Roman Polanski on the set of 2002's "The Pianist." (Focus Features )
Roman Polanski is headed back to the Broadway well.
The controversial Polish-born director, who last adapted the stage hit “God of Carnage” for the screen, will tackle “Venus in Fur,” David Ives’ Tony Award-winning comedy-drama that opened on Broadway last year.
Polanski, who lives in Paris, will shoot the movie in French, with his wife Emmanuelle Seigner (“The Diving Bell and the Butterfly,” “Frantic”) taking on the role that Nina Arianda made popular.
Polanski and Ives are writing the screenplay--the latter also worked several years ago on the stage adaptation of Polanski's "The Fearless Vampire Killers"--and Lionsgate is producing the film, with the company's Summit International division peddling foreign rights that will help finance the picture.
A spokesman for Lionsgate said Polanski aims to make “Venus” his next film, with shooting scheduled to begin in November
Premiering off-Broadway in 2010, “Venus” opened on Broadway in 2011 and netted Arianda, who also inaugurated the role off-Broadway, the Tony for best actress in a play. (Tony viewers will recall her exuberant acceptance speech.)
"Venus" chronicles the shifting dynamic between the male director of a play and an actress he is looking to cast, with the latter turning the tables on the imperious director as the show unfolds. Louis Garrel will play the male lead in the film, incarnating the role Hugh Dancy played on Broadway and Wes Bentley introduced in the off-Broadway production.
The “Venus” movie will bring a certain meta quality: a well-known director will direct his actress-wife in a movie about a director in a complicated relationship with an actress.
Polanski will take on the project before he tackles “D.,” his story of the Alfred Dreyfus case.
The filmmaker said in a statement that he’s “been looking for a chance to make a film in French with Emmanuelle for a long time,” and that he “got so fired up to put this brilliant black comedy on film that I decided to fit it in before 'D.'”
With the move, Polanski seeks to rectify what some saw as a misstep in 2011’s parent drama “Carnage,” which received mixed reviews and drew only modest box office. Unlike that film — in which Polanski shot the play’s American setting in Europe — Polanski here will transfer the show’s English-language characters to a French world he inhabits. Polanski, of course, has not stepped foot in the U.S. in 35 years after fleeing the country as he faced charges of statutory rape.
Like “Carnage,” “Venus’” intimate setting makes for a relatively simple shoot, with the focus on a small number of actors and a minimum of locations.
Polanski has showed a penchant for literary and stage material in recent years, previously directing the adaptation of the novel “The Ghost Writer.”
Polanski to direct movie about the Dreyfus Affair
'Carnage' review: Civilized adults descend into chaos
NY Film Festival: Polanski gets his U.S. welcome wagon
Cannes 2012: Is Roman Polanski seeking some image rehab?
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