Roman Polanski’s Ghost Gets the Green

roman-polanskiRoman Polanski has enjoyed something of an autumn harvest, with both The Pianist and Oliver Twist showing a director finally comfortable with his late period-style. Now Variety reports that Polanski has the go-ahead for his next movie, The Ghost. The political thriller has received a cash injection from Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, a German film subsidy board.

In Robert Harris’ novel, Britain’s former prime minister Adam Lang is putting together his memoirs. His collaborator drowns in Martha’s Vinyard, and an unnamed writer is hired to take his place. Then Lang is called up before a war crimes tribunal, and the ghostwriter ends up in possession of the hottest manuscript in town.

The film could be a difficult, but fascinating, task for Polanski, as the author’s chore is to sort out just where in the manuscript Adam Lang is lying and where he’s telling the truth. That means more action happens on the page than off it. Polanski has also never strayed from satire, and the book gives him the opportunity to skewer authorial pretensions, the publishing business, and politicians like “Phony” Tony Blair. Publishers Weekly notes “Harris nicely leavens his cynical tale with gallows humor.” It’s a tone Polanski perfected in films like the immortal Chinatown.

The cast demonstrates a belief in second chances. Pierce Brosnan is playing the slippery premier. Ewan McGregor is the ink-stained wretch. Kim Cattrall is hoping we forget the image of herself covered in fruit from Sex and the City … although we can be sure that Polanski hasn’t. The Polish director has given us the absurdity of the Holocaust and the hell of childhood. Let’s hope the Vampire Killer’s stakes are sharp enough to skewer the world’s corrupt leaders.

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