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Known for his films, charges against him of statutory rape, and for his wife's murder by Charles Manson, Roman Polanski is a complex and controversial figure.
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While authorities were not actively seeking him out, he continued to face the possibility of prison if he returned to America.
Polanski traveled to Europe and eventually settled in Paris, where he directed the critically acclaimed film Tess (1979)—an adaptation of Thomas Hardy's novel Tess of the d'Urbervilles. Throughout the 1980s, he concentrated on stage acting, appearing in productions of Amadeus (1981) and Metamorphosis (1988).
Polanski returned to film work with the intense thriller Frantic (1988), starring Harrison Ford and Betty Buckley, followed by the erotic drama Bitter Moon (1992), with Hugh Grant and Polanski's current wife Emmanuelle Seigner. Both projects failed to impress critics, but Polanski reestablished himself in 1994 with Death and the Maiden, a film adaptation of Ariel Dorfman's play. In 1999, Polanski directed the supernatural thriller The Ninth Gate, which starred Johnny Depp. The film's critical and commercial reception was tepid.
Polanski staged a comeback in 2002 with the critically acclaimed Holocaust drama The Pianist, which won the Palm d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival. Polanski won a surprise Best Director Oscar for the film, but was not allowed to attend the award ceremony due to his criminal indictment. The film's star, 29-year-old Adrien Brody, also earned an Oscar for his performance.
Following The Pianist, Polanski said he was anxious to make a film his children could enjoy. His next project was a film adaptation of the classic Dickens novel Oliver Twist, starring Ben Kingsley. Despite a strong cast, the film performed poorly at the box office and received tepid reviews from critics. His most recent project, The Ghost, starring Pierce Brosnan and Ewan McGregor, was slated to his theaters in 2010. But on his way to an awards ceremony in Zurich, Switzerland, he was arrested by Swiss police and is currently in a legal battle with U.S. law enforcement for his extradition to America. Meanwhile, the production of his film is on indefinite hold.
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