Towne and the Roxie audience through his Skype window.

“From a technical standpoint, we’re in really good shape,” Lavine said. “We’ve had some extraordinary tech people in the theater making sure that everything is shipshape.”

Lavine added, “As for the human factor, it’s anybody’s guess. Lots of crossed fingers.”

It’s not certain whether Towne or Polanski will broach the subject of Polanski’s troubled personal life or legal affairs. But Lavine said he was told by Mount that “Roman is extremely excited about this.”

In recent years, Geimer has publicly forgiven Polanski, and he has publicly apologized to her.

The weekend also includes April 5 screenings of ?35-millimeter prints of Polanski’s “Repulsion” and “The Tenant,” which stars Polanski. And it’s possible “Rosemary’s Baby” and “Death and the Maiden” will be shown April 7.

About The Author

Jeffrey M. Anderson

Jeffrey M. Anderson

Jeffrey M. Anderson has written about movies for the San Francisco Examiner since 2000, in addition to many other publications and websites. He holds a master's degree in cinema, and has appeared as an expert on film festival panels, television, and radio. He is a founding member of the San Francisco Film Critics... more
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